Monday, September 9, 2013
Professor Maryann Manning
Maryann Manning died yesterday morning. Those who knew her well were not surprised that she died in Bali. She was always seeking new horizons, new places , new ideas. And she would then incorporate her new insights into her own teaching.
It seems like I’ve known Maryann all of my professional life. Shortly after Yetta and I moved to the University of Arizona in 1976 we began to offer Winter Workshops in Psycholinguistics and Miscue Analysis. These went on over a twenty year period. I don’t think Maryann missed one. And she didn’t come alone. She would bring colleagues and graduate students (often at her own expense). She was an educator who never stopped considering herself a learner.
Her own summer conferences at the University of Alabama , Birmingham developed a large following across the Southeast and brought enlightened views of literacy education to bible belt educators. She brought us and many other prominent educators to her conferences and she also brought outstanding teachers, among them my daughter Wendy Goodman.
Her writing was largely aimed at bringing ideas to teachers particularly her regular contributions in teacher magazines. In her very personal and at times self –deprecating way she reached a wide range of teachers who adored her. She was a staunch advocate for her graduate students.
Retirement for Maryann was just a new opportunity for more travel, more conferences. She was taking on even more commitments as IRA board member , visiting many IRA affiliates around the world. She took her election as Vice President elect for IRA very seriously and was planning for the year she would be President. She had so looked forward to that and spoke often to me about her goals as President.
Maryann contributed so much to teachers, to reading education and to her colleagues and professional friends. She cared so much for public education and for the young people it served. She had strong beliefs about the value of teachers, about sensible research, about valuing all learners. We owe it to Maryann to renew our own commitment to carry on where she has left off. The best tribute we can give her is to try to fill the void she has left with our own hard work. Yetta and I will be dedicating the forthcoming collection of our work in the Routledge World Educationalist series to Maryann.