LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Gustavo Monsante

Position: Fourth Grade Dual Language Teacher
School: Slack Elementary School
School District: Lufkin Independent School District
City, State: Lufkin, TX

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Gustavo Monsante was nominated by Maria Teresa Pedroche, a member of the community.

Mr. Monsante is a bilingual, energetic and positive leader who is passionate about education and the communities he serves. He has many years of experience, both in early childhood education and in K-12 public education. Mr. Monsante was born in Lima, Peru and moved to the United States with his family when he was 12 years old. After graduating from the University of North Texas in 2003, he pursued his career in the early childhood non-profit organization sector, where he became an expert in childcare center standards and curriculum, as well as a mentor and trainer to directors and teachers.

From 2006 to 2014 he worked for a Dallas agency, Educational First Steps, whose purpose is to improve the quality of low income childcare centers by achieving accreditation from the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) and NAC (National Association for Childcare Professionals). Mr. Monsante led numerous centers through the steps of accreditation, including training the staff on standards and curriculum, rearranging classrooms, providing classroom tools, encouraging teamwork, and building great relationships. He was involved in various EC associations and was on the board of the TAEYC (Texas chapter of NAEYC).

In 2014, Mr. Monsante became a certified bilingual teacher in Lufkin, Texas. He taught third and fourth graders in a Title 1 public school for three years, helping to transition at risk students from Spanish speaking homes to a mainstream classroom setting. During his time at this school, Mr. Monsante founded the Preservation Club and co-founded the Guitar Club. The Preservation Club focused on teaching kids how to help improve their neighborhoods and community. They had the opportunity to complete beautification projects and painted a mural over a graffiti wall close by the school. The mural project won first place for Elementary School Projects from the Keep American Beautiful organization. Mr. Monsante received accolades from the Lufkin Education Foundation and was awarded a grant for the Preservation and Restoration Club for Coston Elementary.

“The purpose of this project is to educate and make children aware of the importance of our environment, how it impacts our everyday lives, and how taking care of it and preserving it can be a benefit to one self as well as our community," Monsante said. "The purpose of the project is to instill in our students with a sense of worth, teamwork and a desire to learn about the world around us. By combining the outdoors, the community and research, students will be encouraged and inspired to lead efforts to find ways to create community based projects to help and enhance their environment and their self worth.”

Indeed, Mr. Monsante always makes a difference. He frequently shares tips on social media with his daughter, Liliana, on how to grow healthy food. His daughter is inspired and shares her opinions. 

The Guitar Club was created to help low income students obtain guitars and learn the basics of how to play, deepening their appreciation of the arts and using the right brain, which Mr. Monsante believes is important for the whole brain in learning and development.

Mr. Monsante recently transitioned to teaching in the dual language program in Lufkin for gifted and talented third graders. His students are learning to be fully bilingual in English and Spanish. He is excited to teach in his native tongue and inspire the children to expand their horizons of language, knowledge and culture.

Mr. Monsante has been married to his wife, Ashley, for 11 years. They have a 4 year old daughter, Liliana. When he is not playing with his daughter, he is gardening and learning about permaculture, or volunteering at his church and in the community.

"Mr. Monsante is a Life Changer and has improved all of the schools and communities he serves. He is a passionate and mission driven leader with proven experience in early childhood and elementary education," Pedroche said.

Comments (91)

Belinda Brown Posted over a year ago

Great person and even better educator!!! Gus cares about our children and community and goes above and beyond the call of duty. Gus is a servant to others.??

Yolanda Flores Posted over a year ago

Congratulations!! You are awesome and such an inspiration to others!

Brandie Knight Posted over a year ago

I pray that Mr. Monsante teaches my daughters one day! I have heard numerous stories from parents about the way he makes learning fun and what an all-around wonderful person he is. It is so refreshing to see that our children are blessed with the opportunity to spend time and learn from a person like like Mr. Monsante!

Kathy Jost Posted over a year ago

Mr.Monsante is a very unique teacher. He truly has a passion for all kids and the surrounding community. He gives 150% ALL the time. He is a Life Changer ... not just for kids but for the community!

