PCHS teacher Joe Miller recognized by Gov. Mike DeWine

Apr 30, 2024 | Featured, Schools | 0 comments

Joe Miller meets with Governor Mike and Fran DeWine under a photo of Oliver Hazard Perry at the Ohio Statehouse on April 10. (Submitted photo)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

In October, Port Clinton High School (PCHS) English teacher, Joe Miller, was honored as the Region 2 Teacher of the Year by the Ohio Department of Education. The recognition provided Miller with unexpected opportunities to promote the teaching profession and opened the door to three invitations to connect with Governor Mike DeWine. Most recently, Miller and other Teacher of the Year award recipients were recognized by DeWine during the governor’s State of the State address on April 10.

Miller had the opportunity to meet with DeWine before the speech. During the governor’s address, which was held in the House Chamber, he asked the Teacher of the Year award recipients to stand up. In a room so often filled with dissention and disagreement, the group received a standing ovation across the crowd. The unexpected unity impacted Miller.

“That was one of my favorite moments. Everyone supported us and gave us a standing ovation,” Miller said. “That is the part I will never forget.”

In December, Miller and the other Teachers of the Year were invited to the Governor’s Mansion for a Christmas party. Two months earlier, in October, they were invited to the mansion for a discussion with DeWine about education.

“He didn’t promote it. He just met with us and asked us what we needed from him,” Miller said.

Joe Miller was named the Region 2 Teacher of the Year in October. The recognition opened doors for him to better promote the field of teaching. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

Miller was surprised and grateful to see the fruits of that conversation verbalized in DeWine’s State of the State address.

“Eighty percent of his speech was about education. A lot of what we talked about was in his speech,” Miller said. “He listened to us. It was cool to get that validation.”

Prior to the speech, Miller recognized a familiar face behind the scenes at the Statehouse: Ottawa County Job & Family Services Executive Director Stephanie Kowal, who was also honored by the governor. Kowal and other leaders connected to the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Ottawa, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties were recognized for their innovative work in foster care.

“The governor only recognized two groups that day – the teachers and the foster care workers – and two of those people were from Ottawa County,” Miller said.

Miller is grateful that the Teacher of the Year award has given him a louder voice to support teachers across the state.

“It’s reenergized me. My job is to promote and elevate the teaching profession as much as I can,” he said. “I didn’t realize I would have so many opportunities so quickly.”

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