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Education Awards: Miller, party of 2

Posted on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 10:59 pm

Michael Miller

Natalia Miller

By Ken Jackson
Staff Writer

Fifth-grade teacher Michael Miller and paraprofessional Natalia Miller were named the Osceola School District’s 2018 Teacher of the Year and 2017 School-Related Employee of the Year at its annual awards banquet Thursday at Osceola Heritage Park hosted by the Education Foundation — Osceola County.

The Education Awards event is held annually to recognize and show appreciation to the outstanding educators and school district employees of the Osceola School District for their dedication to our community’s children.

The Millers (unrelated) were selected from among ten finalists for both awards.

Michael Miller teaches at Kissimmee Elementary School, and many of his students are Exceptional Education students (ESE) and English Language Learners (ELL).

According to a district press release: “Mr. Miller takes the time to form real supportive relationships with his students. He shows that he believes in them as he guides them along their paths of learning. He has earned a perfect 4.0 score on the student achievement portion of his annual evaluation for the last five years.

“His students come into his class at a level 1 or 2 on standardized assessments, and by the end of the school year, they are scoring at a level 3 or higher. His success in student growth is due to his high expectations and data driven instruction. Overall under his leadership, the fifth grade mathematics teachers at Kissimmee Elementary have seen large growth in the number of students who are proficient and who are making learning gains in their academic achievement.”

In 2016, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recognized Miller for his achievement gains with English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students.

“It is Mr. Miller’s passion to ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn and to reach their maximum potential no matter what they have faced in their young lives,” said Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace.  “I am extremely proud to have him represent the many outstanding educators here in our county.”

He is now in the running for the Florida Department of Education/Macy’s 2018 Teacher of the Year judging in April. His wife, Amy Miller, math and science coach at Kissimmee Elementary, was last year’s Osceola Teacher of the Year, and was one of three finalists for the state award.

Natalia Miller, a paraprofessional at Michigan Avenue Elementary School, has been selected as the 2017 School-Related Employee of the Year for the Osceola School District in recognition of her tireless efforts in assisting students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) throughout the day.

The district said she was nominated for her “enthusiasm, her passion for meeting the educational needs of students, and her sincere interest in and concern for the children are infectious and make her a true asset to the school system.

“Ms. Miller shows dedication to her job responsibilities and profession as she expertly manages the sometimes challenging student behaviors associated with ASD. She independently structures her classroom in a way that facilitates the necessary accommodations for all students to succeed, and she teaches all students to strive for excellence, to love learning, and to respect each other … In order to make an even greater impact on students and learning in the years to come, it is Ms. Miller’s goal to complete a degree in Education, a journey which is inspired by the recent passing of the ASD teacher she worked with at Michigan Avenue Elementary.”

She will be nominated to the Florida Department of Education for consideration for the State’s 2017 School-Related Employee of the Year Award.

Check the News-Gazette next week for in-depth features on the two award winners.