Congratulations to Middle School English teacher Ruth Miller who was named the recipient of the 2023 Founders’ Cup for Teaching Excellence. The Founders’ Cup Award, established in 1993, recognizes MKA’s strong tradition of teaching excellence dating back to 1887. The award is presented to an outstanding faculty member representative of the best qualities of teaching at MKA, inside and outside of the classroom, including coaching and mentoring. The Alumni Association welcomes nominations for the Founders’ Cup Award from all members of the MKA family, including current students, parents, alumni, administration, and faculty.
Ruth has been teaching English at MKA since 2001. She graduated with a B.A. in English from Trinity College and an M.A. in English and a M. Litt from Middlebury College. Ruth believes in the power of literature and nature; she loves reading, swimming, and long walks. She has hiked the first 320 miles of the South West Coast Path in England and plans to complete the 630-mile path over the next few summers. Ruth is also a playwright, having written both full-length and shorter plays. Her short play, "Shakespearean Woman's Holding Pen," earned the Playwright's Award at the 2012 New York 15-Minute Play Festival, and her one-act play, "Things That Break," was a winner of the 2016 Nor'Eastern Showcase at the Vermont Actors' Repertory Theater.
After receiving the award from Alumni Council Vice President Stuart Harwood ’07 at MKA’s end-of-school meeting, Ruth shared how humbled she felt and especially noted her late father’s influence as a teacher on her own career. She thanked her colleagues, students, and family. Her mother Evelyn and sister Catherine surprised her at the event, while her daughter, Emma ’15, joined via FaceTime.
Students, parents, alumni, and colleagues sent in exuberant nominations for Ruth, praising her for the exemplary teacher, colleague, mentor, and friend that she is. Most notable were how many alumni said their lives were impacted by Ruth, and that they still keep in touch long after being in her classroom. Here are a few of the nominations:
Ruth cares–deeply–about students and their learning, colleagues, and MKA. She has devoted her heart and soul to teaching and is truly dedicated to developing connections with students and helping them to connect to the material being taught. We could not ask for a better colleague, mentor, teacher, or learner–or a better candidate for the Founders’ Cup Award.
Ruth embodies the best qualities of MKA. She represents what an amazing teacher should be. I will be forever lucky to have had her as a mentor and advisor.
MKA stands for Knowledge, Vision, and Integrity. Ruth’s teachings taught me so much and helped me to actually enjoy subjects I had trouble with and was diagnosed with learning issues in. Her vast knowledge was very inspiring for me and got through to me. She worked with me to find the tools to get over my learning differences, tools I still use to this day.
When I first considered teaching at MKA fifteen years ago, Ruth was one of the first people I met in the interview process. After spending ten minutes with this person talking about MKA, I couldn't imagine working or sending my children to school anywhere else.
Ruth goes above and beyond for these kids both in and outside of school. Her love of educating, caring for, and developing children (a daunting task for anyone!) is wildly apparent. Ruth’s enthusiasm is contagious, and my children are lucky to learn from this teacher.
Ruth was one of my first teachers at MKA, as a student who transferred there was a bit of a learning curve, as one would expect. Ruth had the patience to help me identify areas of weakness and worked with me to reinforce them so that it would not hold me back as I navigated my new academic environment. One would have thought she was tenured at this time given the level of skill she applied to this work in progress, but turns out it was in fact her first year.
We are so proud of Ruth for her well-deserved recognition!