In 1965, Deanna Marchiando accepted a teaching position at Cleveland Elementary. She’s been there ever since, teaching 1st grade for 25 years before switching to 2nd. She’s never taught summer school — that would’ve cut into vacation time — and she’s never considered moving into administration. That’s not her thing. She’ll stick with the kids. “I’m pretty positive, and I expect the best from them,” she says, adding, “You almost gotta be a stand-up comedian, always thinking on your feet to keep their attention. I call them my turkeys.”
Born the only child of Italian immigrants, Marchiando picked up English in the neighborhood surrounding Arnoldi’s Café. Pondering her future with Bishop Garcia Diego High School’s first graduating class, she thought, “Well, okay, I can be a teacher,” and enrolled in UCSB’s elementary education program.
After landing that Cleveland position right out of the university, she treated herself to a 1966 Ford Mustang. Since then, she’s put about 79,000 original miles on it, and parks it in the carport of the home she’s lived in since birth, just down the hill from Cleveland. On her days off, she might play the slots at Chumash Casino. She also likes the Dodgers, her Jack Russell terrier, and trading in the stock market. She’s never been married, and while she doesn’t have any kids of her own, this year she has 24 turkeys to teach.
Colleagues describe her classroom style as honorable, enthusiastic, gifted, and supremely optimistic. But she plays it down. “I’m not the teacher,” she said. “I’m just the facilitator, just trying to spark interest and let the kids realize they can do it.”