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Jayne Gibson: Lillis spreads warmth with others

Even during the cold Minnesota winter months, the community of Austin has much to celebrate!  Austin Aspires and APAC get to celebrate a Bright Spot in our community each month! These individuals or businesses demonstrate compassion, availability, support and inspiration for others. They are the individuals or organizations that make our community an amazing place for all to be!

Monica Lillis, REACH teacher at Austin High School

Ms. Monica Lillis, REACH teacher at Austin High School, was selected as January’s Bright Spot! Ironically, when the team showed up to surprise her with this recognition, she was teaching a lesson on the importance of volunteering and giving back to others! She truly models that in all facets of her life.

For the past year, Ms. Lillis and her daughter, Ava, make Thursdays a special day for many in our community. On Thumbs Up Thursday, the Lillis girls spend time together brightening the day for others! This includes leaving notes, sharing flowers or goodies, or simply being present for those in need at that time.

Ms. Lillis joined Austin Public Schools as a math teacher in 2003. After taking some time away from teaching to stay at home with her children, she returned to AHS as a REACH teacher in 2015.  She has shared that she believes teaching is filled with rewarding moments. Celebrating milestones her current students achieve, as well as watching prior students find their place in the world as successful adults, is something she appreciates about being a teacher.

The highlight of her daily life is her family. Ms. Lillis says she simply loves being a mom. She enjoys cheering her children on in their activities, staying active herself riding her Peloton bike, dining out with friends, and traveling with her husband and children.

Ms. Lillis truly is a Bright Spot to so many, not only at Austin High School, but in our community. We are grateful for all she does to make Austin brighter for so many!

Ms. Lillis, along with the Bright Spot Award winners from previous months, will be recognized at the Positively Austin Program on April 9, 2021. Do you know a Bright Spot in the community like Ms. Lillis? If so, be sure to nominate them today at

Congratulations to Ms. Monica Lillis.


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