At the end of last year, Patch asked readers to nominate a 2013 Person of the year. In the comments section, readers overwhelmingly picked MTHS Teacher Anthony Sia, known in the school community for launching Montville’s School of Rock a little over eight years ago.
“I nominate Mr. Anthony Sia for dedicating hours and hours to students, and also advising the most underrated club in Montville Township, possibly Morris County,” said Anthony Pizzi.
Janice Nasisi said, "I have the pleasure of working at MTHS and seeing first hand how much this man not only loves his job but loves those children as if everyone of them were his own. He is such a dedicated and talented man."
“I feel extremely honored” to be
chosen as Patch’s 2013 Person of the Year, said Sia. “It’s always nice to win
something. But I also feel lucky. There are plenty of people in Montville who
do great things and are more deserving of this award. I also worry that awards like this tend to portray us a something we’re not. Nobody’s
perfect; especially me.”
Sia started working at Montville high school as a substitute teacher in 2002 and became a full-time business teacher in 2003 and he has taught a slew of courses, such as Information Technology, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Multi Media, Graphic Design (a.k.a. Strategic Design) and Networking Essentials.
“I created the Strategic Design curriculum at MTHS, served as webmaster from 2004 to 2009 and as Chess Club Advisor. However, the contribution of which I am most proud is the Montville School of Rock which I created in 2005,” said Sia.
“I've never seen dedication and passion in a teacher until Mr Sia,” said Nikki Vee. “The MHS School of Rock put on a tremendous show 2 weeks ago. Kudos to School of Rock band.”
Although he is a business teacher, his love for music started across the Atlantic.
“I’ve lived in Italy as a student and later found work as a musician. In fact I toured Italy with a band for several years,” said Sia. “When I came home I sold pianos and returned to college where I got a bachelor’s degree in International Business. After working in customer service for a number of years I decided to return to school for computer programming. Substitute teaching at Montville high started out as something I did while searching for work as a programmer.”
Luckily for him and Montville Township HS, teaching stuck.
“I have heard nothing but great things about Anthony Sia and is a great role model to the MTHS students,” said Tom Radcliffe.
Last year was a year of accomplishments for Sia. Since creating the “School of Rock” program in 2005, the program has gained popularity and success. Last year, School of Rock grant application was successful partly because of testimony from alumni of the program.
“The Montville School of Rock teaches students to use technology in their performances, the way professionals do... they also learn how to build and develop their own acts as solo artists or as part of a team,” said Amanda Lustbader, former Mustang and Montville School of Rocker. Lustbader calls herself “Alus” in the music world and pursues music through the “vintage pop” genre.
She released her first music video on YouTube entitled "Run" in 2012 and has gained an impressive following on social media sites, including more than 11,000 fans on Facebook andmore than 13,000 followers on Twitter.
“My best memories of 2013 are surviving bypass surgery, my daughter’s induction to the National Honor Society, my son’s basketball games, receiving a grant for the School of Rock, seeing my former student and friend Alus in concert, receiving a plaque from the Montville Educational Foundation and every School of Rock concert,” said Sia.
Looking forward, Sia hopes for “health and happiness” globally and “I also wish we could realize that the most valuable gifts we have for each other are emotional. Locally, I hope we all get huge tax refunds,” he added with a laugh.
He is also thankful for his family and school community.
“The kindness and tolerance which students and parents have shown me are a constant source of inspiration. I’m also inspired by my family; for loving me in spite of all of the mistakes I make,” he said.