From serving in Afghanistan to teaching in Brazil: meet Steven Miller

Hannah Masling

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Coming back to school is a big transition for just about everybody, but it can be especially tricky if you’ve spent the past three and a half years living in Brazil. New 9th grade Assistant Principal Steven Miller has done just that, and is excited to be back in the District as a member of the Wilson administration.

Miller grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and attended a large public high school—even larger than Wilson—to play golf and have a better shot at getting recruited to a D1 school. “I wouldn’t say I was the most academically minded. I got in a fair bit of trouble,” he said. 

After high school, Miller went on to attend Western Kentucky University, then lived in Florida for five years, where he decided to enlist in the military. “I just felt like it was my duty to give back a little bit and serve,” he said. 

Only one year after joining the military, terrorists orchestrated the shocking and devastating attacks of September 11, 2001. “It was surprising. When I joined, I thought there was no way anybody would attack the United States,” he said. Still shaken, Miller went to serve 15 months in Afghanistan.

In alignment with the service ideals that drew him to the military, Miller sought a career in education. “The idea of working in a cubicle terrifies me,” he said. So instead, he’s worked in schools around the globe, from Gainesville, Florida to Vienna, Virginia to Brasilia, Brazil.

Now Miller’s back in D.C., where he worked before his Brazilian adventure, and he believes that Wilson is unlike anywhere he’s worked at in ages. “This is the first really diverse school that I’ve worked at in a long time. I was seeking that out, and I’m glad to get back in that,” he said. Miller was impressed by the mingling and interaction that he witnessed during his first two days of STEP, which is a far cry from the many “one-sided” schools he’s worked at in the past.

While Miller may not have been the poster high school student, he believes that this part of his childhood immensely impacted his approach as an administrator. “It helps me understand where students are coming from, and helps me hopefully shape their decision making going forward,” he said. 

It’s important to recognize, he added, that making good grades and going to class aren’t all that highschoolers worry about. “There are many other things that a lot of students have on their minds, other than those two things. And I think that was similar for me.” 

Though it’s only the start of the school year, Miller is hopeful about what his future at Wilson will entail. “I’m hoping to learn at least as much, if not more, than what I’m bringing, because Wilson’s already a great school. I just want to see how I can maybe help it be even better.”