Joyce Warshaw retires after 19 years.

Joyce Warshaw, who has been leading the staff and students of Miller Elementary for several years, has officially finished her last school year as principal. She officially retires on June 30.

“I have mixed emotions,” Warshaw stated. “I am going to miss it so much, as Miller has been a huge part of my life for 19 years, and I truly love my job with no reservations.”

After so many years in the building, Warshaw stated that she feels as though the staff and students at Miller Elementary are more like family.

“I have often referred to my job as being like a grandmother,” she said. “The staff are like my children, but most importantly the children are like my grandchildren, and it’s always about the grandchildren. They can usually do no wrong, and they always bring a smile to my face as my heart grows bigger, bigger and bigger because of them.”

With lots of respect and admiration for their “grandmother”, the Parent Teachers Organization (PTO), staff and students at Miller Elementary painted a mural of books in the kindergarten hallway and dedicated it to Warshaw, naming it “Warshaw Way.”

“I had no idea the staff and parents intended to name the hallway after me or to have the mural done, it was a total surprise,” said Warshaw. “Before the mural was painted it was just a blank wall leading into the kindergarten area. It was a total surprise and the staff and students kept the secret very well.

“They had the mural covered with black paper as if it were a project they were working on, and then they gathered with me to take the paper down — I cried like a baby. Reading the quote and then the quotes on the paintings of the books was very emotional for me as I recollected many beautiful memories from the years I have been at Miller.”

Warshaw stated that each quote and “book title” holds a significant meaning to her. The biggest quote painted on the wall reads “always do what’s best for the kids,” which is a statement Warshaw lives by, she said.

“The quote is something I have used since the day I started at Miller. Every decision, professional development or activity was based on ‘what is best for the kids,’” said Warshaw. “Also, the books are titled with other quotes I have used throughout my career, such as ‘this too will pass’. One book is titled ‘The Night Before Christmas’ because for 19 years I always sent the children and staff on to Christmas break by reading this classic to them.”

On top of the quotes and special books, the hallway in which “Warshaw Way” is located also has a special meaning to Warshaw.

“The hallway is significant to me due to the fact that it was the first update to Miller since the library was built in 1989,” stated Warshaw. “It was a summer project that I was very involved in but it was also very rewarding for the youngest Miller students, the kindergarteners.”

Warshaw stated that she plans on spending her retirement traveling and reading books. She plans on attending the Kentucky Derby, the New Orleans Jazz Festival and many more classic rock concerts.

“I am a firm believer that a person should follow their passion as they seek their profession, and I definitely was successful with that,” Warshaw said. “I may not be monetarily rich as an educator, but I can't imagine another profession that could have given me the joy and satisfaction I have in my heart by working with children and their future. I leave this profession with a full heart and lots of wonderful memories. Miller will forever be important to me as it continues to educate children.”

To contact the writer of this story, email egarcia@dodgeglobe.com.