Unlike most teachers at Winthrop High School, Steve Vieira spends the majority of his teaching time on the stage. In addition to being the high school’s production manager for the Winthrop Drama Society and the Neil Shapiro Center for the Performing Arts, Vieira is also the transition specialist for the life skills program. He is responsible for planning and coordinating activities for post-graduate students with developmental disabilities, and he actively scouts volunteer and job opportunities for the students in the program, reinforcing the life/survival skills for the 21st century. Part of this work includes the operation of The Viking Café, which is run by the Life Skills students under his supervision.
Vieira is no stranger to the high school or the stage, as he grew up in Winthrop and earned his BFA in Theatre Arts from the Conservatory of Performing Arts at Point Park University with a concentration in stage management. His education and dedication to theatre has landed him in a role that he loves.
“The best part of my job is acting as a teaching artist and mentor to our students,” said Vieira, who is also on the Executive Council of the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild (METG).
When did you realize you wanted to be a teacher?
I have always thought about teaching, but never imagined that I would end up in education. When I came home after college, I started working with Karen Calinda and the Drama Society to improve the technical elements in their productions, which, over time, evolved into a whole new program culminating in the opening of the new Neil Shapiro Center for the Performing Arts, for which I was fortunate enough to be able to contribute to the design and planning.
What do you love about teaching in the Winthrop School District?
It’s nice to work where I went to school and continue to build and nurture the sense of homegrown talent and enthusiasm. The sense of community is so great, and it is so special to be able to work alongside teachers who have taught me when I was in high school.
If you weren’t a teacher, what other profession could you see yourself doing?
While I have always dreamed of working in the world of professional theater, I have really grown to love working with students and young artists. I think I would always want to be involved in educational theater in some capacity, be it high school, university level, or even with the education departments of a professional theatre company.
Do your students inspire you?
I am so inspired by my students. While I put a lot of expectations on them and have very high standards, their work ethic and dedication is incredible. While we work as a team to design and create the work you see on stage, the running of every production is 100 percent student-executed, which I think is so important; to have that sense of responsibility and ownership, and really take pride in their work.