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Meet Amanda Miliner, Georgia's 2015 Teacher of the Year

As she spoke to reporters just after finding out she was Georgia’s 2015 Teacher of the Year, Amanda Miliner told a story that’ll tell you everything you need to know about the kind of teacher she is.

When she was named Miss Georgia in 2006, Miliner had just received a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. She’d felt the pull of the classroom early on, knew she wanted to be a teacher.

During her year as Miss Georgia, Miliner worked to raise awareness of the benefits of mentoring programs. In the year following, she spent time traveling and working in entertainment.

But something was missing.

That pull, that drive to be in the classroom, to work directly with students and to shape and to teach – she felt it everywhere.

“I would go to the grocery store and see things that would be perfect for ​a class,” she said, as the reporters around her transferred her words to their notepads. “Like, plastic eggs? That would be great for a grammar activity.”


So Miliner – now a fourth-grade teacher at Mille​r Elementary in Houston County – followed that pull. Off to the classroom she went, and it’s where she has stayed.

“I felt like something was missing,” Miliner wrote in her Teacher of the Year application, describing that time in-between. “I enjoyed what I was doing, but felt empty. I quickly realized that in order for me to feel genuinely happy, I needed to go back to my dreams of being an educator, where I felt most fulfilled in life.”

Miliner is a product of public education, a military child who found constancy in relationships with her teachers. In 2006, she became a first-generation college graduate and, in 2011 and 2012, respectively, she became the first member of her immediate family to earn master’s and specialist’s degrees.

“With education, I’m optimistic,” Miliner told reporters. “I’m a product of it.”

Miliner’s math Early Intervention Program classes have consecutively had 100 percent pass rates on the math portion of the CRCT. She is, her principal wrote in a recommendation letter for the Teacher of the Year program, “the epitome of what all educators need to be”.

But ask Miliner what she’s proud of, and she’ll point to something outside of those accomplishments.

“I am most proud of the fact that I can stand before my students as an example of what hard work and determination can do,” she wrote in her Teacher of the Year application. “I also am proud to stand before my peers as a proud educator who is blessed to work in a profession where each day is meaningful and relevant.”

As Teacher of the Year, Miliner will be an advocate. She’ll be a voice for others like her, teachers who daily choose the classroom because it’s where their passion lies – teachers who felt that call deep inside them, and heeded that call, and stayed.​