‘Never a More Important Time': Teacher of the Year

Lewisville ISD teacher Alexis Miller, 2020 Elementary School Teacher of the Year, talks about remote learning, lack of hugs

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The Lewisville ISD goes back to school Wednesday for the start of the 2020-21 academic year.

Instruction will be done remotely for the first three weeks of classes, through at least September 8, according to the district’s current Return to School plan.

The challenge associated with remote instruction of tens of thousands of students provides a unique opportunity, according to Alexis Miller, a third-grade teacher at Southridge Elementary School.

And although Miller has never attempted something like what is about to happen in her district, and in others across the country, she is clearly an expert in the subject of effective teaching and connecting to her students.

Earlier this month, Miller was named the 2020 Region 11 Elementary Teacher of the Year, which covers 77 districts and 66 charter school campuses.

“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and incredibly honored,” Miller said in a statement.

Miller noted that there is no “perfect time” to understand your purpose as an educator, but stressed that the current pandemic has helped to reinforce the message that Lewisville ISD Superintendent Kevin Rogers delivered to teachers during a recent back to school update.

“He said that there has never been a more important time to be part of public education, and I agree with him,” Miller said. “I believe that the world has really seen how much we rely on public education, and so we are going to have so many [people] looking at us for answers. We are living in such a difficult time.”

When asked what aspect of the remote learning setup has been the most frustrating in the runup to the start of school, Miller made no mention of the technology. Instead, she said it was the reality that she will not be able to hug her students; a fact that was already proven to be difficult during a “Back to School” drive-thru supply pickup event on Monday.

“That was so hard and frustrating because I miss them. We miss them. We miss them terribly, and we could not give them hugs,” Miller said about the children in attendance Monday. “And so that kind of pulled on my heart. I could see the other teachers struggling. We had our hands, we had our arms up but we could not embrace them in the way that we were used to, and so having to have that space in between us has been incredibly difficult.”

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