Laura Mann Hines: 1922-2009
By Thomas K. Fagan and Rosemary Flanagan
Laura Mann Hines was born on October 29, 1922 and died at age 86 on May 29, 2009. Born in Covington, Virginia to Artiss Bibby Mann and Walter Mann, she was the youngest of three children and attended Covington public schools. Laura Hines completed the A.B. in 1945 from Virginia State College, then moved to New York City where she completed her M.A. in educational psychology in 1950 from New York University, and the PhD in 1978 in school psychology from Fordham University. She was a school psychologist and supervisor for the New York Board of Education’s Bureau of Child Guidance (1965-1979), and then served on the faculty of the Ferkauf College of Humanities and Social Science at Yeshiva University from 1980 until retirement.
According to Judith Kaufman (Personal Communication, May 3, 2011), “Laura came to Ferkauf after a successful career with the Bureau of Child Guidance and NYC Board of Education as a school psychologist and supervisor of school psychologists. She brought the ‘real world’ into our doctoral program and dealt with practicum and internship issues along with teaching our professional practice courses. Laura was often the calm in the storm of confusion with our students and provided endless hours of support to them...always with a smile! She served on a number of dissertation committees and contributed wonderful insights. Laura’s particular skill as I remember it was her ability to edit, to assist students in having the perfect document. To me, she was a fine friend, always ready to listen, to share her knowledge, and to share her life. She would host gatherings in her wonderful apartment overlooking the Hudson River, an apartment filled with wonderful art, good food smells, and fine and warm companionship. Laura Hines was a truly special human being!”
Laura Hines became an associate member of the APA in 1969 and a full Member in 1979; then a Fellow in the APA Division (45) Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues. Her name first appeared in the NASP directories in 1976. According to the obituary prepared for her memorial service (June 3, 2009), Laura was professionally active with the New York State Psychological Association (NYSPA) and the APA. Rosemary Flanaga recalled that she received a distinguished service award from NYSPA in 1988 and was the president of the NYSPA School Division (1983-1984), as well as its representative on the NYSPA Council in the early 1990s (Personal Communication, May 27, 2011).
During the time that Laura was President-Elect, President and Past-President of the NYSPA School Division there were many activities related to the provision of school psychology in the New York City schools and the role of the school psychologist on teams. The biggest statewide issues involved the resolution of the question regarding the authority of public school districts to contract for school psychological services. This issue covered several years of actions, including correspondence with the affected schools, with the Department of Education and the Regents, with the federal government’s Department of Education and the Office of Civil Rights. Laura and Virginia Staudt Sexton were in contact with these different groups to advocate for sound professional practice. New York’s Education Commissioner Gordon Ambach in July 1983 stated: “As you know, my decision in the Matter of Friedman (19 Ed.Dept. Rep. 522), held that a board of education could not abolish a position of school psychologist and contract for the services previously performed by the school psychologist. That decision... did indicate that the duties of a school psychologist are pedagogical in nature and that a board of education has no general statutory authorization to contract for instructional services...All school districts must continue to employ certified school psychologists to perform those duties which are truly instructional in nature, including serving on the committee of the handicapped and providing psychological evaluations and counseling.” This decision continues to be referenced whenever there is even a hint of using independent contractors to provide school psychological services.
When Rosemary Flanagan was president of the NYSPA School Division (1992), Laura was the School Division representative to the NYSPA Council. Rosemary recalled that “Laura was active and came to executive board meetings. She gave good counsel and offered a New York City and ethnic minority perspective in reasoned ways…I often saw her at conferences and found her to be good company” (Personal Communication, March 14, 2011). She also served on the Board of Directors for the Lexington School for the Deaf in Queens.
She and her husband, Dr. Dom Balducci, lived in uptown Manhattan and were active members of the community, including wellness programs at Riverbank Park, and the Church of the Master in NYC. She and Dom travelled widely, enjoyed operatic performances, and entertained guests in their home for many years. She is survived by her husband of 30 years, her brother Irving of Toronto, and her sister Jessie of Richmond, VA.
Laura Hines was among a small but active group of now deceased African American school psychologists who made national contributions. In addition to Laura, we recall Nannie Curtis in Washington, DC, and John Jackson in Milwaukee, WI (Fagan, 2008). Although the publication by Graves (2009) drew attention to the career of Albert Sidney Beckham, arguably the first African-American school psychologist practitioner in the United States, our field lacks a more comprehensive history of the contributions of African-Americans to school psychology.
Fagan, T. K. (2008). Remembering John Jackson (1922- 2008). The School Psychologist, 63(1), 32-36.
Graves, S. L. (2009). Albert Sidney Beckham: The first African American school psychologist. School Psychology International, 30(1), 5-23.
The authors extend their appreciation to Vinny Alfonso, Kathleen Doyle, Irvin Mann, Dolores Orinskia Morris, and Colby Taylor for their assistance in gathering this information.