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Meet the Millers: Husband &amp Wife Team Up to Teach

Clint & Liz Miller

The long and winding road Clint and Liz Miller have traveled during 23 years of marriage and their teaching careers led them right across the parking lot from one another.

Both are middle school principals in Little Elm, Texas — Clint at Lakeside Middle School for seventh- and eighth-graders, Liz at the Colin Powell Sixth Grade Center. And both of them earned their Master of Education in Educational Administration degrees online from Lamar University.

“We never thought that we would be leading in our community this way, side by side,” Liz said. “We’ve sacrificed in some ways as a family, but the blessing and the benefits have far outweighed any [sacrifices] that we’ve made. It’s changed us as people, it’s changed our relationship, and it even made our marriage stronger. Not only [are we] working together, but we live life together, we raised three children together, we invest in our community together to help make a difference. It’s a very unique dynamic that probably a whole lot of people don’t get to experience.”

Keeping Moving Companies in Business

The Millers met at McNeese State University, in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Clint, who is from Killeen, Texas, was playing football for the school, while Liz was getting started in higher education in her hometown. After graduation, Clint began coaching football.

Once they were married, Clint’s coaching career led them to several stops across their home states. Liz also taught, mostly at elementary schools, as they went from Jennings, Louisiana, to College Station, Texas, to Killeen, and then to Joshua, Texas, before settling in Little Elm seven years ago, which is the longest they’ve stayed anywhere.

“As a coach, you move around quite a bit,” Clint said. “I kind of get bored after I’ve been in a place for a couple of years, so when new opportunities are presented to me, I tend to jump on them.”

The stability of staying put has been important for the whole family. The two eldest Miller kids, Grace, 16, and Faith, 14, are in high school. The youngest, Luke, 10, is currently in elementary school.

“I know for me, as an administrator, I have a whole lot more time for my family than I did when I was coaching and teaching,” Clint said. “Our son wants me to get back into coaching so I can coach him, but I think overall they like us being administrators.”

New Career Courses

The Millers both started their online degrees at the same time, but they quickly realized it was too difficult for both of them to balance work, school and three young children — especially since Clint was coaching at the time and looking to become an athletic director.

“I was finishing up and was going to be done with my master’s in May,” Clint said. “Our HR director called me in one day and just started talking to me about my career goals. She told me there was an assistant principal position opening at the middle school she thought I’d be a perfect fit for. That was kind of how I took that change of direction.”

Clint started his job as principal the month after he finished his degree, in June 2011. Although she had thought about becoming an administrator, Liz wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do with her master’s degree.

“I was 27,” she said. “I thought at that time I wanted to be a school principal, be in administration. But once you have kids and a family “¦ I wasn’t exactly sure where I would go. I just knew that I wanted it to further my education; I felt like it would make me a better teacher. I thought, if nothing else, I’ll do that and support Clint and be there for my kids.”

Liz wrapped up her degree in August of 2014. She started as an assistant principal the following month.

Multitasking

Earning their degrees online was the only viable option for the Millers, but both Clint and Liz enjoyed the experience and where it landed them in their careers.

“I love the way the program was structured,” Clint said. “I was a teacher and a coach, working 80-90 hours a week and raising three kids below the age of 10 when I started. There is no way I could have handled more than one class at a time.

“I usually spent about 15-20 hours per week on my studies. With the situation I was in, online was my only option. Had it not been for the structure of Lamar University’s program, I would have never been able to get my master’s.”

Like Clint, Liz said time was the biggest obstacle she faced while earning her degree. But the online format made everything possible — even with her busy schedule.

“By organizing my studies into the chunks of time that I did have and working when I planned to work on my studies, I was able to overcome this challenge,” she said. “The support of my family and especially my husband helped me make it through. The only thing I would do differently is starting sooner.”

Clint said he also wishes he would have been more proactive about starting his graduate degree.

“I would have gone straight into my master’s after I finished my bachelor’s degree instead of waiting until I was 39, married, working 80-90 hours a week, and raising children,” he said. “My family is very proud of me. I am only the second person in my large, extended family to earn an advanced degree.”

Clint said he decided on Lamar University because of the quality of education.

“I researched all online programs that offered what I was seeking,” Clint said. “Lamar University was at the top in every category.”

The Millers both believe they are living proof that even students without much spare time can earn an online degree and enhance their career prospects.

“Don’t wait,” Liz said. “Get started right away. There are so many opportunities waiting for you and so much growth that will occur for you. In the end, I wish I would have done it sooner, but I don’t regret a minute of it.”

And, who knows? Maybe you’ll end up working across the parking lot from the Millers, too.

Learn more about the Lamar University online M.Ed. in Educational Administration program.


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