Updated: Mar 9, 2021
RANIA DAGHAGHELEH, Staff Writer
Sarah Miller, a teacher in the North Brunswick Township High School, has won and received the title of teacher year for the year 2020-2021. Every year the NJ Department of Education (NJDOE) sends out forms to the High School and teachers are asked to put nominations for a colleague in their school. When voting, the teachers of the school are asked to look for the qualities in their nominee such as an exceptionally skilled and dedicated educator who inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.
Nominees should demonstrate leadership and innovation in and outside the classroom, have the respect and admiration of students, parents, administrators, and colleagues, and play an active role in the community as well as the school. The nominations by the teachers around the school are then sent out to a committee consisting of previous teachers of the year, a secretary, the school’s union representative, and principal, Mr.Kneller, to be reviewed and voted on. This year Ms. Miller was chosen.
Ms.Miller herself is an Algebra II math teacher, a technology ambassador, and even has gone back to school to earn her certification to help those in ESL to succeed in math. Her colleagues have nothing but praise for her. Mr. Kneller stated, ¨Ms. Miller is a teacher who truly deserves this recognition. I have known her for the last 7 years and she is dedicated to every student in her classes. She will go out of her way to help any student, even buying school supplies and offering them to any student in the school, even if they are not in her classes.” He continued to say ¨Ms. Miller also has the utmost respect of her colleagues schoolwide, as she is one of our two technology ambassadors who is always helping our teachers navigate our new virtual world by offering support and resources. Teachers know they can reach out to her and get a response and support in a moment's notice!”
Her kindness and love for teaching have even spread to her students. Rachel Rockman, a freshman in Ms. Miller's Honors II Algebra class continued to praise Miller's ability as a teacher while expressing how her teacher is insistent on allowing her students to learn by providing her time and immediate help whenever is needed. She stated that math was made easier for her as Ms.Miller continues to try her utmost best to make class relatable and fun by adding pieces of their daily lives in her lessons.
Ms.Miller talked about her surprised reaction when she first heard that the award was going to her. She stated, “I did not think that I would be named teacher of the year. Not that I do not work hard or value what I do but this is a lifetime achievement for a teacher and I am just at the beginning of my career.” She continued to express her happiness by stating how she ¨geeked out¨ when she heard that her name was on the Route 130 board. She expressed how part of the reason she feels that she was nominated by her colleagues was because of her title, technology ambassador, and her ability to help a range of students in the ESL program. She stated that these titles and jobs allowed her to meet new teachers, colleagues, and students which in turn gave her the ability to meet and assist everyone to the best of her abilities.
Her continuous effort to help those who surround her is shown through her words as she explains that one of the other reasons she was nominated was because of her kindness and passion for her job. She talked about how taking into consideration other people and using the mentality of how I would want to be treated has allowed me to understand my students and colleagues. In the interview when asked about what she would lie to recommend to future teachers aiming to receive the title “Teacher of the Year” she stated, ¨remember what you are passionate about and why you choose to become a teacher." She continued to quote one of her colleagues, Mrs. McCarthy, explaining “always remember your teacher's heart.”