Tinaglia family is dedicated to education

On Nov. 22 the Tinaglia family got together to celebrate Thanksgiving.

After the long weekend, five of them returned to their roles serving students in various ways as staff members in Faribault Public Schools.

Peter Tinaglia, a 2009 Faribault High School graduate, rounded out the district’s numerically literal handful of Tinaglias this fall when he returned to his alma mater to teach social studies. He joins his father Doug, a social studies teacher at the middle school, his uncles Dan, a third-grade teacher at Roosevelt, and Drew, an audio/visual technician, and his aunt Sheryl, a school readiness teacher at McKinley Early Childhood Center.

Growing up around so many educators, Peter knew from an early age he wanted to become a teacher. He also noticed he had a knack for understanding the step-by-step processes for explaining how to do things, whether it was working a vacuum cleaner, doing the dishes, fixing a car, or putting together a resume.

“It was just a question of what I was going to teach, never if I was going to teach,” Peter said. “Growing up that was kind of the culture I was always immersed in. I always naturally knew how to explain things and I guarantee I learned that from all of them. They walk you through how to do things, modeled it for you, showed you the steps, let you do it, even let you fail. Then they would reteach.”

Peter said he naturally inherited his enthusiastic and energetic approach to teaching that his dad and uncle Dan bring to their classrooms.

“They’ve always been pretty good with kids. I remember they were always the ones getting everyone riled up and excited about everything,” he said. “They would create a culture of excitement and any time they were doing anything, try to make it fun.”

The Tinaglia brothers grew up in South Dakota. Doug and Dan moved to Faribault when they were still working as commercial airline pilots based out of Minneapolis. Drew joined them in Faribault and began working in the schools in 1995, and soon after that Doug and Dan began taking classes at Mankato State to get their teaching degrees. Doug began his teaching career in 1997 and Dan in 1998.

"Before I was a pilot I was a flight instructor and I really enjoyed that," Doug said. "I didn't really care for the pilot lifestyle - it wasn't conducive to family life. I really enjoyed teaching people how to fly, and my wife was a teacher in Owatonna at the time, so I started to think about becoming a teacher. I decided that helping kids learn would be a great way to spend the day."

Drew married Sheryl, who was already a teacher at McKinley, in 2004. Both their children attend Faribault Public Schools. Five members of the Tinaglia family have graduated from FPS over the last 12 years.

“They’re definitely close,” Sheryl said of the Tinaglia family. “Doug and Dan were buying houses in Faribault and Drew graduated from college and didn’t have a job, so he moved to Faribault to be with his brothers, so it’s a tight-knit family. Now Dan and Angela live five houses down from us.”

When the Tinaglias meet up, at some point, Peter said, the conversation inevitably turns to what’s going on at school.

“We talk shop,” he said. “We talk about what we’re doing that week, about struggles, about what’s working and what’s not, and about those aha moments when things click and a student finally figures it out.”

There are a lot of moments to draw upon, considering the Tinaglias bring over 90 years of combined experience to their professions.

“We’re very fortunate to have such wonderful staff across all our schools, and the Tinaglias are a great example of that,” Superintendent Todd Sesker said. “Their dedication to education and our schools, and expertise in each of their lines of work, have been a great benefit to our community.”

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