Miller takes state position

Stephanie Myers-News-Herald

Retiring Lenoir City Schools Superintendent Wayne Miller still has school on the brain.

Miller was named executive director of the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents. In his new role, he will represent Tennessee schools in legislation and preside over superintendents in Tennessee public schools.

To Miller, it's an unbelievable turn in his career. To friends and colleagues, it's an honor that he will represent the local school system.

"I think that it speaks very well of the school system and the school board that our leader has been chosen out of all the people in the state," BOE member Glenn McNish said.

Miller has served as superintendent since 2000. He told the News-Herald in a previous interview that he planned on retiring in December to make a smoother transition for the system and the new superintendent. He will join TOSS in Nashville at the start of the new year.

"Basically, I'll be the legislative superintendent for school systems in the state. ... (It is) primarily legislative but also academic concerns that superintendents have that may require legislative direction or change," Miller said. "That most often is done through the TOSS organization. As the director of that organization, I will be responsible for making sure appropriate legislators got the information and we're working with the state board of education and the state department of education, TSBA (Tennessee School Boards Association), TEA (Tennessee Education Association), all the equal partners in making it successful for kids.

"It's a pretty big deal," he said.

Miller said he planned to spend more time on his hobbies, like photography and fishing. When the opportunity arose after he announced his retirement, it was too sweet of a deal to pass up.

"It's a phenomenal way to cap off a career," Miller said. "... This job became available and I really wanted maybe one more shot at having some input at a different level and this is definitely that opportunity. It's just a real honor."

Even though he feels "excited" about the new adventure, Miller said it was never a position he considered coming up through the education ranks.

Charles Cagle, an attorney and general counselor for TOSS, said the organization thought Miller seemed like the perfect candidate.

"Wayne came in and he was himself. He was very genuine in all those meetings. He was able to state with specificity his goals for the TOSS organization," Cagle said. "And, of course, Wayne is not new to this. He's been around a long time. People know the qualities that he has. I think that's it all in a nutshell.

"They know him, he was able to articulate the way he wanted the TOSS organization to go and they've know him long enough to trust him and know he's a hard worker," he said. "I'm very, very happy and pleased he's taking that position."

Spending the last 27 years of his career in the school system, Miller said Lenoir City will always be close to his heart. He plans to spend his weekdays in Nashville and come back home on the weekend.

BOE members Rosemary Quillen, Bobby Johnson Sr. and McNish said Miller was and still will be a friend, and they believe they can never replace him.

"He's built such a wonderful school system here and we're going to miss him," Quillen, chairwoman of the board, said.