Debora Ann Banner
September 16, 1951 – November 29, 2021
Debora “Debbie” Banner passed away on November 29, 2021 at age 70, in Washington, DC, with her children, Adam and Elizabeth, by her side.
She was born on September 16, 1951 to the late Margaret (McGuirk) and Alfred Russell in Superior, Wisconsin, and was raised in New York City where she took two trains and a bus each day from Queens to attend the prestigious Hunter College High School, graduating in 1969. She continued her education at Washington University, St. Louis (B.A., ‘71), New York University (M.A., ‘81), and The State University of New York at New Paltz (Certificate of Advanced Study, ‘91).
Debbie’s life passion was education. For over 45 years she oversaw, taught, or volunteered in schools in Missouri, New York, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and Texas. She volunteered with struggling kids when she was in high school and college, began her professional career as an elementary and reading teacher, taught math and study skills to underprepared students at Dutchess Community College, and later became a school administrator. Debbie spent the bulk of her career in the New Paltz Central School District, first as the Assistant Principal of Duzine Elementary, then as the Director of Educational Services and Personnel, and as Assistant Superintendent for her final 12 years before retiring in 2013.
After she retired, Debbie moved to Texas to be closer to her daughter. She continued to make an impact: volunteering at two schools in Houston, supporting the professional development of teachers she worked with, joining Community Voices for Public Education, and campaigning for a Houston school board candidate who shared her views on the value of public education.
Debbie moved to join both of her children in Washington, DC in 2019. She treasured afternoons spent with her two grandchildren, reading Cam Jansen mysteries and Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree and building with Legos. She is remembered and loved by her two children, Adam and Liz, their spouses Kaitlin and Josh, her grandchildren Aiden and Ryan, her sister-in-law, Rita Banner, her mother-in-law, Selina Banner, and her cousin Kathy Moore, and numerous friends and colleagues whose lives she touched.
To respect her dislike for funerals, plans are being made for a celebration of Debbie’s life to be held in the Poughkeepsie, NY-area in Spring 2022. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you remember Debbie’s deep commitment to ensuring every child could, and loved, to read by donating to First Book, which provides children’s books to those in need. Please feel free to leave a memory or comment. https://support.firstbook.org/deborabanner.