Barbara Mann may be an expert woodcarver, but it’s the lives she shapes that are the true measure of her success.
Barbara learned her deep passion and skill set for woodcarving from a group of Cherokee Indians while serving as Dean of Students at Western Carolina University in 1971. Since then, she has dedicated her life to teaching and volunteering as a woodcarving instructor across the country.
Upon moving to Tallahassee in 1988, Barbara began teaching her own woodcarving class at Oglesby Union on Florida State University’s campus. Her class was so popular that she decided to team up with fellow woodcarver Jack Rutledge to begin a social woodcarving club in 1994. Now, the club meets on weeknights at the Tallahassee Senior Center, the place where Barbara says, “It was all born.” An instructor for Capital City Carvers and Westminster Oaks, she has volunteered at Woodcarvers Roundup events in Florida, Michigan, and Indiana.
Before she began shaping lives through woodcarving, Barbara served as a role model and mentor for college students across the country. She received a degree in physical education from Bowling Green State before earning a master’s degree in counseling at Wayne State University. She then spent two years as a residence hall director at Ball State University followed by three years as Director of Student Housing at Frostburg State University. “I loved working with college kids,” Barbara recalls. “They kept me young all those years.”
Barbara came to Florida State University in 1980 and earned a degree in higher education. She then served as Vice President of Student Services for the University of North Carolina system. Returning to FSU in 1988, she worked as an associate professor of higher education, where she served as a major professor for 32 doctoral students and 240 master’s students.
Barbara Mann has developed a strong legacy to be followed by woodcarvers and students alike. “Pursue your dreams. Even if you don’t reach them, you’ll find something you love along the way,” she says.