Some of the best known are back - maths specialists Jack McConnell and Frank McAveety trying to make the numbers work in Labour's favour, with another former maths teacher, Alasdair Morgan, for the SNP.
Former education ministers Peter Peacock and Hugh Henry were returned, as was their deputy in the last administration, Liberal Democrat Robert Brown.
Nicol Stephen, the former lifelong learning minister, returns to lead the Liberal Democrats, but his former deputy, Labour's Allan Wilson, was the main ministerial casualty, losing his Cunninghame North seat by 48 votes - he is considering a legal challenge.
Liberal Democrat Iain Smith, the former chair of the parliament's education committee, returns with most of his former colleagues: Wendy Alexander, Rhona Brankin, Fiona Hyslop, Adam Ingram, Marilyn Livingstone, Frank McAveety, Kenneth Macintosh and Elaine Murray.
Mike Russell, education spokesperson for the SNP in the first parliament until his defeat in 2003 and TESS columnist, returns to the corridors of power as a list member for the South of Scotland.
Dennis Canavan, the former maths teacher and Independent MSP for Falkirk West, has retired from politics, as has Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, the Tories' former education spokesman. Dave Petrie, a former maths teacher and Highlands and Islands MSP, failed to be re-elected for the Tories.
Of the candidates featured in The TESS last month, only Elizabeth Smith, a part-time teacher of economics and modern studies at George Watson's College in Edinburgh, was successful: she has returned as a Conservative list MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife.
Gillian Cole-Hamilton, a Liberal Democrat candidate and infant teacher at St Ninian's Primary, failed in her election bids in Edinburgh East and Musselburgh and on the Lothians list; Kay Barnett, a history teacher at Fraserburgh Academy, EIS activist and member of the GTCS council, was unsuccessful; and the SNP's Marion Fellows, a West Lothian College lecturer, failed to oust Jack McConnell in Motherwell and Wishaw.