Vail native featured in Time Magazine |

Vail native featured in Time Magazine

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS Learning Palooza 2 DT 8-5-09

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – On a list of just 40 rising American political stars, two of them are familiar faces around the Vail Valley.

State Sen. Michael Johnston, 35, and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, 35, are on Time Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 list.

Johnston, the son of former Vail Mayor Paul Johnston and a Vail Mountain School graduate, has accomplished a lot in the years since he graduated high school. In addition to getting degrees from Yale University, the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Yale Law School, Johnston also served as one of three top education advisors to Barack Obama during his run for president in 2007-08.

Paul Johnston, who still lives in Vail, said the family is excited over the recent Time Magazine recognition, although the elder Johnston still hasn’t seen the article.

“We haven’t been able to get it yet,” Paul Johnston said.

Paul Johnston said his son’s path toward public service happened naturally. Mike Johnston’s parents thought it would be a gradual path toward political success and are surprised at how much their son has accomplished already.

“No way did we think it would explode the way it has, so quickly,” Paul Johnston said.

Before being appointed to the Colorado Senate, Mike Johnston was a school teacher and principal for eight years. He co-founded the Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts, an urban high school that boasts high graduation rates.

Johnston’s Colorado Senate website also states that he co-founded New Leaders for New Schools, a national nonprofit that recruits, prepares and places urban high school leaders into new positions.

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who represents Boulder and Eagle County, said he’s excited to be on the list, as well.

A Democrat from Boulder, Polis was the first openly gay freshman elected to Congress when he won in 2008,

Polis, who is running for re-election this year, is the sixth richest member of Congress, according to

Polis, also a passionate educator and philanthopist, founded the New America School, which has a location in Gypsum. The school is a charter school mainly for immigrants trying to learn and master English.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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