Jill Monfiletto named county's top teacher

Scarselli Elementary School second-grade teacher Jill Monfiletto said she's not a person of too many words.

"Thank you very much," she said, making her speech short and sweet after Scarselli Principal Brandon Swain introduced her to a room full of teachers.

Monfiletto was one of 11 educators who attended the Douglas County Education Foundation's annual luncheon at Genoa Lakes on Wednesday. The teachers were nominated by their co-workers at each school site.

A short while after Swain introduced Monfiletto, interim superintendent John Soderman took center stage to name her the district's teacher of the year.

"Teaching is the heart and soul of what we do," Soderman said. "The rest of us are working to help that go well."

"I do value education," Monfiletto said upon accepting the honor. "But what I value more is what the person is and who they can become. It's not about us; it's more about them."

Monfiletto, 45, has taught at Scarselli for 12 years, with 20 years total experience.

Swain described her as a transplanted Midwesterner with a kind, patient manner tempered with high expectations for her students.

Whether it's making pillowcases for Austin's House, sending letters to troops overseas, or selling her homemade jewelry to fund a special food account for hungry students, Monfiletto inspires people to help others, Swain said.

"She instills a sense of responsibility in her students for each other, for the community, and the country," he said.

Swain relayed to the crowd some of the things Monfiletto's own students had said about her, such as, "If you're a new student, she tells you how to do stuff and makes you feel at home."

Monfiletto is not the only star in her family. Husband Ernie Monfiletto, a Douglas High School history teacher and football coach, was named district teacher of the year in 2000.

"I'm always living in his shadow," she teased. "It's wonderful. I can't wait to go back to work."

"I guess there's room on the shelf," Ernie joked.

On a serious note, he said, "Only if I were half the teacher she is."

Soderman said the chiming golden apples awarded to each nominee represent the legacy of great teachers in Douglas County.

"Think of a teacher or a coach who has influenced you, and think of the attributes used to describe that person," he told the audience. "What people say is, 'They cared about me. They challenged me and brought something out. But they also supported me in that challenge.'"

"That's the legacy that sits here today," Soderman said.

Other teachers nominated by their schools this year are Kerrie Badalucco of Meneley Elementary, Marguerite Buma of Carson Valley Middle School, Karen Lamb from Douglas High School, Dana Beres from Gardnerville Elementary, Kathleen Barton from Jacks Valley, Lauren Spires of Minden Elementary, Hollie Harvey of Pinon Hills, David Vasick from Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School, Kathleen Kixmiller of Whittel High, and Sunny Cassidy-Perez of Zephyr Cove Elementary School.


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