teacher Sarah Miller is one of four Utica Community School teachers to be honored with Macomb County’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award.
Miller, a ninth-grade English teacher, along with Browning Elementary School teacher Dayna Thompson, Henry Ford II teacher Kristi Black and National Board Certification Winner Theresa Hasenauer, were acknowledged at Monday night’s UCS Board of Trustees meeting.
Shelby Junior High School Principal Matt Young said Miller’s compassion and ability to motivate students sets her apart from most teachers.
“I can talk to any one of her 150 students she has this year and they would run through a wall for her because she sets high expectations and standards for her students and they perform for her,” said Young.
In fact, to foster the student’s ownership and responsibility from the moment they step foot in her class, Miller asks the students to help create the classroom rules and learning expectations for the year.
“I've worked hard to find a balance in my approach by using strategies in the classroom that help to shape kids both academically and personally," Miller said.
Also in the beginning of the year, Miller has the students trace their footprints and arrange it around the quote, “A journey of 1,000 miles begins with one single footstep.”
“It’s not just my job to teach them English but lessons that extend beyond the classroom,” she said.
Miller, who studied at Central Michigan and Wayne State universities, said her favorite part of teaching English is to foster her students' creativity and allow them to draw from their experiences to interpret literature.
“One of my favorite parts of teaching English is that you can bring 30 kids in the same room, they can read the exact same thing and have 30 different interpretations. I try to help the kids see how valid their points are and the fact that every kid brings something different to the table,” said Miller.
Miller grew up in Clinton Township and graduated from L'Anse Creuse. She now lives in Waterford with her husband.