Paul Miller, a history, social studies and humanities teacher at Juanita High School (JHS) is the 2012 winner of the Thomas and Cameron Pressly Prize, which annually recognizes on outstanding secondary school history teacher. Pressly Prize candidates are selected mainly on the basis of letters of nomination from students currently or recently enrolled at the University of Washington (UW). Matthew King, a 2011 graduate of UW and a state finalist in the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship competition, submitted the letter of nomination for Paul.
The Pressly prize was instituted in 1982 to honor Tom Pressly and his wife, Cameron. Tom Pressly taught for more than 40 years in the UW History Department. Pressly had a deep commitment to building bridges between university-level and high school-level social studies programs throughout this state.
Paul Miller has taught history, social studies, and humanities at JHS for 13 years. During that time he has approached these allied disciplines with wit and rigor, always pushing his students to dig beneath surface generalizations about the past. Paul’s sometimes quirky but always illuminating approach to the study of history is captured in Matthew King’s nominating letter: “First impressions are always important, and the first impression I had of Mr. Miller was his classroom. It remains difficult for me to describe, but perhaps the best way to think about it is if you blew up a Barnes & Noble and Ye Olde Curiosity Shop and left the remnants scattered about a single space. It was a chaotic yet organized environment, one that would make for a memorable learning experience.”
The public presentation of the 2012 Pressly Prize will take place at the UW History Department’s annual Awards Ceremony on Monday, May 14. In addition to a citation documenting Paul’s extraordinary educational contributions, he will also receive a framed testimonial along with a stipend of $2,500.