Katie Baker Posted over a year ago

Gus is the teacher every kid wants to have and every parent loves! He’s energetic and his joy is contagious. He has a huge heart and gives it away freely. Gus is truly one of a kind and I cannot think of anymore more deserving!

Mary Grimes Posted over a year ago

As a former teacher at Slack Elementary, I am always hearing things about the school, teachers and programs. I have heard nothing but GREAT things about this teacher! Keep up the good work- it’s the hardest job you’ll ever ?? love!

Sarah levine Posted over a year ago

Awesome guy!!

Vern Warren Posted over a year ago

Great candidate

Tammy Hampton Posted over a year ago

He is an awesome teacher.

Cindy Stewart Posted over a year ago

I’ve had the privilege of seeing him teach. One can truly tell tell that he loves what he is doing and his students respond accordingly!

Cindy Stewart Posted over a year ago

I’ve had the privilege of seeing him teach. One can truly tell tell that he loves what he is doing and his students respond accordingly!

Nancy Hicks Posted over a year ago

Mr Monsante is a wonderful teacher. He makes learning fun. The smile you see in the morning is the same smile you see at the end of the day. He has a positive attitude and excitement for teaching that encourages his fellow workers as well as his students to be the best they can be

Kerry Jones Posted over a year ago

Gus always uplifts other educators and brings joy everywhere he goes. Our kids adore him! We're immensely proud of all he's done to create our DREAM STREAM Lab for all learners at Slack Elementary! Proud to call him a friend and colleague.

Yaneth Posted over a year ago

Mr. Monsante is the Mrs. Frizzle of Slack Elementary! His energy and enthusiasm in the classroom is absolutely fantastic! Our students love being in his class and learning new things in creative ways. I am not surprised to see this nomination! I am thankful that his talents are being recognized! We are lucky to call him a Slack Stallion!

Terri Posted over a year ago

Gus exemplifies the kind of teacher you want your kids and grandkids to have. He has an unwavering positivity and helpfulness that's contagious! He is an asset to Lufkin ISD by exceeding expectations in the classroom with his leadership skills and creative ideas. Gus is definitely a worthwhile recipient of this nomination! Congratulations on a job well done! There are no limits on what he can achieve!

Sara González Posted over a year ago

Es maestro de mi niño de 3er grado y es muy buen maestro, gracias por ayudar y apoyar a nuestros niños y compartir su sabiduria, gracias

Sharon Snowton Posted over a year ago

Sr. Monsante, Yo tambien maestra bilingue en programa de dos idiomas. You do not know me. I enjoy reading the stories of the Life Changer of the Year. Congratulations on your nomination. You are making a wonderful contribution to the lives of your students. Keep up the good work.

Elli Williams Posted over a year ago

I've known Gus for a while, but I now have the great privilege of working with him and seeing his amazing work with students. Such a creative and energetic spirit!

Ashley Monsante Posted over a year ago

This man is truly dedicated to each of his students and helping them to be the best they can be! Full of energy and creative ideas!

Amanda Smith Posted over a year ago

I’ve known Gus for 3 years now and he is an exceptional teacher and coworker. He gives his all for all students.

Camille Jones Posted over a year ago

Very deserved! I have worked with Gus for four years now and he is the most positive and high spirited and inspired person I know.

Jennie Freeman Posted over a year ago

Gus is the perfect example of what a teacher should be. His goal is to meet each student where they are and help them grow from that point. He is an inspiration to both children and adults. Lufkin ISD is extremely lucky to have Gus as a teacher!

Manuel Monsate Posted over a year ago

Gustavo is my older brother and eventhough we are only 11 months apart, Gustavo taught me many things. He is a natural teacher who exudes positivity and encouragement. His passion and patience make a huge impact on his students; specially this one, perhaps his very 1st.

Bonny Hicks Posted over a year ago

He is truly an exceptional educator and human being!

Kristi Nick Posted over a year ago

Great teacher and friend!

