If you are at Stafford Elementary at about 7:15 AM don’t be surprised when you see Jason Miller greeting each student as they get off the bus. He is the new principal for Stafford Elementary.
Miller graduated from Trinity Christian High School in Cedar Hill and then went on to graduate from Texas Southern University in Houston with a degree in Administration and Justice. He then went into the field of psychology as a mental health technician and became a case worker.
When asked how he decided to become a teacher, Miller replied, “When I was a case worker I loved the job. I got the education bug when I was working in a private school that dealt with students with emotional disabilities. I saw the lack of concern in their education. When school work was handed in no one cared if it was done properly or done at all. That is when I decided to get my alternative certificate so I could make a difference. I got certified in Special Education.”
He started teaching at Robert E Lee High School in Houston in a behavior adjustment class for one year. Miller explained, “Lee is one of the larger schools in the city of Houston. We had almost three thousand students. It was more of an international school with many different languages spoken there. I learned a lot about teaching techniques dealing with many different languages,learning how to read students by body language and other tools. It prepared me for my career.”
When asked what gave him the desire to help children Miller said, “I think about some of the teachers that I had that influenced me that gave me this desire. Teachers that wouldn’t accept mediocre effort, teachers that wouldn’t accept kids acting foolish in class. My teachers always had high expectations for me and I wasn’t the best student but I was pushed to be the best. I want to do this for our kids.”
Principal Miller’s morning routine goes like this:
- 7:15 AM he is outside meeting and greeting the students that get off the bus.
- 7:48 AM he is in the gym because all the kids meet in the gym at
- 7:50. He tells the students that every day is a new day with endless possibilities. If it is Tuesday he will tell them this is going to be the best Tuesday ever, if it is Wednesday it is going to be the best Wednesday ever and on and on..
- After he is finished in the gym he walks outside and greets each child that is being dropped off by parents.
Mr. Miller explained, “I want to have a rapport with the kids. My goal is by the end of next month to know every students name in the building. I want to do this because I want to have a personal relationship with each student. That is important because I want these kids to know I care about them.”
He went on to say, “I am greeting each child off the bus to let them know it is going to be a great day. I think this is important for the kids, to feel safe. The minute I greet a student I know if they are upset, and if they are upset then they are probably not going to have a good day. But if I get to them first and let them know they are safe and we are glad they are here, sometimes it will turn their day around. I want them to know if they are hungry, we are going to feed them, you don’t have to worry that anyone is going to beat you up or bully you, you will be safe here. I don’t know how their home life is, I cannot control that but I can control what goes on at school and they will be safe and cared for.”
Attendance is going to be a big part of Principal Miller’s focus this year. He said, “I will be focusing on attendance. I want to get our numbers up. If you are in school you are going to learn. If you aren’t in school you are not learning. We will honor those kids for high attendance. I am in the business to create leaders. To be valedictorian, salutatorian it begins here in the elementary to get the basics. I am here for the whole student, academically and socially. If we don’t prepare our kids to leave Italy ISD to be successful students in the community then we have failed. Being in school and learning is the key to success. It is my job to see that these students are prepared to move on to the High School and Jr. High. The High School and Jr High has to prepare them to move into the world.”
“I think the core teachers we have here really care about the kids and their learning. The goal for this year for our students and our teachers is to really build some stability, improve academically, prepare every student to be successful, and improve community support. The teachers here at this school and in this community are here because they want to be. They are not here because they are being paid the highest salaries, they are here because they love Italy and love the students. I want to make an impact on the students lives. Teach them how to make good choices for today and their future. It is all about the kids.”