Mr. Montoya was raised in a small town in Wyoming. His interest in music was nurtured early, growing up playing guitar in his family’s band. He said back then he didn’t really considered a career in music, outside of every teenagers’ dream to be a famous musician.
A high school teacher encouraged Montoya to pursue music education. After graduation, he attended Dodge City Community College before transferring to Kansas Wesleyan University. His first job out of college was at Solomon, where he taught for nine years.
Montoya took the band director position at Lakewood Middle School in 2012. Since taking over, participation in the band has more than doubled. Montoya said that by developing relationships with students he can better cater to their needs and point them in the right direction- “but it is all the work the kids put in that makes me look good. There isn’t anything special about me,” he added.
Last year, Montoya was named USD 305 Teacher of the Year.
“Like in any job or with any person, we have bad days but it is about making the best of them. That is why I start every class with a lesson that can apply to life, not just music.”
After class, Montoya spends his free time on the golf course with friends or playing guitar with his band, “Split Decision.” They most recently played at the River Festival Jam.
Montoya says he loves the community of Salina and the weather Kansas offers. In fact, he loved it so much, he recently moved his parents here from Wyoming. “It is nice to not have to shovel snow nine months out of the year.”