‘Teacher of the Week’ known for having patience and calm presence with students

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Deane Viola is known as a person with a lot of patience and a calm presence with her students.

A third-grade teacher at Blair Elementary School, we picked her as our ‘Teacher of the Week’ sponsored by Down East Heating & Air Conditioning.

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“When you came in with ‘Teacher of the Week,’ it was like a total surprise,” Viola said. “I mean my heart was pounding, I feel honored that someone would nominate me.”

In the nomination form WWAY received, a parent told us that she goes above and beyond every single day to maintain her students’ interest and to ensure they are set up for success.

A 1978 graduate of UNCW, Viola has taught more than 25 years but she says 2020 was the most challenging year of her long career.

“Through all of this with the lessons online and teaching students here and teaching students online as well, it’s just overwhelming,” she said.

Particularly challenging, Viola says, was learning new forms of technology such as ZOOM meetings and Google Classroom.

“I didn’t have any experience with that at all,” she said. “I’m amazed by how much I have learned and I feel like I have a bit of a hold of it now but it is a lot of work.”

Principal Rebecca Opgrand says Viola has worked hard to embrace and adapt to online instruction.

“She is also very dedicated to all the things that she has learned in her many, many years of experience,” Opgrand said. “She has blended the two – the old ways and the new ways so that her children are learning.”

As the second half of the school year begins, Viola is looking forward to retiring later this year.

“I’ve been walking down the hallway lately thinking, you know, this isn’t going to happen much longer, its been part of my life,” she said. “I’m sure that I’ll want to substitute some, and still be involved a little big but I have grandchildren now and an aging mother, and a lot of things that I’d like to do as well.”

Viola was visibly touched when we read the nomination we received highlighting her attributes as a teacher.

“I mean my heart, I just about want to cry because for somebody to think of me in that way that impacted their child that makes a huge difference,” she said. “If this is going to be my last year, it certainly is a way to go out to feel like I’ve made an impact on a child’s life that much.”

Principal Rebecca Opgrand says recognizing educators for the impact they’re making in the classroom is extremely important.

“We know when WWAY calls, there will be a moment of just sheer joy because the teacher will be honored for their hard work and they will be shown appreciation for what they do,” she said. “In light of recent times, the teachers need to hear positive things about their work and about how they give to these children.”

WWAY is delighted to pick Viola is our first ‘Teacher of the Year’ for 2021.

“It’s exciting that she’s the first person in 20-21 and totally most deserving,” Opgrand said. “She is a dedicated employee and dedicated to her children’s success, you might say she’s a quiet study in perfection.”

A quiet study in perfection in what has certainly been an imperfect and uncertain time due to the pandemic.

Click here to nominate an exceptional teacher for ‘Teacher of the Week.” Our winner each week receives a $100 gift card.