Treating Aspen teachers like rock stars |

Treating Aspen teachers like rock stars

Dear Aspen Education Foundation board, Ms. Potamkin, Mr. Butera and Ms. Bedingfield,

I am writing with this love letter to thank you for all you do for our schools — especially for our educators.

Like each of us, I am the beneficiary of fantastic teachers and mentors who had an impact in my life. And like many, decades later I can still remember their names, going all the way back to Mrs. Baird in second grade at Lincoln Elementary. I hail from a family of teachers: I am a granddaughter, sister and wife to educators. (Aspen High School science teacher Marc Whitley is my husband.) And we have two kids in the Aspen School District who have had outstanding educational experiences at the hands of the talented teachers at their three schools to date: Aspen Elementary, Aspen Community and Aspen High.

You could say I have a soft spot for educators. So I must thank you for treating teachers like rock stars at this weekend’s Flamingo fundraiser. The scope and scale of your gratitude and support — from the pre-cocktail reception, to the laudatory speeches (speaking directly to how much their work matters), to funding their wish lists and grants, to the Kellie Schenck Awards, to acknowledging that they make “life-changing opportunities possible” on your home page — is nothing short of remarkable.

Because this just doesn’t happen in the larger American culture, education is not a status profession. And nowhere in our country is it a well-remunerated one. One look at Colorado’s state ranking for education tells the story of the value this otherwise progressive state puts on education.

Thank you for saying with your actions, “That’s not good enough for them — and it’s not good enough for our community.” Thank you for being the change. Thank for celebrating, valuing and validating educators. Thank you for creating the Oscars of education for all of us to enjoy.

Lara Whitley