“While I am honored by this recognition, I want to share that it isn’t mine alone. What we achieve at Mountain View Elementary—both students and staff—comes from the ways in which each of us work to support one another. I am fortunate to teach alongside helpful administrators, loving families, master teachers and staff, and—most importantly—kind, curious students. I am grateful to be a part of the Mountain View family.” – Jonathan Dillon
Jonathan Dillon teaches music in kindergarten through fifth grade at Mountain View Elementary School in Kenai. He has been a teacher for five years, all five of which have been in Alaska. In addition to being nominated by parents of his students, Jonathon was recognized by many of his fellow teachers. The universal consensus is that he’s a really nice guy, always willing to help struggling students and his coworkers, he simply loves teaching.
Johnathan graduated from University of Alaska Fairbanks with a bachelor’s in music and earned a master’s degree, also in music, from the University of Montana. Clearly, he is a gifted musician, but it’s as a teacher that he earned this compliment from a parent: “Mr. Dillon is remarkable in his ability to include all students, of all abilities, in his classes. When a student tells him they do not know something, whether music-related or not, he kindly interjects, ‘Not yet.’”
Whereas conventional wisdom may be that some people have musical talent and some do not, Johnathon approaches each student with the belief that every one of them can learn to create music. Because he teaches a number of grade levels, he is able to mentor them through the first years of learning music, helping them progress: playing a number of instruments, reading and even writing music. Most important, they learn to sing.
He says, “I believe singing is a great equalizer in music education. Each child has his or her own unique voice – and learning to use that voice is the foundation upon which all other musical skills flourish.”
Johnathan is dedicated to helping his students. He teaches band during lunch, and choir after school. He holds concerts during the year to not only allow his students to showcase their talents but to teach them what it means to learn a discipline in private then use it in real application – in public.
One of the many fellow teachers who nominated Johnathon wrote, “Mr. Dillon uses music as a vehicle to elevate each person to the point that they are operating at their highest self – and to ask, ‘How can I make someone else’s day a bit brighter?’ If Mr. Rogers were to come back as a music teacher, his name would be Johnathan Dillon.”
Many of Jonathan’s students come to school from very difficult home situations, including homelessness, adoption, foster care, poverty, divorce, and so forth. But as another fellow teacher wrote, “Mr. Dillon is a leader in our school in the way he models kindness, generosity of time and attention, and inclusion of all in his program. He goes above and beyond for those kids every day.”
“Music is only a small part of the curriculum that Mr. Dillon delivers to Mountain View Elementary students,” said Karl Kircher, Mountain View Elementary principal. “Good teachers model what they want their students to learn, and on a daily basis Mr. Dillon seamlessly models kindness, empathy and assuming positive intent as he manages his classes. The entire culture of our school is affected by his actions as he inspires our staff to emulate his practices. The amazing relationships that Mr. Dillon develops with his students and the joy they find in singing together with their friends is evidenced by the fact that 46, 4th and 5th grade students participated in after school, extra-curricular choir this year. Mr. Dillon’s smile and demeanor as he goes about his day from classes to Kindergarten lunch duty to his after-school computer code writing club for shows that he takes in as much joy as he gives.”
This year’s nominees were again, an excellent representation of our staff as a whole,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “They are humble, hard-working and student-centered. They are willing to go above and beyond to help students succeed and reach their full potential.”
“BP is proud to honor these great teachers and their tireless work in the classroom,” said BP Alaska Regional President Janet Weiss. “We see it as part of our ongoing commitment to the communities where our people live and work – and an investment in the people who help make Alaska great.”
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District BP Teachers of Excellence winners are:
- Stephanie Cronin, Seward High School
- Jonathan Dillon, Mountain View Elementary School
- Barbara Larivee, West Homer Elementary School
- Meredith McCullough, Kenai Central High School
- Colby Way, Port Graham School
Congratulations, Jonathan Dillon, BP Teacher of Excellence!