Former Whittell teacher sentenced in Tahoe stalking case

Michael Ismari

Michael Ismari

A former Whittell High School teacher was convicted of misdemeanor stalking after a four-hour trial in Tahoe Township Justice Court.

Michael Ismari, 62, was ordered to serve 30 days in jail, with 150 days suspended for two years on Monday. He was remanded into custody after the case.

Justice of the Peace Michael Johnson also ordered Ismari to pay $697.22 in restitution.

“We all look for clues in relationships, we all look for cues of what the other person thinks about us,” Johnson said. “Somebody allowing a temporary order of protection to expire is not an indication that they want to have a relationship. This person didn’t want to have contact with you and was clear about that in a variety of ways.”

Ismari was arrested June 11, 2023, at the Roundhill Mall after a woman, whom he’d been in a prior relationship, said he was following her from South Lake Tahoe into Nevada.

The survivor asked Johnson to sentence Ismari to the maximum, saying that his intrusions disrupted her life.

“Being stalked is the one of the most terrifying experiences in my life,” she said. “You violated my privacy and felt entitled to make intrusions into my life after I asked you not to. You caused me months of constant fear and depression.”

Ismari and the woman had a five-month relationship after they met on a dating site, according to testimony at the trial.

Ismari had a key to her home and used it to enter her home unannounced on Jan. 24, 2023, at which point she came out of the bathroom and told him not to come over unless he’d called first.

She testified that she decided to end the relationship on Feb. 14 and had her locks changed. The next day, Ismari came to her home and tried to enter using the key. She said she broke up with Ismari on Feb. 17.

“He was very pushy,” she said. “He wouldn’t respect my boundaries.”

She obtained a restraining order on March 20 after she’d warned him to stop contacting her.

She testified that during the following six weeks the order was in effect, he left her alone, with one encounter at the performance of a band she liked in South Lake Tahoe, where he was there first.

After the protection expired on May 4, Ismari showed up at the gym where she works out and approached her at Nevada Beach on May 13.

She said he asked if they could get back together, and she said she made it clear that wasn’t going to happen.

During sentencing, prosecutor Chelsea Mazza said that Ismari had a prior conviction of driving under the influence in 1991 and another for violating a temporary protective order in 1998.

Ismari took a job at Whittell on Dec. 16, 2022, and officially retired from the Washoe County School District the following week.

Ismari was the subject of a May 5, 2023, lawsuit filed on behalf of a student by Joey Gilbert and Sigal Chattah against the Washoe County School District.

According to a story appearing in the Reno Gazette-Journal recounting court documents filed in the case, Ismari was accused of tackling a student and laying on him and had to be told by the principal to get off the child.


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