Face of the Week: Deborah Yahve of Windsor Mill Middle School
Team BCPS is made up of thousands of accomplished and interesting students, employees, and community supporters. “Face of the Week” introduces you to some of the people who make BCPS such an amazing mosaic of talent, caring, and commitment.

image of the Face of the Week: Deborah Yahve of Windsor Mill Middle School

Clad this day in a bright white shirt and dress and a smile to match, Deborah Yahve might be described in the halls of Windsor Mill Middle School as a walking hug.

“It doesn’t matter who you are,” she says, gliding along a polished Windsor Mill corridor, “all children need love and respect. I give it to them, and they give it to me. And sometimes they need a hug, too. Some children may not get a hug at home, you know, or maybe they’re not feeling good that day.”

That’s part of what Yahve sees as her job as an adult assistant for a variety of students in several classrooms at Windsor Mill. Each day, she helps her students get off the bus, have breakfast, and settle into classrooms for the day’s lessons. She might help with reading for one child or assist the teacher in working with another. In addition to hugs, she seems to have reservoirs of dedication and patience.

“She is patient to the ‘nth’ degree with all of the students and is loving and gracious to everyone in the building,” says Niamh McQuillan, the school’s media center specialist and a Yahve fan. “She is guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face to make that person feel that they matter and all is well in the world.

“She is a gift to our building.”

Yahve has had plenty of practice; if there is one constant in her life, it seems, it is her devotion to children. A mother of four and grandmother of 18 – her oldest grandson is a doctor, she tells you proudly – she has kept the welfare of children at the heart of a long career in area schools and centers.

A Baltimore native, she spent her youth learning how to babysit – it was while caring for those children, she says, that she learned to appreciate the responsibility of both caring for children and caring about how they grew. After graduating from Frederick Douglass Senior High in the city, she studied psychology and community organization at both Baltimore City Community College and Loyola College and embarked on a career that has been child-centered every step of the way ever since.

She spent 10 years as director of a Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club in the city’s Franklin Square neighborhood, then another seven as director of extended care programs at Guilford Elementary School in north Baltimore. The years and positions piled up – Leith Walk Elementary, Steuart Hill Elementary, Edmondson High. And still she sought additional ways to be involved, becoming a licensed minister and looking for ways to help already busy teachers at area schools.

“Visiting different schools, I could see there was a need for (assistance),” Yahve says. “The teachers are really tied down with a lot.”

She found an opening through the Senior Community Service Employment Program, who placed Yahve at Windsor Mill four years ago – first in the library as an assistant, then as an office assistant, and finally as an additional adult assistant, or AAA.

“These children are our future,” she says. “We want them to do the right thing and with the right frame of mind. You just need to keep an open mind and an open heart when you are dealing with children.”

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