Throughout the year, Teacher in
Spotlight will shine the light on teachers and staff who do
for our students and go above and beyond each and every day.
The spotlight is on Tim and Allison Billias
Throughout history, great things have always come in pairs
–peanut butter and jelly, Bert and Ernie, and Batman and
The Monticello Central School District (MCSD) has its own dynamic duo: Tim and Allison Billias.
The two are alumni of Monticello High School, which is where they met as students and continue to be active members of the MCSD community. Mr. Billias has taught English at Monticello High School for six years, and Mrs. Billias has been a fourth-grade teacher at Kenneth L. Rutherford Elementary School for the past two years.
“Aside from enjoying what I teach, my favorite part of my job is being a positive influence in students’ lives. I hope they see me as a positive person who cares about their development,” Mr. Billias said.
That influence extends outside of the classroom for both Mr. and Mrs. Billias. Both go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of Monticello students. Mr. Billias coaches the high school’s cross country team, and Mrs. Billias serves on the district’s assessment committee and is a member of the CDEP (curriculum development education plan), working with data to develop ways to meet the educational needs of Monticello students.
"Innovation matters to the district, and Tim and Allison Billias exemplify innovation on a daily basis,” Superintendent of Schools Tammy Mangus said. “They're constantly collaborating and coming up with out-of-the-box ideas to engage and educate their students."
One of those out-of-the-box ideas the pair has put into practice is their unofficial mentoring program between Mr. Billias’s senior Academy of Finance students and Mrs. Billias’s fourth-grade-students.
Seniors in the high school’s Academy of Finance (AoF) program are paired with adult members of the community who serve as role models and help the students navigate career choices and academic planning. The two teachers decided to take it to the next level by allowing the senior students to put the skills they learned by being mentored into practice by becoming mentors themselves.
“It gives the students the ability to put into practice the things they’ve learned, such as public communication in a real world setting,” Mr. Billias said. “It helps the AoF students see what it’s like to mentor and see what they want to get out of their own mentors.”
The high school students guide the younger students through various scenarios, such as feeling overwhelmed with school-work or seeing a friend who looks sad and stressed. They discuss possible solutions then the students work together to write down the biggest takeaways from the conversation: have confidence, never give up, prioritize.
“My students had set goals for themselves, and we find different ways to measure their progress from week to week,” Mrs. Billias said. “It’s helpful for the younger students. They take it really seriously and always ask when they’re going to see their mentors again.”
The two teachers have built a chain of mentoring, from the adult AoF mentors to the AoF students to the fourth-grade students – but what they may not realize is that their students also consider their teachers mentors.
“I always look forward to Mr. Billias’s class,” senior Rebecca Crance said. “He’s very relatable, and he genuinely cares about how is day is going.”
“My favorite part of Mrs. Billias’s class is that we got to eat Chinese food,” said Corey, a fourth-grade student in her class. (When students master a particular topic, they are rewarded by choosing their lunch). “She’s kind, and she even knows my mother.”
Congratulations, Tim and Allison!
We applaud you for being greater than the average!