John Putnam taught mathematics in Glenwood Springs and Colorado Springs, Colorado, for 31 years. Upon retirement, he taught mathematics at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley for 8 years. John and his wife Ardyce met in freshman calculus class in 1959 and have been married for 56 years. John & Ardyce enjoy traveling to visit children and grandchildren. He is hopeful that the Milken Educators of Colorado will find a way to form a vibrant network to keep alive the Milken dream in Colorado. He misses the great people of the Milken Family Foundation.
You are joining an extraordinary group of people who put into action their belief that the future belongs to the educated. You have changed lives and will continue to so long as you keep the same course. You may think that it is amazing that you have received an award you didn't apply for but you should be aware that your efforts have not been overlooked by people who value great teaching. Your honor reflects on your school and community so expect to grow professionally in your bright future.
Although I am retired, I keep a strong interest in mathematics contests which challenge young people to improve their mathematical knowledge through competition. The present emphasis on state-wide testing of mathematics achievement has taken the attention of students and teachers from the lofty heights of math. State curricula form the floor of education, not the ceiling. However, the preparation of teachers at the university level is little changed from the pre-Standards Era. Preservice teachers should take a minimum of three Mathematics courses to learn the mathematics required of elementary students in the 21st century. The present practice of having elementary school math majors having to take Calculus as an entry course is outdated and blocks the entry into education of many talented teachers who enjoy math and want to teach it.