Dr. Diana King began her career as a teacher in Southern Rhodesia where she fell in love with teaching. She was and is a lover of language. Diana spoke Italian, German and French and taught Latin, as well. She discovered that combining her passion for teaching with her passion for language still did not allow her to successfully teach some obviously bright and motivated students. Fortunately, for those of us touched by her dedication to teaching each child, Diana found herself teaching at the Sidwell Friends School where she learned about the Orton-Gillingham approach. Although her mentor at the time, Helene Durbrow, guided Diana’s mastery of the multisensory, sequential program, Diana also received guided instruction from Anna Gillingham, herself. It was Helene Durbrow who brought Diana to her first Orton Society meeting. Diana holds the record for IDA membership, having first joined in 1951!
Diana’s intellect, passion, knowledge and energy supported her when she took on the incredibly challenging task of founding in 1955 and running an eight week summer tutorial program in western Pennsylvania that she named Camp Dunnabeck. Today, Camp Dunnabeck is a six week tutorial program that is part of the school Diana also started called Kildonan School, founded in 1969, and now on a 460 acre campus in the foothills of the Berkshires in Amenia, New York. Together they provide year round programming to support students with dyslexia. Diana’s vision has created this camp and school that so carefully and caringly provide marvelous, cutting edge education for students with dyslexia. Diana did not stop with the legacy of her camp and school. Along with the development of Kildonan’s teacher training program that has become a model teacher training program, Diana has also created and published teaching materials that have been used by thousands of educators, particularly in the area of teaching written language skills. Finally, Diana has become committed to sharing her gifted and caring teaching with inmates in a maximum security prison where an estimated 60 percent of the inmates are illiterate. She has shared her devotion to teaching and literacy with those individuals seeking the gift of reading after years of failure and frustration.
In 1990, Diana, previous IDA Board member, was the recipient of IDA’s highest award, the Samuel T. Orton Award, for her exceptional contributions to the understanding and treatment of dyslexia. Diana has also been Executive Director of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators and serves as a member of that board.
Mark D. Westervelt, Assistant Head of School, Jemicy School, Owings Mills, MD, Fellow- AOGPE, the grandson of Diana’s dear friend and mentor, Helene Durbrow, interviews Diana, his previous teacher, in this rich and inspiring video that covers decades of Diana’s fascinating, professional history.