Karyle Miller ’12, an English major and Education Studies minor, is enjoying a sweet spot in her career. Recently honored as Mentor of the Year for Guilford County Schools, Karyle has the experience and vision to continue making a significant impact in education.
Feeling surprised and validated by the award, she says she’d like to encourage others to recognize the importance of the public education system. She invites others to consider ways they can support public schools and to advocate for public schools.
“I am a product of public schools,” she says. “I have substituted in, taught at, and worked in public schools. I want others to remember that public schools are a space for all students to receive an education. And even more importantly, public schools are a guaranteed space where every student should feel loved, safe, encouraged, and guided toward greater opportunities.”
"This job will require you to wear many hats – counselor, teacher, social worker, nurse, friend, advocate – the list goes on. However, it is totally worth it."
Putting Her Education to Work
After six years as a high school English teacher in Randolph County, Karyle took a position as a literacy coach in Guilford County, where she strategizes and collaborates with adults on best practices for students.
“I enjoy sharing information with others relating to professional development. I also really appreciate that my boss allows me to serve as an academic coach and work with students frequently – small groups, testing, homeroom,” she says. “Ultimately, my favorite part of my job is the fact that each day brings a new schedule and a new series of challenges that require me to think in ways I never have before.”
Karyle is adept at making adjustments. Growing up in a military family — her father is a Marine Corps veteran — she lived in California, Iowa, and North Carolina, spending most of her time in the Tar Heel State. On a whim, she applied to Guilford College during CFNC’s free application week. She later visited with a friend and was intrigued by the students and impressed with the faculty. Next, she visited the College with her father and was completely sold.
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During her undergraduate career, Karyle felt at home in the English and Creative Writing Department and with the English professors. She had wanted to teach English since she was young. At Guilford, Karyle was also on the Campus Activities Board, volunteered in various capacities, and was involved in a peer program that supported first-year students.
Looking Ahead — But Not Too Far Ahead
With such a promising career, one would think Karyle has aspirations for the future. Yet she claims no definitive career plans — but not without hinting at a future PhD.
“The running joke in my family is twofold – one that one day my parents will no longer get to call me Karyle and will instead have to refer to me as Dr. Miller and two, one day I will take over the world,” she explains. “This is ultimately a joke though, and while I used to know where I wanted to be in one year, then three, and ultimately five, I realized that you should enjoy the shorter, daily moments of life rather than trying to decide where you’ll spend your future moments.”
Over the course of nearly 10 years as an educator, Karyle has picked up much wisdom that she’d like to pass on to others.
“First, recognize that this is a complex, rigorous profession,” she advises. “This job will require you to wear many hats – counselor, teacher, social worker, nurse, friend, advocate – the list goes on. However, it is totally worth it. Collaborate with others, find needed resources, and practice a life of balance. You can’t be all of these things to someone else if you aren’t those things to yourself first.”
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