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Education Hero: Chris Miller

Local volunteer gives of her time for her son and to create 'a strong education system'

Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The Lake Oswego School Board recently chose Chris Miller as one of the members of the new Safety and technology Advisory Committee.Chris Miller is a volunteer powerhouse.

Miller’s a married, working mom who is participating or has had a hand in just about every aspect of local education, serving on the Lake Oswego Schools Foundation board and holding a host of volunteer positions at area schools.

Though her son is now in high school, Miller, 50, shows no sign of wearying from community service. The Lake Oswego School Board recently chose her as a member of its new Safety and Technology Advisory Committee.

She said she applied for a position on the committee because she has a job that makes her a natural fit. She’s a safety management consultant with the Oregon Columbia Chapter of Associated General Contractors, and she earned a bachelor’s degree in occupational safety and health at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Miller has two key motivations for devoting her time to not only this committee but all school-related activities she’s involved in. “First, because of my son,” she said. “Second, I believe a strong education system, public or private, is a primary foundation of a strong community. The leaders we have today and tomorrow are and will be, respectively, the products of — in-part — the education they obtain.”

Miller has committed herself to multifarious groups and activities for many years. A Foundation board member from 2009 to 2014, she also was the campaign chairwoman last school year, and she has been campaign captain at Forest Hills and Uplands elementary schools.

At Forest Hills, she also served as a Parent Teacher Organization board member and auction procurement chair. The lion’s share of her involvement has centered around fundraising, especially for the Foundation.

“It’s obvious that state funding is not going to meet the education” needs we have, she said. “Therefore, when there are gaps that need to be filled, what better vehicle than the Foundation? The Foundation has a group of truly inspired volunteers who raise money to support teaching positions. The Foundation helps to keep our schools and community top-rated in the nation.”

Her advice to others who want to get involved is “to find something that interests you,” even if you’ve only got time for an hour a month. Volunteering in schools is great not only because it supports children and the community, she said, but also because it is fun and a great way to meet people.

The main reason she and her family came to Lake Oswego from Charleston, S.C., was for the “excellent schools,” Miller said.

“In Charleston, we were zoned for the school with the worst teacher, student and parent satisfaction rating in the state,” she said.

When she’s not working or volunteering in schools, Miller spends time with her husband of 19 years, Wayne, and her son and inspiration for serving schools, William, who is attending Lake Oswego High School.

By Jillian Daley
503-636-1281, ext. 109
email: jdaley@lakeoswegoreview.com
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