Robin Latson Posted over a year ago

Gus embodies positivity, love of family and friends (and those who eventually become like family), ethics, hard work, and fun! He strives to make each day truly’s who he is. His love of the Lord shines through everything he does. Through his musicality and the above-mentioned traits, he shares his gifts with his students and becomes such an amazing role model for them as he guides their learning! I can think of no better person to be honored as a LIFE CHANGER, having personally witnessed how he has done so for my niece Ashley, their precious daughter Lili, and my family!

Dawn Garig Posted over a year ago

Great teacher! His hearts goal is to make sure each child has a GREAT Education! Thank you for all you do for Slack Elementary! So glad to have you on our team!

Sidney C. Roberts, MD Posted over a year ago

Gus is an amazing, energetic, passionate, dedicated, and joyful person! His infectious spirit engages kids and adults alike, which translates to highly effective mentoring and learning.

Vickie Evans Posted over a year ago

Gus is a visionary with heart. He models empathy for others of all ages by his examples of love and acceptance of all people. His enthusiasm for life, despite immense personal struggles,is an example of persistence and hope for the hopeless. Gus truly is a life changer!

Sylvia Ricks Posted over a year ago

Teachers are the best.

Nancy Garvey Posted over a year ago

Mr. Monsante is the BEST!! He has the biggest heart and his kindness is overwhelming. His love for kids and strong work ethic make him the perfect candidate for this award!!!!

Carol Riley Posted over a year ago

He is a joy to work with. He is everything a teacher should be and the students adore him!

Ashley Pigg Posted over a year ago

This guy is one of the best! I don’t know anyone else that has such a positive outlook on life like he does. He is energetic, genuine and passionate!

Amanda Henson Posted over a year ago

In education we are always looking for inspiration and Mr. Monsante has gone above and beyond to inspire the students, staff, families and just about anyone he meets. We are proud to have him on our campus. I have had the opportunty to collaborate with him on occasion, and I am always amazed at his ability to inspire and put the positive spin on whatever the task is.

Misty Zeleskey Posted over a year ago

Gus is such a genuine, positive and outgoing person!!

Maricela Carelock Posted over a year ago

I met Gustavo several years ago. We were inspired by his care and kind attitude fir children. Totally support his nomination.

Lothar Pena Pohl Posted over a year ago

Kudos to a wonderful teacher, role model, exemplary human being. He can always bring the best out of everything he does. I’m so proud of you! You deserve it. Mr Pohl

Sarah Wallace Posted over a year ago

He is very good at engaging and encouraging his students with special projects that build character for a lifetime . For example, having his students participate in painting a mural for their community.

Ginger Marlar Posted over a year ago

I've known Gus since the mid 1990s. He is a kind and caring man and is always looking for ways to help others and encourage their intellectual and emotional growth. He is a faithful friend, caring father and loving husband. And his enthusiasm about his call teach children is obvious. One definition of love is "putting others before yourself". Gus Monsante is a living example of that! I am proud and thankful to call him my friend.

Jaime Chavez Posted over a year ago

I feel blessed to have seen Gustavo grow into the person he has become... from working side by side, to taking his first steps into the non-profit sector, growing into a husband and father, extending into early learning, and growing into a leader and role model. There are not many feeds on Facebook to which I look forward like Gustavo's. I know there will always be a positive challenge, positive message, a glimpse into his beautiful life with his daughter and wife Ashley, and more. "Gustavo, especially in this day and age, thank you for being the role model all of us need. God continue inspiring and blessing you, Ashley, and Lilly!" It's an honor to call you a friend.

Ginia Posted over a year ago

One of the very best!

Hayley Hangartner Posted over a year ago

Gustavo Monsante is the most kind hearted, loyal, passionate and joyful person you could ever meet. He meets every person with a smile and takes an active interest in his family, community & students. His heart is full of love for each individual, and he is faithful in helping each learn, succeed and thrive not only in school, but in life. He is a blessing to all who know him!

