Amee Alioto, a special education and dance teacher at Adele Harrison Middle School has been named Sonoma County Teacher of the Month for January.

The monthly award honors one of Sonoma County’s most outstanding teachers from October through May. It is sponsored by the Sonoma County Office of Education, K-HITS 1049 and Community First Credit Union, with additional support from Platinum Chevrolet.

“We need high-quality, caring teachers now more than ever to help our students thrive in a complex and ever-changing world,” said Steven D. Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools. “The Teacher of the Month program seeks to honor, support and thank those teachers.”

Enthusiastic nominations from colleagues and parents described Alioto as one of “the most hardworking, kind and heartfelt teachers of them all.”

“Mrs. Alioto is a passionate and dedicated teacher that consistently goes above and beyond for her students. As a special education teacher, she creates a safe and supportive environment for her students so that she can push them out of their comfort zone,” read one nomination.

Alioto also offers a popular dance elective.

”It is not easy to get middle schoolers to perform in front of their peers, especially middle school boys, and yet Mrs. Alioto inspires kids to do just that and has made it ‘cool’ at our school,” wrote one nominator. “She is truly inspirational and deserves recognition for the positive impact she has made on our school culture and many students’ middle school careers.”

Representatives from the Office of Education, KHITS 104.9, and Adele Harrison Middle School surprised Alioto with the award as she taught a resource class for students whom she had served for three years. Her students smiled, clapped and cheered enthusiastically when the honor was announced. Alioto received a plaque and $400 classroom supply gift card.

“I am very proud to be a teacher,” said Alioto. “Each day I come to school with the hope of inspiring others and teaching meaningful lessons, and every day I leave having learned the most important lessons from each of my students. My students inspire me to be a better teacher and a better person every day. Teaching is not for the faint of heart, it is for those who truly believe in the power of education and the joy of learning.”