Desiring to make a difference in young students’ lives, Diane Elaine Pirlot is an accomplished special education teacher who served OUSD Ivey Ranch in Oceanside, California, for several years. Inspired to enter education by her grandchild with dyslexia, she witnessed the way teachers treated students with disabilities and wanted to contribute in her own way. When asked of her career highlights, she notes that teaching a little girl with cerebral palsy and quadriplegia how to read was a crowning achievement. She later went on to attend high school and graduated with an A average. Ms. Pirlot believes that the little girl would not have succeeded in school without her guidance.
Ms. Pirlot finds the most rewarding aspect of her profession is fostering genuine love and trust in students, particularly the students with disabilities. She has thoroughly enjoyed teaching them how to communicate so they could participate further in the world. Likewise, she has always been passionate about teaching inclusivity to others. The recipient of a teaching certification in the State of California, Ms. Pirlot is a past president of the Grand Marais Chamber of Commerce in Michigan and formerly worked as a resort owner of Welker’s Lodge, Inc., in Grand Marais for three decades. From 1977 to 1979, she served as a president of the National Federation of Women’s Clubs in Grand Marais and, from 1994 to 2000, she was a leader of 4H in Vista, California. Notably, she was a representative for the United States at the Bicentennial Committee in Washington, DC, in 1976.
Maintaining affiliation with the special education caucus and women’s caucus of the National Education Association, Ms. Pirlot is now involved in a craft shop called the Very Best Farm, located on Vashon Island in Washington state. The farm sells crafts made by local artisans including jewelry, ceramics and woodworking. Ms. Pirlot participates by crafting her own jewelry from polymer clay and beads. Married to her husband Wayne Charles Pirlot since 1962, Ms. Pirlot has two children and five grandchildren.
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