When Diane Porter retired in 2009 after a 39-year career with Jefferson County Public Schools, she planned to follow the advice of those who retired before her and take at least three months to “do nothing.”
She didn’t last long.
Before the end of the first month, at the urging of people from the community, Diane agreed to run for a seat on the JCPS school board. She initially planned to serve just one term on the board, but is now on her third. “Education and equity and opportunity for students and families has always been very important to me, and I’m very proud of the district I represent,” she says. Diane is also a board member of Fund for the Arts, Leadership Louisville, and the Louisville Urban League, and is involved in several other community organizations. While she might be even busier now than before she retired, Diane is doing exactly what she loves. “The organizations I serve connect to people and impact lives. The days may be long, and not every day is an A+ day, but it’s very rewarding to feel like I’m making a difference.”
Her Typical Day
Diane usually gets up between 7-8am to tend to her 14-year-old Yorkie named Duchess, who has diabetes and needs to be fed on a regular schedule. Diane’s breakfast might be warm cereal in the cooler months, but she also loves fresh fruit. The breakfast menu may vary, but coffee is a must. “A morning without coffee is not a morning,” she says.
No two days are alike:
The day unfolds depending on what events are on her calendar. She might be in back-to-back meetings, visiting schools, attending community events, or enjoying a meal out with a friend. If she has free time, Diane might find a place to sit still for a while and take in the quiet, catch up on her reading, or go for a walk through her favorite store. “I love walking up and down Target, but that seems to get me in trouble because there’s always something I want to buy. Reading is more affordable, to be honest.”
Trying to eat healthy:
Cooking for one can be a challenge, and Diane’s unpredictable schedule makes it difficult to use up fresh produce before it goes bad. When she’s eating at home, she finds it easier and more economical to pick up something from one of the local places that offers healthier options. “People are sometimes surprised that I don’t cook as much as I used to, but it’s a fact. Panera is one of my best friends.”
Burning the midnight oil:
With such full days, Diane spends many evenings catching up on work. Often she loses track of time and stays up much later than intended, as people point out when they see the time stamp on her emails. If she finds herself nodding off in her chair, she finally goes to bed. “I admire people who have a set time to stop working, but I’m just not one of those people right now. I don’t really feel retired, I just feel like I’m pursuing a life.”
BY YELENA SAPIN