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Holderness Central's Miller named Teacher of the Year

Holderness Central School teacher Angie Miller (right) receives a round of applause from Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry (left, at the podium) after being named New Hampshire’s Teacher of the Year Tuesday morning. (Brendan Berube) (click for larger version)
September 29, 2010
HOLDERNESS — They were respectfully quiet for the most part, but the students gathered in the Holderness Central School's gymnasium couldn't help but erupt into a cacophony of cheers and applause Tuesday morning at the news that one of the dedicated teachers they spend their days with has been named New Hampshire's 2011 Teacher of the Year.

Sixth grade Language Arts teacher Angie Miller was greeted with a standing ovation from students and fellow staff members as she made her way to the podium during a special assembly Tuesday to accept the award from Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry.

The Teacher of the Year award is given annually by the state Department of Education to a candidate, either self-nominated or nominated by a colleague, who is considered exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled; inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn; has the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues; plays an active and useful role in the community, and as well as the school; and who is poised, articulate, and possesses the energy to work under a taxing schedule.

"Selecting a Teacher of the Year is an exceptional way to celebrate the many outstanding and dedicated people teaching in New Hampshire schools," Barry said. "Angie will serve as an ambassador for all the excellent teachers in the state."

After Miller's selection as Teacher of the Year to the enthusiastic audience of middle schoolers, Barry explained that Miller has been teaching at Holderness Central for the past nine years, all the while displaying an "outstanding" level of community involvement.

"She is teaching her students life lessons in humanity," Barry said, listing some of the community service activities Miller and her students have engaged in over the years, from collecting supplies to outfit a new apartment for a local elderly woman who had previously been homeless, to holding a benefit lunch in support of victims of the Haitian earthquake, to annual "dollar scoop" ice cream socials, the proceeds from which have been sent to local homeless shelters, and even to victims of the recent Chinese earthquake.

"[Miller] has created a safe and positive classroom environment where students feel welcome, are eager to explore new learning experiences, and are willing to take risks," Barry continued.

Joking that she wasn't used to receiving a standing ovation unless it was for her singing voice, a humbled Miller said she viewed the award as positive recognition for the efforts her colleagues throughout the school, the state, and the country put forth on behalf of their students every day."

"I simply represent the professional staff that I work with," she said, crediting the "great kids" and "great administration" at Holderness Central for the role they played in helping her win the award.

Still reeling from interviews with WMUR News 9 and several local newspapers, Miller said following the assembly that she hopes to use her Teacher of the Year status to raise public awareness of the work that teachers throughout the state do.

"I think that any time teachers get positive media coverage, it's wonderful," she said.

Her commitment to community service, she explained, stems from her belief in a "classroom without walls" — the idea that students, who will one day join their local communities, should become a part of those communities as early as possible; that parents should feel comfortable entering their children's schools; that teachers should share ideas with their colleagues in the field; and that the general public should be made more aware of what goes on within the school systems that its tax dollars support.

"I try to involve the kids with their community as much as possible," she said. "I try to blur that wall."

Thanks to a burgeoning partnership between the Department of Education and the Hannaford corporation, Miller will receive a $3,000 classroom grant from Hannaford later this fall as part of Teacher of the Year status.

The designation also makes her New Hampshire's candidate for National Teacher of the Year.

Martin Lord Osman
Tiffany Eddy
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