Alesa Baker Posted over a year ago

Awesome and amazing young man with a passion for education!!!

Shannon Posted over a year ago

There is not a better person out there for this honor! Everything he touches is made better.

Jennifer Bassin Posted over a year ago

He is an amazing teacher, he brings so many ideas and exciting ways for our kids to learn to the Slack campus. He has revamped our science lab and makes a tough curriculum fun! I love it that my 2 kiddos at LMS are well prepared for the GT, STEM, and Dual Language/ advanced Spanish programs. It’s teachers like him that really make a difference on our campus and in the lives of our children .

Jennifer Scott Posted over a year ago

Gus is forever thinking of ways to challenge and engage his students. From music in the classroom to painting murals in the community, he has changed so many lives in a positive way. Lufkin ISD is so very fortunate to have a teacher like him that goes above and beyond to meet all students' needs.

Rhonda Slack Posted over a year ago

Awesome and amazing man!!

Whitney Lorenz Posted over a year ago

I know Mr. Monsante, “Gus”, from college and can attest to the fact that he is the real deal and loved by many at UNT. Always positive and making the environment and people around him better. I can’t think of a better candidate for this award.

Jennifer Harris Posted over a year ago

I’ve been a friend of Gustavo since college and have always admired his creativity, passion and tenacity. He is a special soul and much deserving!

Tara Johnson Posted over a year ago

We’ve got the wonderful pleasure of my daughter being in Mr. Monsonte’s class this year and I can’t express enough how amazing he has been and what an amazing asset he is to Slack Elementary. He has created a hands on classroom showing his students science in real life with pulley systems and other implementations of what the students are reading about in books. He’s not only an amazing teacher, he’s a very caring and compassionate man who truly cares for his students. He is always sure that they are included, understand what is being taught, that they are not lost or left behind in the material, and that they are enjoying what they are learning! He’s so fun and energetic and has definitely had a positive impact on my daughter. He will definitely be that teacher that she will never forget. He has been a wonderful blessing to her this year!

Jill Carswell Posted over a year ago

What an inspirational young man! As an owner and director of an early childhood learning center, I am in awe of all he does and the experience he shares. We could all use a “ Mr. Gus” in our centers to assist us to be the best. He is absolutely a very deserving Life Changer!

Cristina Farrell Posted over a year ago

Gustavo Monsante is everything listed and more. His passion shines through his actions and his smile lights up a room. I’m blessed to know him and can only imagine the positive outlook he instills in his students daily. If I could vote for him over and over, I would!

Melissa Posted over a year ago

He truly deserves this award!

Allyson Langston Posted over a year ago

Mr. Monsanto is the epitome of a life changer and is so deserving of this award. He’s outstanding in every way and adored in Lufkin ISD!

Tammy Hampton Posted over a year ago

He is awesome!

Ina Jane Thames Posted over a year ago

Gus Monsante is passionate, and he is dedicated and determined to make a difference in the lives of his students.

Robbie Kuykendall Posted over a year ago

Gustavo Monsante is not only a friend but he is such an amazing gift to the students in our school district. His passion for education and children is what any parent would want in a teacher. His achievements and awards thus far have been well-deserved. I can only imagine what new opportunities and ideas he will bring to our schools.

David Hicks Posted over a year ago

My boys are all three in the duel language program. My sons haven't had Mr. Montes as a classroom teacher but my middle son is learning to play the guitar in guitar club. Mr. Montes does a great job of teaching guitar on a volunteer basis and my son loves it. The world needs more teachers like Mr. Montes. I am thankful talented people like Mr. Montes are willing to pass up higher paying, more glamorous jobs to truly impact the lives of our children.

Tomica Lockett-Amie Posted over a year ago

Big or small Gus is always lending a helping hand from gardening tips to ESL he is patience, kind, and loyal.

