Only in 2020 can a mask say it all.

“This principal loves her school” announced the one worn by Claire Miller as she greeted groups of well-wishers Tuesday afternoon. And although it covered her face, everyone knew she was smiling underneath.

After 16 years, Miller retired as principal of Streams Elementary School in Upper St. Clair.

To celebrate the occasion in a safe manner, students and their parents formed a parade of vehicles that at times snaked around the back of the school building.

Many of the youngsters brought gifts and displayed signs to show their appreciation, and Miller, in turn, spoke about hers.

“I cannot say enough about our teachers and our families here at Streams,” she said, and that especially applies to the challenges that have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our students have been expected to be responsible for their learning in ways that had never been imagined before,” Miller added. “Parents have had to be by our side every step of the way, supporting their children, and our teachers have been remarkable at learning to do things in completely new ways, really in the spur of the moment.”

An Allegheny College graduate who went on to earn her master’s degree from Westminster College and doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh, Miller worked as a teacher and administrator for Seneca Valley School District before arriving in Upper St. Clair.

“When I was originally recruited for the position, I didn’t quite know what was ahead,” Miller said. “They say that when one door closes, another opens, and I was so happy to land here in a district that puts kids first, that values education and expects high standards from all of the stakeholders. And I feel like over the last 16 years, we’ve certainly continued that tradition here at Streams school.”

She is appreciative of her experience as principal.

“For me, being an administrator was the perfect job, because I loved that intersection between working with students, working with teachers and working with families,” she said.

Joining in Tuesday’s festivities were Claire’s father, John Miller, a retired Moon Area School District teacher, and brother David, who traveled from Idaho for the occasion.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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