In its third year, the award is presented annually by the State Board to recognize educators who demonstrate the six pillars of good character: Respect, Responsibility, Trustworthiness, Fairness, Good Citizenship and Caring Attitude. Last year’s recipient was David R. Book, retired principal at Liberty High School.
“Character Education has become such an important part of our children’s education,” said State Schools Superintendent Steve Paine. “Mr. Miller not only teaches the six pillars, but lives them everyday and instills their lessons in the students of Roane County.”
Early in Miller’s teaching career, he realized that students required adult guidance and encouragement. While teaching in the classroom for 17 years, he stayed committed to teaching students about the six pillars of good character
His commitment to Character Education became even stronger when he was promoted to assistant principal. He developed inspirational weekly assembly programs for Walton High School’s “Responsible Students Program,” which communicated messages about the pillars of good character.
As principal, character education became his platform. He established a warm, caring environment where all would take pride in themselves and their school community. Students embraced his initiative and, in return, the school soared from “last place” to “first place” with county achievement. His highest honor was when he was asked by the final graduating class of Walton High School to be its commencement speaker.
Miller’s current position as Director of Student Services for Roane County Schools has allowed him to secure a grant making Roane County one of 23 original “Lighthouse Pilot Sites for Character Education.” He utilizes the media to get his message across by creating student radio and television messages about the six pillars. He established a countywide Character Education Cadre and with the success of the Cadre, he has instituted a student cadre to promote Character Education among teens, guaranteeing curricular integration of Character Education.
The Paul J. Morris Character Educator of the Year Award is named after the late West Virginia Board of Education Member Paul Morris, who was awarded the first Character Educator of the Year Award in 2003. As an additional honor, the award was named after Mr. Morris, who served on the State Board for nearly 25 years.
For more information about Character Education in West Virginia, contact Lisa Burton, Character Education coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Education, at (304) 588-8830.