AMTA Announces Perlinski & Polseno Awards Recipients

The American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®) congratulates Winona Bontrager as the fifth recipient of the Diane Polseno Lifetime Achievement Award and Jeffrey Montoya as the 2019 recipient of its Jerome Perlinski Teacher of the Year Award. 

Diane Polseno Lifetime Achievement Award

Winona Bontrager is a longtime AMTA volunteer, having served as its national President and a member of the Board of Directors from 2009 to 2015. She has represented AMTA in innumerable positions, including as its representative to the Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium. In 2017, AMTA presented its new Trailblazer Award in her honor. Winona is also the founder and president of the Lancaster School of Massage in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Nominations for her to receive the Diane Polseno Lifetime Achievement Award, include tributes such as, “Winona has always been one to recognize innovation or opportunity to better serve all of our AMTA members, including students, schools, and practitioners.” “Her educational contribution to massage therapy is unparalleled. She is brilliant in our field!” “… she continues to be a leader at the AMTA School Summit, she helped to create questions for exams for the NCBTMB, she worked closely with the Massage Therapy Foundation and AMTA in creating documents that they still use today.” And, “She is a connector, a builder of relationships, a woman who reaches out to others in every aspect of her life.” 

In October 2012, AMTA announced the creation of this Lifetime Achievement Award in the name of the late Dianne Polseno, because she was such an inspiration to educators, students and practitioners over her lifetime. The award is to honor excellence for a person’s body of work in the advancement of massage therapy education.  Winona Bontrager is the fifth recipient of this award. 

Jerome Perlinski Teacher of the Year Award

Jeffrey Montoya teaches at the Institute of Beauty and Wellness & Aveda Institute in Madison, Wisconsin. In 2016, Jeffrey and three of his students were awarded the Aveda Institute Power of Touch Award for living the Aveda mission to “care for the world we live in” and “give back to society” using massage. Those who nominated him for the award describe his passion for the massage therapy profession and the excitement and joy he brings to teaching anatomy and physiology classes. “He is innovative, generous and passionate about the various things he does to contribute to massage education and the massage profession.” “He consistently exceeds expectations in and outside of the classroom by mentoring students as a professional through each students’ career path.” “He is always sharing new techniques and giving feedback on my massages. Jeffrey makes sure I’m staying balanced in massage and life. He really and truly has been a blessing in my life as a teacher, and is the drive for everything that makes me a massage therapist.”

Each year, AMTA presents the Teacher of the Year Award to an instructor in an AMTA member school who demonstrates exceptional teaching abilities and a commitment to high standards of education in massage therapy.  This award honors the memory of Jerome Perlinski, an extraordinary educator and much-loved leader.

“We are delighted to recognize Winona and Jeffrey for their outstanding contributions to massage therapy education,” says AMTA President Christopher Deery. “Their demonstrated commitments to the advancement of our profession clearly represent the reasons AMTA created these important awards.”  

Both recipients will receive their awards at the AMTA National Convention this August in Indianapolis.  

About the American Massage Therapy Association

The American Massage Therapy Association, the most respected name in massage therapy, is the largest non-profit, professional association serving massage therapists, massage students and massage schools. The association is directed by volunteer leadership and fosters ongoing, direct member-involvement through its 51 chapters. AMTA works to advance the profession through ethics and standards, the promotion of fair and consistent licensing of massage therapists in all states, and public education on the benefits of massage.