Diane Andersen, Teacher from UFT
* Retired teacher
* PS 255, Brooklyn
Diane Andersen retired in January 2020 after almost 30 years as an early childhood educator at PS 255 in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
During her career, she was both a classroom teacher and a cluster teacher. She finished her career teaching social studies to children in kindergarten through 2nd grade, and colleague Siham Tadros described happy students “clapping when she entered the room.”
Diane, 55, died in her sleep on July 9.
“She was known for her great energy and eagerness to explore and experiment,” Tadros said.
Diane especially enjoyed working with a program funded by Lego, according to her sister-in-law, Judith Rosenstein. She used Lego blocks for across-the-curriculum lessons that encouraged hands-on learning and helped her young students learn through play, think about dimensions and connections, and estimate how many blocks were needed for their projects and which ones would fit. Their work with Lego blocks incorporated the disciplines of STEM (science, technology engineering and math) and kept Diane’s students engaged.
Diane retired to spend more time with her family and to care for her husband, who had suffered a stroke, and her mother, who is on dialysis.
“Colleagues and students were very upset when they heard she was leaving,” Tadros said.
A UFT member for nearly 30 years, Diane was a “behind-the-scenes union activist,” said Tadros, and “always participated in union activities and advised colleagues to consult the union when issues arose.”
Rosenstein called her “a strong advocate for fair treatment.”
Family came first to Diane, who enjoyed traveling and decorating and was known for her impeccable taste.
In addition to her sister-in-law, Diane is survived by her husband, Edward Andersen; her stepson, Kevin Andersen; her mother, Doris Sheehy; and her brother, Andrew Sheehy.