Janet Read Posted over a year ago

A creative and inspiring person, making a positive difference

Glenda Allen Posted over a year ago

My Grandchildren attend Lufkin Schools. I am very impressed with the dual language program that my Grandaughter attends. I feel this teacher deserves this award for his outstanding service to all children. Sincerely , Glenda Allen

Jason Marlar Posted over a year ago

This guy is amazing! A true role model in his field. His passion for teaching children and opening their minds and hearts to all that the world has to offer is inspiring. His students will remember him for the rest of their lives. We all have a short list of influential teachers from our past. Gustavo Monsante will be one of those teachers for many of the children that have been, are and will be in his class.

Kelly Rice Posted over a year ago

God Bless you for all you do! Hope you get the rewards you deserve for what you do for kids!!! Kelly Rice

Amanda Allen Posted over a year ago

On top of being an advocate for the children, Mr. Monsante is a dedicated family man. The love he has for life is quite evident not only in the classroom but with his family as well. When his mother-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer he was a constant presence of peace and love, being there to aid in anyway he could. Since the passing of his beloved mother-in-law he has since opened his home to his father-in-law who is bed-bound and requires around the clock care. Mr. Monsante has set the example of what a passionate and loving heart can do to make this world a better place.

Jan Morgan Posted over a year ago

Wonderful teacher. No matter which school he has taught at, the children, faculty, administration and parents love him. He gives his all every minute of everyday. He goes the extra mile for ALL of his kids. Wish every teacher had his passion for children and their educational needs.

Rita Joye Gray Posted over a year ago

Gus consistently inspires me with his authentic determination to be the best husband, father, teacher, and all round good person that he His youthful personality combined with his “old soul” spirit is definitely a life changing combination. I am honored to call him my friend! Peace.... Rita Joye Gray

Sarah Allen Posted over a year ago

Mr. Monsante is our daughters teacher this year! He truly is a life changer! He does so many fun, hands on activities in his class to truly engage the students! I am constantly in awe of what she is learning and how he brings in every day items to teach Science! Thank you for all you do!

Joyce manning Posted over a year ago

Though I have not seen Gustavo in the classroom, I have been privileged to observe him as he interacts with his precious daughter. He is patient, attentive, inquisitive, and encouraging. All of these are qualities I feel certain he would exhibit in his classroom.

Ashley Easley Posted over a year ago

Love Gus! I've not actually seen him in class with his students but know him and his family personally. I've heard nothing but positive feedback from some of his students, parents and co-workers. He loves life, whether it's human, animal or plant, and always has a kind thing to say. He's always smiling and happy and just makes you feel good to be around him. Gus is one of the most interesting men I've met and am so glad to know him.

Alexa Evans Posted over a year ago

Mr. Monsante is an amazing educator in our community. He is a teacher that makes classroom engagement fun!

Erin Lopez Posted over a year ago

He is SO deserving! I'm so excited that my daughter will have a chance to have him in a couple of years! He is a wonderful person, teacher, and family man.

Megan Cooper Posted over a year ago

I feel blessed to call Gus my friend. His love, generosity, creativity and passion for life are just a few of the greatest things about him! Gus is one of a kind!

Mirella Posted over a year ago

Mr. Monsante truly has the vision to change the world through his students. He’s inspiration!

Mirella Posted over a year ago

Mr. Monsante truly has the vision to change the world through his students. He’s inspiration!

Molly Ellis Posted over a year ago

I have know Gus for several years through different capacities. We work in the same school district and attend the same church. He is a blessing to be around. Gus adores life and lives it to its fullest. He is a positive ray of sunshine whenever you are around him. I can only imagine the lives he’s touching and the difference he’s making in the lives of those he teaches. I am honored and proud to call him a friend!

Karen Broughton Posted over a year ago

Mr. Monsante is driven by a passion for better education. Better education not only for his students, but also for himself. I love that he is like a sponge soaking up knowledge wherever and whenever he can. Most of all he is a kind and gifted teacher, a devoted father, loving husband and cherished friend!!! We need more Gus Monsantes!!!

Jamie Zayler Posted over a year ago

Gus is one of the most compassionate teachers I have ever had the privilege to work with. He loves each student and is truly concerned about each one of them. He gives up his time after school and on the weekend to do fun things with his students. The skills he teaches them will be with them throughout their lifetime. Gus is a Godly man and a perfect choice for this honor.

