BATON ROUGE, LA (LOCAL33) (FOX44) – Dr. Tia Mills has more than a decade of experience in the classroom, she played a key role in advocating for teacher pay raises and now is leading the states Association of Educators.
Dr. Tia Mills has devoted her life to education .
“It’s not a high paying job, but it’s rewarding because we are shaping the minds of people that are going to be the next leaders of this country.”
Her passion for teaching was actually inspired by one of her own teachers.
“I had a teacher by the name of Mrs. Wanita Hill. I wanted to be just like her. She was just the epitome of a teacher. She carried herself with grace and really taught us beyond the classroom, she taught us life lessons.”
She spent 12 years teaching Social Studies and 14 years as a Special Education teacher. Mills said her time with her uncle opened her heart to special education.
“I have an uncle with special needs, he has Down Syndrome, and so that was one of the inspirational pieces behind me going into the education system.”
With 14 years in the classroom under her belt, she knows first hand the hurdles teachers face daily.
“The fact that we had to serve those students with a lack of funding, we basically had to make the best out of the situation, do what we could to make sure those students had the best possible education experience that they could have.”
As the newly elected President of the Louisiana Association of Educators, Dr. Mills said funding is a top priority.
“This is work that I truly enjoy doing. especially in terms of doing what’s best for our children in the public school system and our employees.”
She’s been a long time advocate for pay raises and saw those efforts come to fruition during this year’s legislative session.
“We wanted the best and brightest in those classrooms serving those kids, but we also pushed for more adequate funding because we saw first hand what a classroom looks like without proper funding to make a classroom conducive to learning.”
And her fight for more funds doesn’t stop there.
“Although $1,000 is great, and we truly appreciate it, it’s not close to being enough to bring us to the southern regional average. That’s where we are going to continue to strive to get to in addition to continuing to adequately fund schools across this state.”
Mills said in her new role she will continue to advocate for educators and students.
“It’s a very humbling experience. It’s something that I’m truly honored to be a part of, and I have major shoes to fill.”