- Dan Monfre
Dan Monfre ’09 was a triple major in mathematics, Spanish, and education when he started his freshman year at Carthage. He soon found that having three majors was very time-consuming and decided to drop one with the education major drawing the short straw. You wouldn’t know that from his career choice though. He’s a teacher at Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School in Milwaukee.
“While I may have left the major, the desire to educate never left,” he said. “I took a year off after graduating and looked at alternative certification programs to become a teacher. After my year off, I applied and was accepted to the Milwaukee Teaching Fellows.”
The Milwaukee Teaching Fellows is an alternative certification program that allows people without an education degree to become certified to teach. Its aim is to streamline the process for recent college graduates and professionals to become teachers in urban areas.
“It’s really like teacher boot camp,” Mr. Monfre said. “The program places teachers in schools during the day and then at night they work on earning their certification.”
Once he got into the classroom, the Carthage connection immediately showed itself.
“Professors at Carthage played a big role in how I teach,” he said. “You can feel their passion while they teach, and you could tell that cared not only about what they taught, but that they cared about the students too. I try to do that as well by trying to relate to my students.”
It’s that effort to relate to students and interact with them that led to them being featured on the PBS Idea Channel, a weekly web series that examines the evolving relationship between modern technology and art. Mr. Monfre and his discussion course were so active in posting thoughtful responses on each video that host Mike Rugnetta and crew fly from New York to Milwaukee for a surprise visit to the class.
The PBS Idea Channel video wasn’t Mr. Monfre’s brush with Internet popularity. He was one of the top-20 finalists in Johnsonville’s Best of Us competition. The Best of Us Competition is a competition that allows people to nominate the unsung heroes who they feel are making a difference in their community.
“One of my friends at work nominated me and after a few weeks we received an email saying that I was going to be one of their featured profiles,” he said. “Then a few weeks after that we were notified that that I was a finalist in the top 20.”
Mr. Monfre was nominated because of his dedication to his students by making math fun. He co-hosts a math club for students who need extra tutoring, he comes to school dressed as “Super Pi Man” every March 14, and comes in early and stays late to help students in any way possible.
“I don’t think I could teach anywhere besides Milwaukee Public Schools,” he said. “I know that here I’m making a difference in these students’ lives.”