With more than 55 years of professional experience, Sarabeth Reif Miller was a teacher at Kankakee Valley High School in Wheatfield, Indiana, from 1976 to 2010, having held the same position with DeMotte Elementary School in Indiana since 1972. Her friend Doris Myers went to the school board and got her the job, and was the one who first submitted her name to Marquis Who’s Who in 1984. Prior to obtaining these roles, she was an office employee at Hannon’s from 1969 to 1972 and at Jasper County Co-op from 1965 to 1969. Earlier in her career, she was an office employee at Little Company of Mary Hospital and Home from 1960 to 1965 and Porter County Herald from 1954 to 1955. Ms. Miller has received such accolades for her work from 4-H and the National Gallery of Art, and was a Lilly Endowment fellow.
Ms. Miller grew up and still lives within the Kankakee River Valley of Indiana, one of the last big hunting grounds in the United States. Many famous Americans, including several U.S. presidents, have hunted there and this was the history she was surrounded with growing up. She can still recall a time back when she was 14 when there was no electricity there, and Ms. Miller is amazed at how far things have come and how far they will still go.
Ms. Miller began her career as a student at Valparaiso University in Indiana, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1972. She continued her studies with the school, earning a Master of Arts in liberal studies in 1977. She has also completed postgraduate coursework with Purdue University, Indiana University, the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Indiana State University and St. Joseph University. Ms. Miller was interested in education because her mother, Eva Margaret, was a teacher at boarding and public schools. Ms. Miller has been featured in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in the Midwest and Who’s Who in the World. Now retired, she enjoys spending time with her family, which includes six children, 18 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Additionally, Ms. Miller is a follower of Jesus Christ, and believes his love and care can be passed onto people. With that in mind, she is most proud of the feeling that she did pass on a way for young people to accomplish something for themselves. She wants people to keep trying and persevere. Ms. Miller also volunteers at the Women’s Association at her church, where the members make crafts to sell during Christmas; they later use that money for church projects. She has been doing that many years, starting from August to December.
Outside of her profession, Ms. Miller’s favorite hobby to do is a tie between ceramics and photography. She also once belonged to a ceramics club. Dorothy Myers, a painter who was five years older than her, helped get her a job as a teacher. Described as “a go-getter,” Ms. Myers pushed her beyond her boundaries, an invaluable lesson that she would later pass on to her own students.
The factors or attributes that Ms. Miller feels have played a role in her success as an educator is that she wanted to be able to have an income, partially to make ends meet for her family. While she was earning an income, at the same time, she provided her students with a sense of accomplishment. In addition, other factors were to help children achieve greater things in their lives so they would not have to struggle as hard as she did. Ms. Miller took things one day at a time and when times were tough, she drew inspiration from watching her students grow.