What's your best memory of elementary school? Friendships.
It's your first exposure to all types of people, to different ways of thinking. It's your first interaction with community.
Who was your favorite teacher? Mr. Brown, my gym teacher; Mr. Stone, my sixth-grade teacher; and Mr. Christiansen all District 11 teachers.
Describe your best-ever field trip. High Trails, a weeklong public-school camp in Black Forest where we learned how to identify flowers and berries and make things out of organic matter.
How does public education today differ from yours? Teachers today have to deal more with non- education issues the whole child, not just the academic part. Also, class sizes are far larger now than when I was in school.
High school teacher
How does public education today compare to the one you had? I went to both public and private schools, and I was also home-schooled, so I saw the whole spectrum. Public education is a lot more rigorous today. More is demanded of kids, and there's less chance to explore. In home-schooling, I got to do things like make butter and cheese from milk. I got to read a lot more widely and memorize lots of poems and songs.
Who was your favorite teacher? Miss Anderson, in first grade. She was full of energy and I could tell she really liked us, so I really wanted to please her.
What's the key to getting kids excited about school? Making them see that it's relevant to their world, that it shapes them into who they're going to be for the rest of their lives.
Human resources professional
Do you recall a favorite teacher? My second-grade teacher, Miss Mellema. She was young, brand-new to the school, cute and blonde. I had a huge crush on her.
Describe your best field trip. We went to someplace in the mountains for the weekend. I got kicked in the stomach by a horse, but it was fun.
How does elementary education then compare to now? Kids have tons of homework now. Their backpacks are bigger than they are. It's way more structured, with way higher expectations, and parents are a lot more involved.
Would you change anything about the way school was back in your day? We'd start foreign language- learning a lot earlier, like they do now.