In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8-12), Education Commission of the States would like to thank the teachers that we’ve known or are lucky enough to still know. This year’s theme is “Teachers Deliver” and we completely agree! These wonderful professionals taught our kids and/or us, and they inspire us every day. Please continue reading to see what some of our staff members said about the fantastic teachers in their lives. 

“I would like to thank Mr. Louie Sandoval and Mr. Paul Bettger for pushing me through high school and never giving up on me! You always made it easy to talk to you and I learned so much from both of you. You were amazing teachers and I will be forever thankful for your support. I would also like to thank the teachers at Colorado Virtual Academy for always putting their students at top priority. You are ALL amazing teachers. Your tireless efforts and constant encouragement helps so many students!”
– Melissa Aguilar

“Mrs. Munson was one of the best teachers I ever had, helping me understand the more complex components of math in 5th grade, and providing both amazing insight and an ability to help contain my extreme energy at that age. I will always remember her work to go above and beyond for so many students, and her cheerful attitude and her laugh!”
– Jeremy Anderson

“I am thankful for my son’s early learning teachers. They work endlessly, and patiently I might add, with him on important verbal and physical skills he needs to be successful in the years to come. Early learning educators across the country deserve major kudos for their work with our youngest and brightest minds!”
-Lexi Anderson, Ed.D.

“If it weren’t for Mrs. Bowman, I may never have pursued a career in public policy. She taught my U.S. government and senior independent study classes and brought our dated textbooks to life. She was a mentor, but also a friend.”
– Stephanie Aragon

“I want to thank my 2nd-grade teacher, Mrs. Dawson, for her creative, challenging and inspiring approach to helping students learn. She also taught us an important, tough and life-long lesson about racial discrimination.”
– Mary Fulton

“Without a doubt, Richard Sjoerdsma is the teacher that reshaped my life. UNK–as his students call him–helped me grow as a musician, a teacher, an administrator and as a person. Without his thoughtful, insightful and (occasionally brutally) honest guidance, I would not be the person I am today. Danke, UNK!”
– Scott Jones

“I want to thank Molly Pritchard and Jon Greenberg from The Center School for teaching me about social justice while I was in high school. I am privileged to have taken Ms. Pritchard’s Women’s Studies class, and to have learned about race, racism, social justice, politics, policy, the budget process, the legislative process, and labor history and labor laws from Mr. Greenberg. Dr. J was one of my favorite college professors, and I want to thank her for being an inspiration and an excellent professor. I learned about the 60s, social justice, culture, music and dancing from her amazing experience and knowledge. The Evergreen State College gave me a fantastic college experience, and it wouldn’t have been the same without Dr. J.”
– Kristina Mageau

“I cannot say that I have a single favorite teacher, as there were many teachers throughout my education from elementary to postsecondary that I have great respect for and will be forever thankful for teaching and showing me things that guided me to be the person I am today!

While I can go on for days about my experiences with the following eight teachers, there are a few words I would use to describe what I learned from them.
– Sara Olán

  • Ellen English from Bradley Elementary – Be patient and kind to everyone
  • Andy Hopper from Bradley Elementary – Ability to step out of my comfort zone
  • Dennis Frasco from Bradley Elementary – It is okay to be silly and laugh in public places
  • Paul Kirschling from Thomas Jefferson High School – Be addicted to traveling and seeing what the world has to offer
  • Mark Mallaney from Thomas Jefferson High School –  Enjoy other cultures and be a team player
  • Carol Krugman from MSU Denver – Always be safe and professionalism, meaning no ‘FMPs’
  • Kim Klimek from MSU Denver – History gives you the opportunity to connect with different generations
  • Andrea Peterson from MSU Denver – Creativity and critical thinking are well needed for ‘adulting’”

“Thanks to Professor Valerio Ferme at the University of Colorado at Boulder, who not only taught me Italian, but also taught me about the transformative power of failing at something—and then getting back up and tackling it again the next day. I’ll admit the Italian is now rusty but the deeper lessons live on. Grazie!”
– Sarah Pingel, Ed.D.

“Thanks for dedicating your life to helping your students achieve their dreams, Mr. McKean. As an adult, I now recognize the amount of extra time and energy you put into each one of your students. You are an inspiration to me every day, and I was so lucky to learn from such a passionate, loving teacher! Rest in peace.”
-Alyssa Rafa

“I would like to thank all the great teachers I have been fortunate enough to have crossed paths with. The impacts teachers make can all too often seem small in scale, but they matter a great deal to students who are fortunate enough to encounter these wonderful educators. They best serve as a reminder that inspiration is still possible, and making a difference in one student’s life is making a difference in the world.”
-Dave Rogowski

“’A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.’ I would like to thank Dr. Judy Marquez Kiyama for her continued support, as she has served as my graduate teacher and advisor. I, and so many others, continue to be inspired by your integrity, passion, caliber of teaching and the impacts of your research. You have played such an important role in my own personal and professional development and I am grateful to call you mentor and friend.”
-Molly Sarubbi

“Words cannot adequately describe my respect and deep appreciation for the teachers at the Montessori Academy of Colorado (MAC). Every day, they empower my kids to be independent, confident and compassionate. MAC teachers serve as role models for my kids, as well as my husband and me. They are our true heroes!”
– Sara Shelton

“Thank you, Mr. Jerry Reed, for almost 30 years of service to the Alamosa School District. The community gained so much from your positive energy and influence on students of all ages and backgrounds. Your kindness and ability to see everyone as equal brought love and hope to many young people. You made a difference and your legacy will live on. RIP (09/21/1947 – 04/17/2017).”
– Lauren Sisneros

“Ms. Brooke, my daughter’s physical education teacher at Denver Center for International Studies (DCIS) at Fairmont, is one of those teachers that makes me shake my head in astonishment. It is beyond me how she is capable of accomplishing so much for the students, the school and the community! In addition to her daily classroom responsibilities, she organizes community 5 K’s, elaborate health fairs and even published a book—featuring DCIS at Fairmont students—on the benefits of different breathing exercises. Ms. Brooke is an inspiration, a supreme teacher and a super human!”
– Amy Skinner, parent of Lucy Seaman

“Mike Sweeny, Lincoln High School (Portland, Ore.) taught me the power of ideas mixed with creativity. His devotion to learning and inspiring curiosity in his students left a lasting impression on me that continues to pay dividends big and small. He’d start each first week of the month by reading Harpers Index to us and asking us to think beyond the ‘factoid’ being reported, to question why the world as reflected in those data points was as it were, and explore our own interpretations of what those facts revealed or hid about our world. I always think of that.”
– Brian A. Sponsler, Ed.D.

“Thank you, Mrs. Collins, for believing in my kids like no one else before or since. The lessons they learned in your class—both academic and life lessons—will stick with them for a lifetime. Thank you!”
– Jennifer Thomsen

“Carlos Bentancourt was my high school British Literature teacher at Las Vegas Academy. He taught us how to find the humanity and relevance in all literature, even in stories about people long ago and far away. In his classroom, teaching was an art, and learning was personal. I still carry his directive to always (always!) ‘write it down.’ Thank you, Mr. Bentancourt, for your dedication as an educator and your willingness to teach decades of high school students about Beowulf. “
– Micah Ann Wixom

“A huge thanks to Ms. Keli Rodgers who has helped countless teenagers learn more about the world around them, and discover their place in it. By building a culture of respect, responsibility and creativity in your high school theatre program, you inspired me to pursue public service as a career, and work every day to make my community and country a better place—and of course become a lifelong supporter of the arts in education!”
– Kate Wolff 


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 PUBLISHED: May 10, 2017

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