Plainville Community Schools has named band director Dominic Talotta the 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year.
Talotta, who was nominated by district colleague Michael Boncimino, has been an educator for 36 years, serving as the band director at Plainville High School for the past 24 years, together with serving as the eighth grade band director at the Middle School of Plainville for the past nine years.
Also, Talotta served as the Head Brass Judge for the Connecticut Music Educators Association (CMEA) Northern Regional auditions and adjudicated jazz trumpet auditions for CMEA’s northern regional auditions.
Talotta holds a bachelor’s degree in music from The University of Hartford – Hartt School of Music and a master’s degree in administration, supervision and curriculum development from Central Connecticut State University.
When asked about his philosophy of teaching, Talotta explained, “Very little of what the band does – 8th grade, PHS or Jazz – belongs solely to me; it’s not my room, it’s our room, our rehearsal, our time together, our accomplishment, our failure – it’s our excellence we strive for. If I had a motto of sorts it would be that a good, productive rehearsal has equal amounts of laughs and learning; you walk away smiling from the fun but also content because you know you are better at something than you were when you sat down.”
And when explaining how he inspires a lifelong love of learning in students, Talotta noted, “Learning has to be enjoyable but the line at where fun ends and the hard work begins or how to mix the two, has to be clear. I am always also trying to instill in kids skills and an appreciation for music that will always be with them. If they remember that they garnered that appreciation with fond memories of diligence and laughter, that reflection will bring a smile to their faces always.”
Plainville’s Superintendent of Schools Steven LePage commented: “Mr. Talotta represents the perfect balance of attributes that make a teacher truly outstanding. He is a respected expert in his craft and a highly-skilled musician and director; yet he also has the gift of teaching and the ability to convey his expertise with great passion, charisma, humor and pure joy in what he does.
“Mr. Talotta’s greatest strength, and the reason he grew the PHS band from 18 members when he started to well over 100 today, is his genuine care for kids and ability to make every student in his programs feel important and special to him.”
LePage added, “Mr. Talotta is able to foster both high level skills and strong relationships, and that is why students from decades ago hold such fond memories of their experiences in Mr. Talotta’s bands. It is also why students from decades ago continue to talk about how Mr. Talotta forever increased their appreciation of music and love of musical performance.”
As Teacher of the Year in Plainville, Talotta will also participate as a candidate for Connecticut’s 2020 Teacher of the Year Program. Each district Teacher of the Year will be individually recognized later this year by the Connecticut Department of Education.
-- Press Release