School District Names Dominic Talotta Teacher of the Year
Posted on 06/10/2020
Dominic Talotta

Plainville Community Schools has named Plainville Community Schools Band Director Dominic Talotta as the 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year. Talotta was nominated by district colleague Michael Boncimino.

Talotta 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 9 years. He has 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.  He also received the Plainville Community Schools Everyday Hero Award in 2017 and 2020. 

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.”

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.

“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. Research shows, and we can all likely relate from our own experiences, that students remember more about how they feel in a teacher’s presence than about the skills and content learned. 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. I couldn’t be happier for Mr. Talotta being selected as this year’s Plainville Teacher of the Year,” commented Superintendent of Schools, Steven LePage.

Talotta holds a bachelor of music 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. He was honored virtually at the June 8th Plainville Board of Education meeting.