Meet Steve Miller, the newest president of Community Education Council 11.
Elected over the summer by fellow council members, Miller is in his third two-year term with CEC 11.
Miller first got involved with school leadership about six years ago when his youngest of four children entered kindergarten at the new P.S. 169, the Baychester Academy.
Both he and his wife helped form the school’s Parent Teacher Association, which he became president of the following year.
The experience showed him how important strong parental involvement is in the success of a school.
“It’s a night and day difference, where PTAs are involved,” said Miller.
He was PTA president for five years, as well as president of the President’s Council, where PTA leaders come together to share best practices.
Strong leadership groups create stronger school communities and improve relationships between parents, teachers and administration, said Miller.
“You’re going to get a better flow of information back and forth,” said Miller.
On the advice of his daughter’s principal, Miller ran for the CEC several years ago, and has since worked to elevate school leadership across the district.
The CEC is an advisory board akin to the old school boards, and is comprised of 11 elected parent members and two community leaders appointed by the Bronx borough president.
There is currently a vacant seat for a parent of an English Language Learner on the council, said Miller.
Each school in the district has a dedicated CEC member as a liaison to ensure their needs are being heard, he said.
District 11 includes the neighborhoods of Van Nest, Morris Park, Pelham Parkway, Allerton, Pelham Gardens, Baychester, Williamsbridge, Wakefeild and Co-op City.
Miller himself is a product of District 11 public schools, attending Michelangelo Middle School and Truman High School, before going to Hunter College and then working in civil service.
“I’ve been public school raised, and I think it’s important,” said Miller.
While the CEC deals with a myriad of subjects including school zoning, two issues have emerged in recent years as hot topics.
The district is underserved in middle school seats, said Miller, and each year pushes for more as elementary schools keep opening.
And the CEC also has found itself fighting the colocation of charter schools in buildings where it feels the placement is not appropriate or the space could be better used by public schools, an issue the CEC confronted most recently at the Michelangelo Middle School building.
But the disagreements with the Department of Education are all done with the kids in mind, said Miller.
“We want the best education for the students of the district,” he said.
The CEC meets twice a month throughout the district, and all meetings are open to the public. Miller urged parents and guardians to attend and contribute to the discussion.
“Come out and get involved.”
For more information about CEC 11 and the meeting calendar, visit www.Bronx