Emily Miller’s grandmother always told her she should be a teacher.
Turns out grandma was on to something. Miller, an art teacher at , was recently the only teacher from the Annapolis cluster nominated for Anne Arundel County teacher of the year.
And last week she was named to the list of semifinalists when school system officials winnowed the list of 50 down to 15.
“She’s a very nice lady, but she doesn’t miss a chance to tell me, ‘I told you so,’” Miller said of her grandmother.
Miller grew up in Prince George’s County but has lived in Annapolis for about 15 years. She began teaching as a substitute at Marley Elementary School and then started as art teacher at Annapolis Middle School three years ago.
Miller will be honored along with the other nominated teachers at the 26th annual Excellence in Education banquet at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum on April 16.
The next cut will be to name the five finalists. The winner will represent Anne Arundel County in the statewide teacher of the year competition.
Miller said she tries to include a lot of “community connections” into her art lessons and strives to help her students learn how to give back to their community.
One of her classes created ceramic heart pins a few years ago when the Haiti earthquake struck. With her guidance and the assistance of , the students turned their project into a fundraiser to help those suffering.
Miller said that group raised about $1,000.
Last year, Miller’s eighth-grade class worked on a similar project to raise money for the Light House homeless shelter.
The students even visited the shelter to deliver the donation and learned firsthand about its services.
“They were really into helping the community, which I thought was really cool,” Miller said.
This year, Miller developed a digital palette class for her eighth-graders, teaching them programs such as Photoshop.
Whether teaching new artistic techniques or helping the students create something from lumps of clay, Miller said it’s great to work with her students and see what they can accomplish.
“There’s never a dull moment,” she said. “I’m never bored. The kids are great and I’m always actually excited to come to work.”