If you’re on campus at McAllister Elementary School, you might spot a man with a bright smile sporting a stylish bow tie and high-fiving students.
The passion Assistant Principal Bivins Miller has for working with children can be traced back to his own childhood.
“Mr. Pope, my fifth-grade teacher, was the first male teacher I had,” Miller said, reflecting on growing up in Macon. “He really inspired me.”
Miller also credits his elementary school principal with being an influential figure. The principal and fifth-grade teacher both made coming to school exciting and planted the seed of energy and enthusiasm in young Miller.
“I’m one of four children. I grew up mainly with my mother; she was a hardworking travel nurse,” Miller said. “She didn’t cut us much slack and expected us to do our best. I never wanted to let her down.”
Miller still carries that mentality today. He said he is grateful to be at McAllister, is “all in” and is all about the kids.
Miller always knew he wanted to work with children.
At Georgia Southern University, he took the education route. He received a Bachelor of Science in special education in 2008, a master’s in educational leadership in 2010 and a specialist in educational leadership in 2012.
Teaching health and physical education was Miller’s original plan when he began his undergraduate studies. But his focus began to shift when he had his practicum with special education students. This was a turning point, and it caused him to develop a greater desire for being involved with elementary and special education.
Miller’s professional career began at Statesboro High School, where he worked primarily as an educator and coach. He is credited with launching Statesboro High’s wrestling program. Miller and his wife, Danielle, were happy in Statesboro and had built a house there. Moving was not something they anticipated.
But when it was brought to Bivins Miller’s attention that administrative positions were available in Bryan County, he took the opportunity and applied.
Moving mid-year in 2012, Miller began his journey with Bryan County Schools at Richmond Hill High School as a ninth-grade assistant principal and supervisor of Advanced Placement and the Career, Technical and Agricultural Education department. He briefly worked under the leadership of Superintendent Dr. Paul Brooksher.
A few months later, Debi McNeal, the current principal at RHHS, took over.
“Everything I know about administration, I learned from Debi McNeal,” Miller said.
The tightknit group at Richmond Hill High quickly became some of Miller’s closest friends and family. But he had a decision to make when brand new McAllister needed staff.
“When I heard the school was being built, I knew there would be opportunity here. One of the biggest things that held me back from saying ‘yes’ automatically was the (RHHS) staff,” he said. “We were such a tight group.”
After weighing his options, he decided to go for it. Now, he not only works at McAllister, but he is able to drive his 5-year-old daughter, Chloe, to school there.
Miller is a family man. Wife Danielle teaches first grade at Richmond Hill Primary School, and the Millers are raising three girls. Chloe’s younger sisters are Molly, 3, and Lucy, 22 months.
Miller brings the same drive and dedication he has for his family to his career.
“I’m a forward thinker and organizer,” he said. “From year to year, we have to begin with the end in mind. Coming from high school, I know where the kids are headed.”
As the halfway mark of his first year at McAllister approaches, and as he continues along the learning curve of launching a new school, Miller said he is proud of how things have gone so far.
“I want people to remember me for being all about the kids,” he said. “That is really why I got into this profession. There are other things I could have done, but they wouldn’t have been nearly as rewarding. I really like to see the impact it has on kids and watch them grow. I enjoy being out here with kids. It gets me going.”