JACKSON TWP.  Michele Monigold, the band director for Jackson Local Schools and a music teacher at Jackson High School, has been named the 2019 Teacher of the Year for State Board of Education District 8. Monigold also teaches advanced international baccalaureate music courses.

Monigold has traveled with students to China and Ireland to build friendships and understanding between cultures. She and 10 other regional Teacher of the Year awardees each have the chance to be named the 2019 Ohio Teacher of the Year this fall.

Monigold said she was nominated by Jackson High School Principal Jeff Kracker. She was surprised by the award and had "no idea until I received the phone call."

"While I am truly honored to have been nominated, let alone selected to represent this district, I am also thrilled to represent music educators and highlight the value of arts education," Monigold said.

The selection process included sending a resume, letters of recommendation, essay questions and evidence of student work. Monigold said if she moves onto the selection process for the 2019 Ohio Teacher of the Year, she’ll be asked to make a presentation and go through an interview process.

She said her family has been "extremely supportive and they deserve awards for putting up with me." Her husband, Sean, is part of the Jackson band staff, running five jazz bands and also performing as a professional trumpet player throughout Northeast Ohio. Monigold said his belief in her abilities has never wavered.

"I’d like to thank my parents, Nick and Louise Liossis, my husband, Sean, son, Nolan, and my sisters," Monigold said. "I’m also part of an amazing team. Music education at Jackson is truly a team approach, and the music staff works together with parents, alumni, staff, support staff, coaches, administration, school board, and the entire community. This is what makes my job so special. I certainly feel I am not alone in this, but rather representing a community. Great things happen when we work together.

"It has been wonderful to receive notes of congratulations from so many former students and parents. Making a difference in the lives of young people is at the heart of every teacher, and I have been able to do what I love each and every day for the past 28 years. Regardless of how far I go in this award process, just being a teacher has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined."

Monigold expressed her thoughts on teaching in general by saying, "The past year was extremely difficult for educators, especially in Stark County. Teachers throughout the country need our support. Children haven't changed, but society certainly has. I hope that young people will not turn away from a career in education, but rather consider it a challenge to enter this field and work to make change happen. We need the best and brightest to enter this field with strength and determination. "

"Michele Monigold’s gift for teaching music comes through in her ability to build passion for music and performance that has brought about continued growth and strength of the instrumental music program at Jackson Local Schools," Kracker said in a published statement. "Because of her enthusiasm and belief that music is good for all children’s social and emotional growth and academic success, she is a champion for all students. As a result of her inclusivity, the band has more than 400 students in grades 5-12."

This fall, a panel of education and community stakeholders will select the 2019 Ohio Teacher of the Year. That educator will represent the Buckeye State in the National Teacher of the Year selections.