John Miller is the head of school at the Eton School in Mexico City. John’s journey as an educator started in 1990 as a TFA Corps Member in Los Angeles with detours to the SF Bay area, to Rio de Janeiro, to South Carolina, and more on the way to his dream school in Mexico. I met John on Twitter where I learned so much about his journey when he was a guest host on my Twitter chat. John knows how to reflect on experiences we all go through and provides a way to frame those experiences so that everyone can understand.
My WHY is to reduce the gap between performance and potential.
What was it like growing up?
I was born in Rahway, New Jersey in a blue-collar neighborhood. My mom was a school teacher and my dad was an investment banker that knew how to plan and save. Aside from educational expenses, we lived on my mom’s salary. I had jobs growing up like mowing lawns, selling hot dogs, and more. There were times I had two or three jobs at a time. These jobs gave me a clear understanding of my own privilege compared to others without the same educational opportunities. When I went to Tufts University to study International Relations, I connected most with students who were on work-study and really valued the opportunity to get a college degree.
My wife Judith grew up in Mexico City and we met while I was studying a year abroad at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. By the time this podcast launches, we will have celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.
We have two sons, Diego and Andres. Diego is the oldest and has a degree in Environmental Science from UNC Chapel Hill and currently works in Data Analytics at EY. Andres is at MIT working on his Ph.D. in Nuclear Fusion research.
Your Journey as an Educator
I joined Teach for America and my first job was as an elementary school teacher in Lynwood USD. Then I became a West Coast Recruiter for TFA and then a Regional Director for TFA. I worked at an Elementary School in Oakland Unified for 1 year 1994-1995. Then a Spanish language immersion teacher for SFUSD from 1994-1997.
I moved to New York City as a Middle School Principal for 8 years 2005 to 2013 at Rutgers Preparatory School. In 2013 I was the Coordinator of the 250th Anniversary Celebrations at Rutgers Prep. As an alumnus, a teacher, an administrator, and a parent, I reached out to engage as many people who love Rutgers Prep the way I do to take part in this historic celebration.
In 2014, I became the Principal of the Barra campus of Escola Americana do Rio de Janeiro, in the Rio de Janeiro Area, Brazil for 2 years.
In 2016, I became the Chief Academic Officer of Charleston Collegiate School in South Carolina. My primary function will be to help lead the effort to solidify a project-based learning approach in their Upper School. Charleston is quickly becoming a hub for startup tech companies and the school is well-positioned to create partnerships that will benefit the students at Charleston Collegiate.
In 2017, I was Headmaster of Westhill Institute in the Mexico City area, Mexico for 2 years. Then I moved back to Brooklyn, NY to Ascend Public Charter Schools as a Math Teacher and then ICT Humanities teacher. This was from 2019 to 2021 during Covid. Being in Brooklyn during the beginning of Covid was a nightmare. Four students in my school buried their parents and almost all of the families were front-line service workers who did not have the luxury of working remotely. It was sad to see how teachers were deemed expendable in order to get the economy going again.
I moved to Mexico in 2021 as the Head of School for Eton School in Mexico City, Mexico.
Eton School is a Nord Anglia school that is a global company with headquarters in London. There are 84 schools in 32 countries. At Eton, we inspire curiosity and innovative thinking in our students – giving them the tools and skills to succeed. Our educational approach uses our global reach, enabled by world-class technology, to bring our students truly transformational learning experiences. We have partnerships with The Juilliard School, MIT as part of our STEAM program, and UNICEF by tackling the Sustainable Development Goals.
Eton School Mexico is a leading bilingual, international school in Mexico City. The international curriculum allows students’ curiosity at every level to guide their every step. We empower hearts and minds every day by challenging our students to be the change they want to see. This happens because of the thoughtful, intentional work of our expert educators.
IT’S NOT “WHAT?” IT’S “HOW?” AND “WHY?”
At Eton School Mexico, we don’t passively absorb information—we actively probe our environment and each other with questions that allow us to dig deeper and make connections across ideas, facts, and experiences. Check out some of the outdoor experiences (video)
At Eton, we’re at the forefront of global education as a bilingual international school. We develop the skills and talents of active thinkers who are not afraid to dig deeper and take initiative as leaders in our community. Through a common love for learning, our students excel in their academics, embrace their creativity and critical thinking, and drive impact through the values of kindness, empathy, and respect.
John’s Contact Information
School websites: Eton School Mexico
I hope you enjoyed my conversation with John Miller who is an inspirational leader with an amazing journey. It was such an honor to have John share his story and his WHY with me. Please share this podcast and the post with your friends.
Make sure you check out more of the Rethinking Learning podcasts and each post that the guests created. Click the logo below or go to https://barbarabray.net/podcasts/
If you haven’t read my book, Define Your WHY, now is the time. For more information about my book, go to this page or click on the image of the book for resources, questions, and links.