Patricia Bustamante Posted over a year ago

I saw him once he was in Lima, visiting the family, how he shows his students about the people in Lima, how do we live, how we share moments in family. He is a super teacher, a super daddy...

Charlotte Huffstetler Posted over a year ago

Gus is the most gentle and caring man I have ever met. He loves each kid for the child They are- always seeing the best in them. Kid or adult - he just makes you smile and is always positive. Gus is a life changer for many kids!

Jesse Cravy Posted over a year ago

My name is Jesse Cravy and Gustavo Monsante has been in my life for only a couple of years. In these few years, he has impacted my life in a way that I cannot accurately describe in words alone. The first time I spent intentional time with Gus, we were on a mission trip to rebuild homes in Waco, Texas that were affected by floods. He shared his story with me, and it is one that can only be told in its glory by Gustavo himself. His passion for our community is uncanny to any other. His passion for children is indescribable. The reckless love that he has shown everyone in his path is absolutely phenomenal. I look up to him with everything in me. As a person, and as a Christian man. His pure heart is one that I am certain cannot be corrupted. He has changed my life in ways that he will never understand, and I know that he will continue to change more lives everyday. If he were to win this award, it would equip him with the resources necessary to change as many as possible.

Connie Carr Posted over a year ago

A wonderful teacher with a positive attitude and a heart full of the love of learning. A true inspiration to children and an amazing role model.

Cindy Rich Posted over a year ago

Gus has such enthusiasm for life, teaching, life-long learning, and is an advocate for children. His enthusiasm is contagious to those around him. I consider Gus a friend, a fellow teacher, an encourager, a breath of fresh air. He is a devoted husband, father, and a Christian who loves the Lord. His light shines brightly.

Jackie Lindsay RN BSN Posted over a year ago

Gus is a very passionate, caring gentleman who is tireless in his efforts to help others. He gives selflessly at any opportunity to teach or share with anyone be it child, peer or elder. Gus is sincere in all endeavors and an inspiration to all.

Tonja Akridge Posted over a year ago

Gustavo is passionate about teaching his students the skills they need to not only succeed in the classroom but in their everyday life. He makes learning concepts fun and exciting. He know this instills in his students a desire to learn more and gives them the satisfaction of knowing they can succeed. He has such a big heart for children and a desire to share his passion for life with his students. Gustavo is an amazing teacher and wonderful role model. We need more teachers just like him.

Barbara Ferguson Posted over a year ago

Gus: what a shining star! Gus is blessed with a God given love for children. His creative energy constantly amazes, and is an inspiration to each of "Gus's kids". Gus is cutting edge in so many areas of life. The sharing of new ideas, as well as different ways to spark the interest of a child or adult, is Gus's forte. Let's give the ball to Gus....I cannot wait to see what he does!!!

Jane Fischer Medlin Posted over a year ago

Gus is an amazing individual. He's a natural teacher and motivator and has such a kind soul. Definitely a life changer!

Daphne Posted over a year ago

Gus is such a great teacher, he is always thinking outside the box to make lessons memorable. We love Mr. Monsante!

Amy Posted over a year ago


Anne Treadwell Posted over a year ago

Mr. Monsante is a wonderful educator! He is so caring and kind towards his students! Such an inspirational teacher!!

Katie North Posted over a year ago

Gustavo Monsante is an amazing educator, passionate life-long learner, and devoted to enriching the lives of those around him. When I was 19 years old, working in a restaurant, and just starting to figure out my path in life, Gustavo recommended me for a position in early childhood, and it lead me to find my true calling in education. I would not be the educator I am today without his guidance and inspiration so early on. I value his thoughts on different pedagogies, and approaches to reaching all learners. Gustavo is committed to making a difference in the lives of his students, and the world around him! He is truly a Life Changing Educator!

Nat Jansing Posted over a year ago

He is a wonderful educator and I couldn’t think of a better deserving person!