We all have a person who reflexively comes to mind when thinking of the teachers who inspired us, mentored us, or simply made us laugh. On National Teachers Day, we’re celebrating those people, the ones who made us look forward to school and who, as Einstein put it, first roused our “joy in creative expression and knowledge.”

When asked who their favorite teacher was, here’s what some Project employees had to say.

 

Andy Pray, founder, Praytell

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“Professors Lee Thomas and David Swartzlander. There is hardly a day that goes by when I don’t think about the lessons taught to me by these two who stuck with me from day one of my college career. Dr. Thomas taught mass communications and led the radio department, teaching with a cool, calculated demeanor that belied his incredible passion for the art of broadcasting. He could both intimidate and inspire; he was tough and gentle – a perfect mentor. Down the hall was his polar opposite in many ways, save his ability to reach students with passion and wit. Professor Swartzlander led the journalism department and his red pen became the object I feared most. It was a cause for celebration if any of my ledes survived being hacked to pieces. But his humor, patience, and celebration of a scoop inspired me from day one, and still does. Two incredible teachers, somehow tucked away in a school of less than 1,000 students in the middle of Nebraska. Here’s to that.”

Olivia Conroy, art director, School

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Mr. Colucci. He taught 11th grade math and was the instructor for a few field trips I went on in this program called “Senior Seminar.” Math was never my strong suit but I always looked forward to Colucci’s class because he made it so hilarious and enjoyable. We’re Facebook friends now.”

 

Brittany Salamone, senior account executive, Motive

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Professor Anthony Rudel. When I think of my favorite teacher, I immediately think of him. I’ll never forget being a freshman in his Public Relations 101 class, surrounded by older students and completely amazed by his vocabulary and view of current events. He was blunt, insightful, and one of the smartest people I have ever met. His mind was always moving and he instilled in all of us the lesson that ‘everything is PR.’ As a young professional, I’ve learned that he could not be more right. In today’s cultural climate, I find my mind working as his does by analyzing the news and finding the truth for myself rather than just accepting someone else’s.”

 

Fiona Bruder, svp, global account director, George P. Johnson

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Mrs. Esposito. She made all the difference in my life. As a child, I struggled in school. Nothing came easily or naturally for me, a product of my ADHD which I was then unaware of. In sixth grade, Mrs. Esposito was the first person who met me where I was and adjusted her teaching style to fit my needs. She gave me studying techniques and taught me how to break down problems in a way that made sense, and laid the groundwork for my success in high school and college. Mrs. Esposito treated me as an individual, not just another name out of 30 she had to memorize. She built my confidence, and taught me to love learning. It all goes back to her.”