Middle school math teacher Kimberly Millar named Farmington Teacher of the Year


Heather Roy

Master teacher-- Irving A. Robbins Middle School math teacher Amy Millar assists students in her class. Millar has taught at the middle school for 31 years.

Pei Chao Zhuo

Irving A. Robbins (IAR) Middle School math teacher Kimberly Millar is the 2019 Teacher of the Year for Farmington Public Schools. She has taught at the middle school for 31 years where she was team leader and currently is the math department resource teacher.

Millar calls the award “an honor” and is thankful for the support of the community.

“Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with many teachers and administrators who have mentored and supported me. I feel fortunate to be part of a team of educators and families that is so committed to innovative teaching and continuous improvement,” Millar said.

Fellow teachers, administrators, parents, and students note Millar’s creativity in teaching and her influence on mathematics instruction in the district.

“I cannot begin to count the number of students who have told me Mrs. Millar is their favorite teacher or the number of parents who requested their children to be in her class,” former IAR principal Theodore Donahue said.

According to superintendent Kathleen Greider, Millar’s innovative pedagogy allows her students “to reach high levels of achievement through experimentation and discovery.” Board of Education Chair Christopher Fagan stated that Millar’s work has influenced the teaching of mathematics in the entire district and notes that Millar has helped students acquire the skills “for collaborative problem solving, critical thinking and innovation in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics].”

Senior Ava Ferrigno, who was in Millar’s class in seventh grade, experienced firsthand Millar’s style of mathematics instruction in the classroom.

“In doing math problems, we wouldn’t just do math problems; we would make up elaborate stories while learning in order to remember the content better,” Ferrigno said.

As an example, Ferrigno said that characters like Sally and Jimmy would frequently appear in “odd scenarios that were always memorable and hilarious” in problems Millar gave to the class.      

Ferrigno particularly enjoyed learning about proportions in her seventh grade math class.

“She made them so easy to understand that I still get excited when I can use them to break up the mounds of other math used in calculus,” Ferrigno said.

According to Millar, she seeks to demonstrate to students that math is pervasive and can be enjoyable.

“It’s not just about learning operations and formulas. I want [students] to realize there is math involved in making their soccer ball, that there is a math connection to the fans in the stands doing The Wave, the mulch pile at the end of the driveway, and even zip-lining at the class picnic!” Millar said.