When I was a kid, I wanted to be ... a professional swimmer. I've always loved being in and around the water. I swam competitively and was a lifeguard.
What would you rather be doing right now? Lying on the beach, listening to the waves, reading a good book, soaking up the sun.
Shhhhhh! Don't tell anyone that ... public speaking scares me ... a lot!
Other than your wedding day and/or the birth of your children, what was your proudest moment? Accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior many years ago.
It really stinks when ... I put something where I won't lose it ... and then can't remember where I put it.
What words in the dictionary would your face be next to? Observant, listener, diplomatic.
I always laugh when ... our son Brian is around. No one makes me laugh like he does!
Invite any three people, living or dead, to dinner. Who are they? My mother, my father and my husband. My mother passed away before we married. I'd love for Jerry to know her. It would be a lovely dinner.
At the end of a really long day at work, I like to ... if it's pool weather, get in the pool. If it's not pool weather, I'll be reading.
People who knew me in high school thought I was ... a good student.
My most unforgettable brush with greatness was with ... Mia Hamm, professional soccer player, and Arne Duncan, U.S. secretary of education.
I would drop all my plans tonight if I had the chance to ... go to the beach with my family.
If someone gave me a million dollars, there is still no way I would ... sky-dive.
America should be more concerned about ... education. We must equip our future leaders with an education that prepares them for the next steps in life.
I'm OK if there's ever a national shortage of ... snowmen. It's fun to decorate with them.
When I'm on the Internet, I always go to ... check email and Facebook.
What is the most useful piece of advice you have ever received? "If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all." My dad lived it. I'm not as successful.
When I'm cruising down the road, I'm likely listening to ... country music or talk radio.
I always get sentimental when ... I look at photos of my children when they were young. Sleep-deprived parents don't realize how fast their children will grow up.
The older I get, the more I realize ... kindness is the best way to handle most every situation.
If I had one "do-over," I would ... no do-overs. Any mistakes I've made have strengthened me to get to where I am now.
My favorite item of clothing is ... a well-worn MICHIGAN nightshirt. It's comfy.
If I've learned anything at all ... it's nice to be important, but it's far more important to be nice.
Valarie Bordenkircher, 57, grew up in Hannibal, Mo., and graduated from Culver-Stockton College. She has worked in special education for the Quincy Public Schools for 19 years and is president of the Quincy Federation of Teachers. She has been married to her husband, Jerry, for 35 years, and they have two grown children.