GOODLAND, Kan. (KSNW) – Diana Spinney has made a difference in northwest Kansas and Colorado through teaching.
“She’s always been a very good role model, not only to me and my sister, but I think to all women,” said daughter Kristen Hillman.
For Kristen, the choice to nominate her mother was easy.
“She comes from a generation where women didn’t have the freedom or the choices that women have today, so if she can accomplish what she’s accomplished in her lifetime, then the sky’s the limit for everybody else,” said Kristen Hillman.
“My husband calls me a social butterfly,” said Spinney.
Active in her church, Diana serves on several boards and has been an active member of the Philanthropic Education Organization, which celebrates the advancement of women through education.
She was also instrumental in helping Goodland become a hub for trucking lines.
She has given more than 25 years of her life to teaching at Oakley High School and the Able Center for students with disabilities.
Diana finished her teaching career at the prison in Burlington, Colorado helping graduate more than 900 inmates. Many that were the first in their family to earn a high school diploma.
“Some of these parents, probably, almost given up on their sons, and they said thank you too,” said Diana.
Just recently, Diana wrote a book called “Fourteen Years Behind the Wall: They Said Thank You” continuing her legacy of teaching others.
“I felt I had to write a book because so many people have a misconception about prisons and particularly the inmates in them,” she said.
Her daughter said the reason she’s so remarkable is that she never stops giving back.
“All of her actions, even when she’s being humble, it’s just something you always want to aspire to. I do anyways, and I think others do too,” said Kristen Hillman
Diana has just turned 80 years old and said she plans to now do puzzles, read a book a week, and enjoy her 60th wedding anniversary with her husband in Hawaii.
She said her biggest accomplishment to this day is beating cancer and living an amazing life.