Third-grade teacher Deborah Wirth, according to letters written by North Salem Elementary students and staff, is "caring," "generous," and "friendly."

She also happens to be very modest.

Wirth, who has taught in the Dover Area School District for 24 years, was among seven winners of this year's WGAL Teacher Impact Awards.

"I think there's a lot of people in the country that do more than I do," Wirth said.

Wirth, though, has stood out, according to nomination forms lauding her patience and her effort to keep parents and students excited about school.

"It would not be uncommon to see Mrs. Wirth at students' events and community activities, simply because she cares about each and every one of her students," wrote North Salem principal Christopher Cobb in one of several nomination letters.

The award was "humbling," said Wirth, who teaches workshops in the district and around the country on educational approaches.

In her nearly 30 years in education, including a few years in Maryland, Wirth said she's seen an evolution in students and education. As technology helps students to become more isolated, Wirth has worked to keep families more engaged, especially with face-to-face interactions.

"I do a lot with parent communication. I try to keep them in the loop," Wirth said. "It's not going to help (academics) if you don't have a community in the classroom."

Children, she said, remain the best part of job.

"It's as creative as you want it to be," Wirth said of teaching. "I also like that there's a new start every day for kids, too."

Wirth and the six other winners will be honored by WGAL and Rotary Club District 7, covering this region, on May 14. The awards are for "teachers who have influenced students' lives." A story on Wirth will appear on WGAL's 5 p.m. Friday, June 14 broadcast.

- Reach Andrew Shaw at ashaw@yorkdispatch.com