50 years of St. Patrick’s: Honoring The Rev. Dr. David J. Mussatti | SierraSun.com

50 years of St. Patrick’s: Honoring The Rev. Dr. David J. Mussatti

Rev. Clare C. Novak
Special to the Bonanza
As Associate Priest at St. Patrick's and Chaplain at Camp Galilee, Dave Mussatti has served God with inspiration, imagination, and humor.
Photos courtesy St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church |

Editor’s note

This is the second in a three-part series of stories about the history of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, leading up to the Silver & Gold Gala on Oct. 18.

Click here to read part one.

----------

If you go

What: St. Patrick’s Silver & Gold Anniversary, honoring the Rev. Dr. David J. Mussatti

Silver: 25 years worshiping in our sanctuary

Gold: 50 years serving Incline Village

Good as Gold: Dave Mussatti’s inspiring leadership

When: Sunday, October 18, 10 a.m. festive worship service at St. Pat’s, 341 Village Blvd.

When: 5 p.m., same day, Silver & Gold Gala at The Chateau, 955 Fairway Blvd.

Tickets: $85 person, on sale at www.TahoeEpiscopal.org

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Across their lives, most leaders compile a long resume of accomplishments. But the truly great ones also inspire a long line of followers — who carry forward their values with enthusiasm and gratitude.

This October, we recognize an outstanding man who has done both, The Rev. Dr. David J. Mussatti: Episcopal priest, educator, and community leader.

St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church asks you to help us honor Dave’s life of inspiration as we mark a major milestone: 50 years of our parish’s service in Incline Village and 25 years in our current campus. We’re inviting everyone in the Village to celebrate “Good as Gold” Dave — and this glittering anniversary — on Sunday, October 18.

Expect to see neighbors and friends who’ve admired Dave for years and want to tell you a story about how he changed their lives. His life lesson may have been in a classroom or church; at a camp or professional conference; through a sermon or a smile.

Yet it will be clear. In every sphere of Dave’s life work, across his 81 years, he’s been a consummate teacher of humility and heart, with a deep commitment to children’s welfare.

Incline Village was lucky to land Dave in 1978. As a native of Palo Alto, Calif.; distinguished graduate of San Jose State College with an M.A. in School Administration from UNR; and former Captain in the U.S. Army, Dave came to town as Vice-Principal of Incline High School.

He’d already proven his skills as a teacher of English and Social Studies at Reno High School and administrator and Assistant Principal at that city’s challenging Hug and Washoe high schools.

For the next 13 years, Dave changed the landscape of Incline schools — and schools county-, state- and nationwide — with his innovative work. After IHS, Dave was asked to open Incline’s new middle school, planning facility and staff and leading it based on a new philosophy of pre-teens’ dynamic development.

The result: one of the first secondary schools to receive a “Blue Ribbon School Award” from the U.S. Dept. of Education in 1983.

During these years, Dave somehow found time to earn his 1981 Ed.D. degree from University of the Pacific. His focus on year-round education led to his presidency and longtime membership in the National Year Round School Association.

Dave also became known as the “guru” of Nevada’s school accreditation process, guiding many high schools (including IHS) through this process. To this day, friend and former colleague John Clark says: “Dave’s kindness, professionalism, and caring for kids are well known throughout the Washoe County School District.”

“Retiring” in 1991, Dave strengthened his legacy as an educator as a Professor of Education at Sierra Nevada College. In the classroom and as Director of Student Teaching, he skillfully shared the excitement of learning with students and colleagues alike.

Reflecting on Dave’s 20 years training and mentoring teachers, Beth Taliaferro Bouchard, Professor and Chair of SNC’s Graduate Department of Teacher Education, notes: “Dr. Mussatti is a treasure to us all … He has made a positive difference to so many.”

Dave’s drive and desire to make a difference was expressed in a new, powerful way when he was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1982. Encouraged by The Rev. John Langfeldt, mentored by Bishop Wesley Frensdorff, and helped by The Rev. Jon Davidson, Dave completed his training locally and has served St. Patrick’s as an Associate Priest ever since.

His warmth and imagination as an educator are just as apparent in the sanctuary, where his teaching, preaching, and inspired prayers have touched the young and not-so-young alike.

You may read this and ask: “How has one man done all this?” Dave would surely say: “God only knows.” A humble and humorous man, he clearly expresses his attitude toward life through his loving relationship with his wife Stephanie (devoted partner and crewing agent at Argent Marine) and their four children.

And through his relationship with the many children who enjoy nature and worship God at Camp Galilee in Glenbrook, where he served as chaplain and board member for almost 30 years.

We warmly encourage everyone who’s been connected to Dave — whether as a neighbor, friend, student, camper, parent, educator, colleague, or spiritual seeker — to join us October 18.

An inspiration and leader in our church and community for over 35 years, The Rev. David J. Mussatti deserves a big celebration! Read about the legacy of community service he helped inspire at St. Pat’s in two weeks.

Rev. Clare C. Novak is an interspiritual counselor, group leader, and member of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church.. For more about us, please go to http://www.TahoeEpiscopal.org.