24 May Please Welcome Gavin Miller – Assistant Teacher at John C Little (AM) and Jefferson Park (PM)
We’re thrilled to welcome Gavin Miller to the Tiny Trees team.
Gavin grew up in Yakima where as a teen he took care of his six younger cousins. Much of his time with them was spent outdoors where he led scientific expeditions finding insects, plants and animals outside his home in the sage brush of Eastern Washington. When Gavin left Yakima for Tacoma and college at Pacific Lutheran University his love for science and teaching blossomed, leading to a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies all while still remaining deeply connected to his family and community (while in Tacoma he was a mentor for 6 other cousins).
For the last year Gavin has been a City Year corps member at Emerson Elementary in Othello/Rainier Valley where he has been teaching 3rd grade and after school programs. During his time at Emerson he has developed a deep love for the Othello community and is excited to teach at Tiny Trees and share his love for science & gardening with families from the community he lives in.
Erin (Question): “What are you seeking in your professional development at this time? And where would you like to be in the next 3 -5 years?”
Gavin (Answer): “I want to be the teacher that every parent knows in the Othello community. The teacher that shows up to every community meeting and event. The teacher that everyone knows because they had such a lasting impact on the children in their classroom, the children in their community.”
To best get to know Gavin check out the cover letter below.
Dear Andrew and Erin,
When I heard about the opening of Tiny Trees’ John C. Little preschool, I was excited both as a potential applicant, and as a member of the Othello community where I live and work. Through my work with City Year at Emerson Elementary, a Title 1 school located in the Rainier Valley, I have learned hard truths about the social and economic barriers that prevent children in my community from receiving a good education. As I cultivate deep relationships with my students, I understand that as an educator my job is not only to impart knowledge, but to encourage students through their struggles, cultivate their independence and help them explore their passions. My City Year experience was life changing and convinced me that my talents and passion would best serve my community as an educator. I see the assistant teacher position as an opportunity to continue to serve my community and grow as an educator within an organization that values holistic education.
In a third grade class at Emerson, I work closely with my partner teacher to strategize ways to divide our attention to meet the diverse needs of our students. I also co-teach and prepare small group lessons with my fellow City Year corps members in before- and after-school programming. In these spaces, I work with a culturally and racially diverse group of kids. I enjoy co-teaching because it encourages collaboration and growth as my team and I continually work to improve our sessions.
As an educator, I take pride in my ability to form interpersonal connections, stay emotionally constant and resolve conflict. I show my students respect by asking their opinions, listening, and engaging them in thoughtful conversation even when they are frustrated. This is particularly important in navigating the diverse community in which I work. I also connect with my students by being playful; one of the highlights of my day is playing games with my students at recess. Working with preschoolers, I’m sure that my playful presence will be critical in forming connections with students and encouraging their exploration and creativity.
I am excited by the prospect of working with preschoolers as they are energetic, full of curiosity, and bubbling with creativity. The preschool age is a formative time where a child’s social experience helps to shape their personality and ability to work with others. I want to help create a positive environment that will encourage the development of lifelong social skills and nurture self-confidence.
In addition to my playful nature and ability to connect with kids is my extensive knowledge of the natural world. I am fascinated with the natural world which led me to study biology/ecology and become involved with habitat restoration projects at my university. Through my restoration work, I hosted work parties to give fellow students and community members opportunities to get their hands dirty and learn about restoration work. I am also an experienced gardener with a focus on sustainable urban gardening, and I am currently involved with the Angel Morgan community P-Patch. I feel at home outdoors and I am excited by an opportunity to work outside every day. My expertise in local ecology and gardening will contribute greatly to adapting the Highscopes curriculum to an outdoor classroom.
I believe that my experiences both in education and the natural sciences will be strong assets to a preschool that promotes sustainability, environmental awareness, and empowering children through play and self-driven exploration. My personal values and passions align with Tiny Trees’ mission, and I am confident that I would thrive in the Tiny Trees environment, helping to create a fun and nurturing space for my students to learn and grow.
Sincerely, Gavin Miller