Kendra Miller is a Pre-K teacher at East Side Elementary. She has been teaching for 25 years and has been 18 years in Chandler Public Schools. Kendra helps lead the East Side Super Kids Day as well as assisting with the East Side Carnival each year. She grew up in Kansas and attended college at NWOSU in Alva.
What led you to teaching?
My mother was a first grade teacher.
Did you have any key mentors or people who influenced who you are, and/or your decision to become an educator?
Of course watching and helping my mom every day at school, and my third grade teacher Mrs. Cantrell. I loved watching her teach and getting to use a chalk holder on the board. Guess that really shows my age.
What would you say most motivates you to teach?
I love that every day is a new adventure and the students have a chance to grow and learn something new. I love when they get so excited when they have achieved mastery on something that they learn. Their smile makes it worth everything. My kids keep me going with their daily hugs and kind words.
What are you most excited or passionate about?
I love to continue learning new ways to motivate and inspire students to learn. I have always had the philosophy that I am a teacher that instructs the heart as well as the mind. I really work hard to promote a positive community learning. I tell my students the first day they are in my class that we are a new family! I love the way the students look out for each other and help each other.
What do you find most challenging about being a teacher?
Sometimes there is not enough hours in the day to do all the fun learning things that I want to do. At the preschool age many students are in different stages of learning and development. Sometimes it’s a challenge to meet each individuals needs.
What's the best thing to happen since you started teaching?
Being selected Teacher of the Year in 2007 and 2016. I also feel a sense of accomplishment when I started Bedlam Reading and the kids read 100’s of book. It is now a tradition that has lasted since 2004. I also love watching the kids and parents enjoy super kids day at the end of each school year! It’s a lot of work, but the sense of enjoyment on the kids faces makes it worth it every year! The most rewarding though I would have to say is seeing my first class or preschoolers walk across that graduation stage and now classes following them. It is such a rewarding feeling knowing that you had an influence on their educational path; even for just a brief time. I love running into former students working around town. They are so excited to tell me about their school accomplishments and their future plans. Just the other day, I had a student come find me at Walmart to tell me that she was about to finish her degree in education. I was so proud of her accomplishments. Sometimes some of my students will ask me if I am still doing a unit or making a snack that they remember! It warms my heart to know they have fond memories of East Side!
What might students and parents be surprised to know about you?
Every morning of the school year I pray, and send positive thoughts for the students and the day! On a lighter note, I enjoy summers and long walks on the beach!
What profession other than your own would you most like to attempt?
I have always wanted to be a News Reporter!
What are three things every teacher should own?
How do you narrow it down to only three? My husband says that I own so many items and that I can take anything and find a way to use it at school! But if I had to pick I would say books, sharpies, and a computer for all those amazing ideas!
Kendra was born and raised in a small rural town of Kiowa, Kansas where she attended Kindergarten through high school. She married her high school sweetheart John Miller, and they have been married for 25 years. Kendra is the oldest of three girls. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband. They go to all the home OSU football games. They also enjoy their two labs, Harley and Duncan!
Kendra says they spend lots of time enjoying our porch and swimming pool. She is very active with church and volunteering at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic church. She has four nieces and three nephews that she enjoys spending time with, and going to their activities. She loves to shop and do pedicures with friends!
In the summer she spends time with her mom, sisters and their families. They go to the beach every other year and build many fun memories together!