Le'Jean Miller Harper is a Kindergarten Assistant Teacher at Just Elementary School. She was a finalist for the Instructional Support Employee of the Year Award at the 2019 Excellence in Education Awards.
As Le’Jean Miller Harper helps her students face down the challenges in their lives with energy and strength, it's easy to forget the fight she's facing in her own life.
“Once upon a time there was a teacher who was filled with goodness,” said Danayla Bowser, one of Le’Jean Miller Harper’s kindergarten students. “She loves everybody, and she loves working with children. Ms. Miller is a superstar!”
Bowser, who is reading at an advanced level, spoke on behalf of Miller Harper at the Hillsborough Education Foundation's 2019 Excellence in Education Awards ceremony and wowed the crowd with her reading ability.
“I was so excited and so happy for her to get up there and read and say those things about me,” said Miller Harper. “I just know that she’s going to be one of our successful ones.”
“For her to be on that type of reading level and move on to a different grade, it really makes her feel strong in what she’s accomplishing and what she’s doing,” said Miller Harper. “And I have that hope for all of my students—to make them feel like ‘I’m smart enough to do this, I’m smart enough to go to the next grade.’”
“I like being at the starting point for them, because when they finish, it’s like WOW,” said Miller Harper. “I am so happy for you. It makes me want to cry sometimes.”
Beyond teaching kindergarten, Miller Harper works with older girls at Just to focus on developing skills that go beyond classroom subjects.
“I have a mentoring group and we teach them about self-imaging, self-esteem, and etiquette, to carry them on to the next level of their life.”
Miller Harper stays strong for her students, even though she's currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments. She's battling cancer, but she remains dedicated to being as present as possible in the classroom.
Her dedication to her students never wavers.
“This is my fifth time with cancer,” said Miller Harper. “Maybe I don’t come to work every day—but when I do, I do it to the best of my ability. I have to do it, and I have to be here, because I want them to see my face every day.”
“I want them to see that I care and want to be here and help them succeed in life.”
This is Why #WeAchieveTogether.
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