Heidi Miller, assistant principal of Rum River Elementary in Andover, is Minnesota’s 2022 National Association of Elementary School Principals National Outstanding Assistant Principal.
The award is presented by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association and the National Association of Elementary School Principals. The National Outstanding Assistant Principal program was established in 2011 to honor assistant principals who are doing a superb job in their roles.
Lynn Shereé Lesmeister, a kindergarten teacher at Rum River Elementary, singled out Miller’s dedication and attitude as some of her greatest strengths.
“I have been an educator for over 30 years and I have never experienced someone in her position with such a combination of professionalism, drive, and warmth,” Lesmeister said in a statement. “She radiates positivity.”
Miller considers collaboration to be one of her best practices as an educator.
She said staff groups meet weekly to analyze student data and have open conversations about what is and isn’t working and to create an action plan.
“Establishing vulnerable and supportive teams throughout our school sets the tone of our school’s positive culture and happy staff morale,” Miller said in a statement.
Miller attributes improvements in academic achievement, staff morale and decreases in undesirable behaviors at Rum River to this collaborative practice.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Miller recognized the major shift taking place in her school and took the opportunity to build practices that would support the entire school community.
“I worked with my teachers to ensure that their needs were met, that they felt supported and cared about and that we were able to successfully move forward as a united team,” Miller said in a statement.
She considers shifting the educational practices at Rum River while protecting its vibrant school atmosphere to be one of her greatest accomplishments.
“Dr. Miller has a clear vision of excellence in teaching and learning and is able to convey this vision to staff members, students, and parents in a positive and collaborative manner,” Jeffrey Clusiau, principal at Rum River Elementary said in a statement.
He praised her balanced leadership and holistic approach to her job.
“She provides consistent and fair leadership to staff members while supporting the mission of the school and school district by taking on a wide range of duties and responsibilities within the school,” he said in a statement.
Miller has been working in education for more than 10 years, serving as a classroom teacher, literacy specialist and administrative intern before becoming assistant principal of Rum River Elementary in 2019.
After completing her bachelor’s degree at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Miller received both her master’s degree and educational doctorate from Bethel University in Arden Hills.
“I am honored and humbled to be the recipient of this award,” Miller said in a statement. “This recognition would not be possible without my school’s dedication, determination, and grit. Together, we are all committed to educating our students and meeting their needs.”