Meet Your Neighbor: Elizabeth Miner
Continuing our occasional series of interviews to help neighbors get to know and appreciate one another. I met with Elizabeth Miner on a brisk afternoon in her sunny front yard. That was pretty appropriate as it turns out, since she’s an outdoorsy type… she’s the physical education teacher at our own Green Gables Elementary School. Interviewed by Bruce McDonald.
Bruce: Well, I always like to start by asking how long you’ve been here in the Southern Gables neighborhood.
Elizabeth: That’s easy. We’ve been here since 2011. And are you a Colorado girl? I am now but no, I wasn’t born in Colorado. My dad was in the service so I grew up “all over.” His last assignment left us in the Washington DC area. So what brought you to Colorado? It was 9/11. That really affected me, made me want to move away from all the craziness back east. I had the idea that being out west would be ideal, and coming to Colorado appealed to my goal of pursuing an athletic lifestyle. Now I have that, both for a living and for pleasure.
OK, so the wide-open spaces and the mountains got you to Colorado. What about Southern Gables in particular? I was working downtown in what we call “the industry” – meaning the restaurant industry – for about six years before getting my teaching certificate. During that time I met my husband and we started a family. We found the area to be a convenient compromise for both of our commutes. When we found this house it seemed so nice but I came back at different times to walk around and meet the neighbors. The people I met were so friendly. That helped sell us on Southern Gables. Lots of the people we got to know first were original owners. That meant stability. We could see the mountains, and it seemed quiet and safe.
Can you tell us about any favorite memories with people in the neighborhood? I have nice memories of our kids playing so freely with others, on their bikes and running in flocks. It’s great that it’s such a safe environment. Most of my interactions with neighbors are in connection with the school, especially with parents of the kids who live here. With the nearest neighbors it’s mostly say-hi relationships but we’re there for each other. Once at 4:30 in the morning I heard wheels spinning in the snow and it was our neighbor with a low-clearance vehicle, stuck and trying to get out to go to work. I helped him get it loose. It’s the kind of thing that anyone here would do for neighbors.
How about your hobbies? Your work? For hobbies, that’s easy: the first thing is gardening. I have five garden beds on the side of the house and I put a lot of care into them. I especially like growing herbs, herbs of all kinds. I also help out with the Community Garden over at the school, and I taught a course on herb-drying sponsored by Sustainable Southern Gables. I am an avid hiker too, and I love snowboarding. I’m a really big advocate for physical education, and being able to put that into practice in helping young kids is very rewarding. It’s very different from years ago; it’s not just teaching sports and doing exercises. I don’t teach sports. I teach kids how to safely move their bodies and learn lifelong skills that will protect their health as adults.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you? In 2014 I was the State of Colorado Teacher of the Year. I’m very proud of that. I traveled to Washington DC and there were workshops and banquets and we got to meet President Obama. Together with the teachers who were nominated from all the other states we formed an advisory panel to make recommendations for improvement. The Teachers of the Year teach all subjects around the United States and the advisory panel was to make recommendations for all aspects of education. It was great to have the opportunity to represent my particular field of interest as part of the overall picture. Physical education is so important, and it takes a constant push to keep good programs in school. When things get tight financially it’s among the programs, like music and art, that tend to get cut first if we lose sight of their importance.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate a candidate for the “Meet Your Neighbor” series.