Judith G. Miller
Except for her college years and a first job in the Dallas area, Judith Ruie Gilbert Miller spent her whole life in Houston, Texas. The oldest child of Paul and Ruie Gilbert, she grew up with three younger brothers. As a child, Judy was a quiet, shy child and a straight "A" student. She enjoyed spending time with her grandmother, Ruie Campbell.
After graduating from Milby High School in 1961, Judy earned her bachelor's degree in education at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. She later received her master's degree in school administration from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Her first teaching position was in Garland, Texas, where she met and married Gene Miller. After six years in Garland, Judy taught a year in Pasadena. Following a move to the Alief community and the birth of son Jeffrey, she stayed at home with her baby until 1974 when she was hired as a second grade teacher at Smith Elementary.
The once timid Judy blossomed into a leader. She became an assistant principal at Kennedy Elementary in 1979 and two years later, its principal. In 1987, Judy opened Hearne Elementary. She was principal at Hearne for the next 6 years. In 1993 she moved to Petrosky Elementary where she was principal until her death in 1998.
Anyone who knew Judy knew there were 2 things near and dear to her heart...children and her job. As Jeffrey Miller said, "My mother dedicated her life to education and to kids."
She would arrive at work at 6:30 a.m. and pack her own calendar until it overflowed with tasks that she felt were necessary to meet her high standards. Organization and planning ahead were some of those tasks.
Watching Judy with children, anyone could see that she had a genuine affection for them. Many people speak of her ways of greeting her students by name as they came to school each day, valuing children as individuals, and cheering them on to keep trying till goals were reached. Former students often returned to visit with her.
She was also a mentor to less experienced fellow educators, guiding them in their career development. Associates name her ever-present sense of humor, empathy, compassion, patience, fairness, and her ability to think through situations before making important decisions as some of Judy's memorable traits. Many mutually cherished friendships came about.
Cancer may have claimed Judy Miller's life in 1998, but she never surrendered her indomitable spirit. She battled the disease with as much vigor as she could muster, just as she had devoted all her energy to educating the children of Alief ISD. for 24 years.