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Andrada teacher signs her way to Outstanding Faculty Award finalist

Posted at 5:56 AM, Jan 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 08:40:01-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — KGUN 9 and Arizona Athletics are proud to present the nominees for the University of Arizona Online Outstanding High School Faculty Award.

Nancy Webber-Graff is one of the nine finalists.

Her passion and dedication shows through as she navigates the challenges of remote learning.

Webber-Graff has had to adapt as American Sign Language teacher and librarian at Andrada Polytechnic High School in Vail.

She now teaches sign language to four different ASL classes and a Freshman Leadership class online.

"I feel like those of us that are older teachers really, really struggled with the technology part of it," said Webber-Graff. "That was true for myself. Right this minute, I feel better than I have all year."

Webber-Graff has been teaching in the Vail School District for 25 years. She taught elementary school, high school Career Explorations, and was a librarian before starting the American Sign Language curriculum.

"I've always had small ASL sign language clubs at every school that I've taught at," recalled Webber-Graff. "But it wasn't until 2012, when we opened Andrada, that I finally became an ASL teacher."

Her classes respond to the fun way she teaches ASL.

She says she is appreciative of being recognized as a finalist for the Outstanding High School Faculty Award.

Nancy Webber-Graff with Wilma Wildcat

"To even be chosen as one of the top teachers in Arizona, based on the U of A, is really, really an honor," Webber-Graff said. "It's kind of amazing and I'm super, super thankful."

With this honor, Webber-Graff hopes to inspire others through her passion for signing.

"I want to encourage more people to learn sign language," said Webber-Graff. "I want people to understand the value of the Deaf community and the need for inclusion."

Webber-Graff wants everyone to know she did break with American Sign Language protocol by speaking while signing for this interview.

She is one of nine finalists for the Outstanding High School Faculty Award presented by University of Arizona Online.

The winner will be announced in early March.