Gretchen Oltman is the 2012 Mom Congress Delegate for Nebraska. She is a mom, attorney, author, and educator. Gretchen works as a graduate program administrator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and as a faculty lecturer at the University of Nebraska and Concordia University-Nebraska. She has an extensive background in education from teaching high school English to helping teachers earn their masters degree in graduate-level education courses. Oltman holds a Ph.D. in Educational Administration, a law degree, and a Master of Arts in Teaching. Her first book dealing with school violence issues was published this summer.
What book is currently on your nightstand? Bossypants by Tina Fey
One thing that is going great in education in your state: Our students excel in the midst of budgetary pressures. Teachers refuse to let shrinking budgets compromise classroom instruction.
One thing you wish could be improved in education in your state: Increase our national standing in teacher pay rankings.
Your favorite teacher (and why): My favorite teacher was high school creative writing teacher, Deborah McGinn. She was engaging and thoughtful. She encouraged me to write to find my own voice. She allowed me to make mistakes and move forward. Her classroom was warm and welcoming, as was she. She was soft-spoken and introspective. She was simply a lovely person who cared about me.
Secret indulgence: Watching reality TV
Favorite quote: “I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” – Bill Cosby
Favorite subject in school (and why): English. Writing allowed me to express things I was unable to say. It was a lifeline for me.
Biggest wish for your kids: To be loving, kind, and persistent.
Most rewarding/challenging stage of parenthood thus far (and why): Having a child who can read is amazing. For years we worked with our preschool child on letters, sounds, and putting it all together and then one day, like magic, she began to read (it was inevitable – she’s in Kindergarten, after all). But it was still amazing. It was years of hard work that suddenly had feet and began to walk and then run. Now the world has opened up new and fascinating ideas to her and she is learning through reading.
Favorite family activities: Going to the park or zoo, playing outside together, and watching movies together.