In part one of this two-part interview, Brenda Bilal discusses her experience with open education in the Charlotte Mecklenburg school system. Ms. Bilal describes open education as a method that gives students the opportunity to think creatively, make their own choices, and collaborate with others while following an individual educational path. She praises the open education system in Charlotte for its ability to cultivate diversity, and emphasizes the close connection between home and school life. Ms. Bilal conveys her belief that all students could benefit from an open education experience. In reflecting on college level education, Ms. Bilal discusses how learning communities in universities (programs that provide students with a community-based interdisciplinary approach to education) in many ways parallel open education. She concludes by describing the culture of mutual support, both academically and socially, that an open school education provides.