We are always learning and evolving. Seek out mentors for all aspects of your life. Cultivate and cherish these relationship because they will enrich both the teacher and the student.

I have been extremely blessed with wonderful teachers and mentors. I cannot hope to build a fun site, dedicated to the learning of optics without acknowledging these giants. If I have left anyone out, please forgive me (and tell me:)

Rick Juergens: Taught me the power of Code V and macro programming. Taught me diffractives.... I should stop now... it will go on forever
Also showed me  how to laugh and enjoy optics.... with jokes that shouldn't be shared here:)
Dr. John Greivenkamp: Developed my intuition and understanding of first order optics and aberrations
Dr. José M. Sasián: Taught me that mathematical modelling of aberrations is a rich and fun field.
Daniel Vukobratovich: Taught me that opto-mech is hard and I don't know what I'm doing there.
Dr. Roland Shack: Taught me to LOVE y-ybar. Oh and taught me some aberrations too:)
Paul Manhart: Taught me how to project my proffesional personality: be confident. At first I thought he was telling me to be arrogant.
But now I see he was teaching me to advocate my skills and contributions to an organization.
Oh and he taught me how to mult-config pupil & image space for a better optical system... oh and AGRINs.
Dr. Angus Macleod: Optics is very easy to understand and intuitive in nature. A giant of a man with a gentle and straightforward teaching spirit
Dr. Mike Nofsziger: Provided countless hours of having fun with optics hardware in a dark room.
Showed me how to quickly align a spatial filter and other optical alignments
Sorry Mike, I probably lost those skills since I sit behind a computer now :(
Dr. Eustace Dereniak: taught me first order optics and the value of a hard work
Jim Tingstad: A bearded ogre who taught me when to be assertive and strong in my career.
Also taught me that no analysis, report or other technical busy work is ever "beneath me"
Dr. Dean McKenney: Taught me that the world of optics cannot be understood through a computer simulation
You need to use your head and equations before you step near a computer
Peter Wheel: Showed me the power of nomographs for clarifying seemingly complex systems
Richard Paiva: Anything worth doing is worth doing right. And fully documenting.
Tom Mitchell. Taught me optical system engineering and modelling. 
And Solidworks. And to appreciate Zemax glass sub and the hammer
Also has showed me how scary and exhausting it is when a single engineer can do it all:
System engineering, optics, electronics, programing, mechanics, program management, hardware integration.
Rich Pfisterer: Taught me stray light processes. Also gave me insight into my personality by showing me the Meyers-Briggs personality test.
Dr. Scott Mendenhal: 
Dave Wickholm: Taught me that lens design is so fun, that it can be addictive.
Bob Fischer: Taught me how complicated optical configurations are really sub components that are rationally put together.

Indirect coaches (via text books):
List shall continue

Jerry Snook: A great podcaster and communicator. Inspired me to want to podcast
Lessah Ismorah; Taught me that podcasting doesn't have to be tight and controlled. Editing is a liberating thing!

Video editing
Todd Sierer

Life coaches
Erin Sparrold. My wife and best friend. She gives me love, strength and companionship and empowers my love of optics.
Len and Noreen Sparrold
David Dent: Has provided years of good advice. My best friend (besides my wife). I am not the only guy who will say that.
Andy Tofel: Died of colon cancer, February 2011. 
A very dear friend who taught me to go down fighting and how to actually enjoy it through the power of Jesus Christ.
Liz Kislik; Taught me that I have the power to be happy no matter what the circumstances
Juanita Ecker Etiquette? Who thought I could actually be taught that?

Indirect mentors:
Stephen Covey
Tony Robbins
Rhonda Byrne
Stuart Smalley (but not Al Franken)
Jim Carrey: Taught me that social unacceptable behavior is hilarious

Also see my optics realm development blog for a list of teachers who taught web development and programming through the web!