College of Education Alumna of the Year: Laura N. Banks-Reed ’43 ’66 ’70 ’81


Laura Nobles Banks-Reed
was born and raised in Tucson’s Barrio
Anita neighborhood. She earned four degrees from the
University of Arizona’s College of Education — a bachelor’s in elementary
education, a master’s in elementary education, an
educational specialist degree in educational administration,
and a doctorate in educational administration. Laura taught in Tucson’s
public schools for 39 years beginning at Dunbar
Junior High in 1943. Her passion for educating youth
drove a remarkable career. And in 1980, she was selected
as the assistant superintendent of TUSD, the first
African-American to hold the position. In 2003, TUSD named a school
in her honor, the Laura Nobles Banks Elementary School. In addition to her own
outstanding career, Laura and her late husband
owned Jack’s Original Barbecue for 43 years. The restaurant was inducted
into the Arizona Restaurant Hall of Fame. Laura has given her time
to numerous local, state, and national organizations. Among her contributions,
she was a member and the first African-American
president of the Tucson YWCA, served for 11 years on
the YWCA national board, served as the national
secretary for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and The
Links, Incorporated, is the author of her
autobiography “From the Barrio to the Boardroom,” and
is a founding member of the UA College of Education’s
National Advisory Board. Laura Nobles
Banks-Reed’s lifetime of dedication to
education and community epitomizes the Wildcat spirit. And the UA Alumni
Association is honored to name her its 2019
Alumna of the Year for the College of Education.

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