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Diann Banks-Williamson Center

By Donald Barnes
Special To The Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — Detroit Public Schools held its ribbon cutting ceremony Aug. 20 for the $6.7 million Diann Banks-Williamson Center. The school will concentrate on special care for students with learning disabilities in grades nine to12.

“I think it’s outstanding, I’m glad that we were able to get that center in place,” DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin said. “We’re very pleased and proud to have that new facility.”

The new center will be located on the campus of East English Village Preparatory High School.

It will replace Kettering’s West Wing, which was closed after the 2011-2012 school year.

The center is named for Diann Banks-Williamson Williamson (1947-2011), who retired in 2009 as executive director of special education for DPS.

A Cass Tech graduate, Williamson received degrees from Wayne State University and University of Detroit Mercy.

“Her drive (came) from our brother Edward; he was born with a learning disability,” Williamson’s sister Loreen Banks-Kendricks said.

“She knew she wanted to be a teacher … she realized she liked education but that wasn’t her focus. DPS didn’t have any designed program at that time. She needed to help those children more so than the others.”

The center has 13 classrooms and students have access to the high school’s gym, pool and cafeteria.

The building was constructed to be earth-friendly and features a nature area where students will have classes periodically.

The building will officially open on the first day of classes for DPS students, Sept. 3.


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