TOW Friedmann

Second-grade teacher Diana Friedmann poses with some of her students Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, at Wiley Elementary School in Urbana.

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Meet DIANA FRIEDMANN, a second-grade teacher at Urbana’s Wiley Elementary who reports to school every day with one goal — ‘to inspire students to become lifelong learners who are motivated and passionate to make a difference and achieve their goals.’

She’s The News-Gazette’s ninth Teacher of the Week of 2019-20.

The most unique lesson that I’ve taught is ... the haunted house lesson. This year, I was able to turn our classroom into a haunted house. When the students walked into the classroom, they had to identify the things they could see, hear and feel. We brainstormed different nouns and adjectives that could be found and seen in a haunted house. I had a Realtor join us so she could describe the importance of descriptive words. The students were then able to create their own haunted house listing for the Realtor.

I find my work important because ... I am helping shape and mold our future leaders. Teachers have the opportunity to pour into students and not only teach them academics, but also how to be a kind and respectful part of the community. Our community depends on great leaders who are able to collaborate in a respectful and responsible way, using the problem-solving skills they learned in the classroom.

I became a teacher because ... I enjoy helping others find success.

I’m passionate about ... my family. Family comes first, and being a good wife, mother and role model for my two kids is the most important thing I can do.

Send your nomination to Anthony Zilis at