Mick Miller, the new superintendent of Walla Walla Public Schools, has gotten off to an impressive start.
Since arriving from Deer Park (outside of Spokane) in early August, Miller has spent considerable time and energy talking with and listening to folks in Walla Walla. Miller wants to understand the community's culture and the culture of its schools.
And it's clear Miller -- with a contagious enthusiasm and a philosophy built on great customer service being a top priority -- is building a foundation to lead the school district.
This week Miller completed the first of four "Patron Tours" of the district and its facilities. The tours are a terrific idea.
Miller led 15 community members on a four-hour tour that took them through Walla Walla High School and Edison Elementary School. U-B education reporter Maria P. Gonzalez went along on the tour.
"Guests learned Miller's approach to education is knowing that relationships matter, and that the memory of a good or caring teacher or staff member will stay with a child for years," Gonzalez wrote.
"‚â'This is such a people business,' he said about the education field.
"He also passed on a life lesson that he learned from his father and has always taken to heart.
"‚â'Regardless of what people do, treat them with dignity and respect,' Miller said."
From what we've seen and heard from throughout the community, Miller's words and actions are consistent with what he has been preaching since his arrival.
Miller spent considerable time at the Walla Walla Fair where he made the effort to meet the community. Many people, including parents and teachers, have said they've felt as if Miller is truly interested in what they had to say and will take their comments and concerns seriously.
It is, of course, far too early to rate Miller as a superintendent. He has a big job ahead of him.
Given the solid start, we are encouraged that Miller will build on the district's past success and continue to improve Walla Walla's schools.
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