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Life on Hill: Q&A with RHHS principal
Debi McNeal Photo by Lifetouch
Debi McNeal is principal of Richmond Hill High School. - photo by Photo provided.

Debi McNeal, principal of Richmond Hill High School, answers this week's questions:

Q:  When did you first meet Bivins Miller?

A: When I was named principal. The administrators (the assistant principals and I) had a meeting one Sunday afternoon before I formally began so I could meet everyone. He had been appointed as an assistant principal at RHHS a few months earlier.

Q:  What role did Miller play at RHHS?

A: Mr. Miller played so many roles at RHHS. He was the ninth-grade administrator and the supervising administrator for two specialized programs at high school, CTAE (Career, Technical and Agricultural Education) and Advanced Placement. He also had an at-risk group of students that he met with and facilitated monthly. Additionally, he was responsible for building and maintaining the master schedule and our curriculum nights and open house events. For any high school, this is an overwhelming responsibility, but at RHHS, with such a high-achieving group of students and so many students, this is a challenge most are not able to meet. Bivins made it look easy.

Q:  What was the overall experience like working together at RHHS?

A: Working with Mr. Miller has been one of the high points, if not the high point, of my career. He always has a smile and is always positive and responding with a “can do” attitude. His “students first” perspective was always transparent. He goes the extra mile and gives every ounce of energy he has.

Q:  What do you feel are his greatest attributes as an educator/administrator?

A: His student-centered approach first and foremost. He is professional but fully approachable, which isn’t an easy combination to effectively pull off, but he does. He enjoys his job and it shows, and that is also important. He has a passion for children and teaching.

Q:  Can you share any special memories of Miller from RHHS?

A: Yes, one in particular stands out. It was August and the first year we had opened the school year together. We had open house, and during open house, it became evident that we had more schedules than we expected incomplete and with errors. Once open house ended, all of the administrators got together and began working on schedules. At about midnight, I decided enough was enough. We had convocation the next day, and we were all exhausted. I told everyone to pack up and head home, and we would tackle the schedules again tomorrow. We all headed out, each person got in his or her car, and we made our way home. Or that is what I thought. Weeks later, I would find out that two of the assistant principals, Bivins being one of them, left the campus and made sure I saw them driving away, and then came right back.  Those two stayed here until nearly 4 a.m. working on schedules and were back at school the next morning.  That event is completely representative of Bivins Miller. He works until the job is done, and done right.

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