Sylva teacher wins statewide teaching award

Deanne Oppermann, a chemistry instructor at Southwestern Community College in Sylva, is the recipient of the R.J. Reynolds Excellence in Teaching Award for 2012-2013 by the North Carolina Community College System.

Oppermann is known at SCC for embracing multiple teaching styles and incorporating mastery learning, the philosophy of providing more than one chance to demonstrate mastery of content or skill, into her courses.

However, Oppermann’s passion for teaching goes beyond the classroom. Her passion for teaching is solidified by her interaction with students during the advising process and the countless professional development hours she logs to improve student learning and stay current in her field.

Oppermann has worked at 17 years, with six years’ experience in the industry as a research chemist. She also holds a U.S. Patent based on novel chemical surfactants.

“I am humbled, honored, and excited to have been selected as the 2012-2013 NCCCS Excellence in Teaching recipient,” Oppermann said. “The true reward of teaching comes from making a positive difference in my students’ lives.”

Oppermann was chosen as one of the five finalists for the award from a field of 58 candidates, one from each community college in the state.

“Deanne Oppermann is a superstar in the classroom. Because Dee has never mistaken activity for achievement, every activity she connects with (and there are many) leads to something spectacular for the student,” said Cheryl Contino-Conner, director of Student Support Services and Honors Program at SCC. “As an instructor, an advisor and a champion of SCC’s Honors Program, Dee Oppermann is simply the best when it comes to student service and teaching/learning at SCC. We are very lucky to have her, and I say that as a colleague and as a friend.”

Oppermann will receive an $8,000 stipend, a $2,000 contribution to Southwestern Community College and a commemorative plaque.

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