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In this month’s teacher spotlight we are privileged to get to know Mr. Monte, the new Algebra I and Statistics teacher. This is his first year at LuHi and his eighth year of teaching. Read on to discover what inspired him to come to LuHi, his advice for pursuing a career using math, and what his favorite superpower is!

Mr. Monte, can you tell us about your family and where you are from?

My wife, Minerva, and I have been together, by the grace of God, for thirty years. She is my absolute best friend and we met while working together back in Southern California. I grew up in Downey, California, and earned my engineering degree at Cal Poly Pomona. Minerva was born in Mexico and received her degree in child and adolescent development. God led us to move to Colorado just over 13 years ago. We have been richly blessed with three children. Our son, Elijah, graduated with his finance degree from CU Denver and married our daughter-in-love, Jessica, over a year ago. Both of our daughters attend LuHi - one is a freshman and enjoys theater and the other is a junior and plays a couple sports while enjoying servant leadership.

Monte family photo-1

What inspired you to become a math teacher?

At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to become a Physics or a math teacher. Ultimately, I believe that God directed me towards math, but He gives me many opportunities to incorporate physics and science into my Algebra classes.

I feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to help math make sense in a practical way. It is a joy to help my students feel like they can be really good at math while deeply understanding and utilizing patterns. With God’s great help, He wants all of us to be problem solvers in our communities, families, and workplaces. The logic, order, reasoning, and approaches taught in math can help our students strive to solve problems experienced by mankind.

What interested you about teaching at LuHi?

After several years of teaching, I felt called to pursue teaching mathematics at a Christian high school. During this same time frame, our first daughter became a 9th grader at LuHi. First, I was able to truly experience and appreciate LuHi from a parent’s perspective. After attending our first Open House, we only had time to meet with her future coaches – as we spent the entire time in the gym! I walked away so impressed with the character, leadership, and vision of the head volleyball coach, Alicia Kidston, and the head soccer coach, Jim Pereira, that I felt like these were the kinds of mentors I wanted around our daughter. Then, I was able to meet Hannah Swafford and Brooke Davis, as they were coaching her and, again, I felt like we had made the right choice. Soon, I was able to meet Mr. David Ness, not only as her principal, but as a fellow dad and fan as we watched our daughters play volleyball together. I remembered thinking a couple years ago that I would love to work for and with Mr. Ness because of his humble, gentle spirit and his love of God and the families at LuHi.

As I continued to listen to our daughter share stories of her teachers, classmates and friends, chapels and other activities at LuHi, I really began hoping that one day I would be able to join the teaching staff at this great school.

What are some hobbies you enjoy?

Kayaking, camping, hammocking, and hiking are some of the outdoor hobbies I enjoy. I also play drums and percussion. Traveling and serving others is something my family enjoys doing together. Recently, I have focused on woodworking, as this has been something I have always been fascinated with.

Michael kayaking-1

What is your favorite memory from your high school days?

I was voted most spirited in high school because I was really into my school and its experiences. I played three sports and was asked to be our school mascot. Playing sports in front of my school while also supporting other sports and theater events – these were my highlights from high school.

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

First of all, I love superheroes! I admire how they strive to fight for and protect others with integrity and grit. My three favorite fictional heroes are Captain America, Black Panther, and Spiderman. If I had to choose only one superpower, it would probably be the ability to fly.

What advice do you have for students who want to pursue an education or career using mathematics?

That is a great question! I was a mechanical engineer for 16 years prior to being a math teacher. My first bit of advice is to always be curious. It is fun to learn new things and understand why things work the way they do. Humility is a really important quality as this will allow you to seek mentors and to see the value of asking for help and offering help. Another piece of advice would be to persist and never give up when things seem difficult and frustrating. Lastly, creativity and practicality are both desirable qualities and should be pursued with equal passion.

Thanks for sharing about yourself in our blog, Mr. Monte! We’re so grateful that God led you to teach at LuHi and excited for our students to learn from your passion and wisdom. (Also, there is some real potential for a new superhero who uses his math skills to fly…)