Willard East Elem. principal now published, best-selling author

Melinda Miller, principal of Willard East Elementary, has a new title: published author. Her book, “Lead with Appreciation,” which she co-authored with Amber Teamann, principal of Whitt Elementary School in Wylie, Texas, was recently published and is available for purchase through Amazon.com and the Barnes and Noble website.
“Lead with Appreciation” is a guide to help educational administrators become better leaders by showing teachers and staff appreciation for what they do, and it contains several ideas which administrators can employ with faculty and staff.
“It’s a combination of everything,” Miller said. “It’s got some ideas of actual things you can do to appreciate your staff so that you can just open the book and find an idea and go implement that idea. But it also talks about some of the other research that goes along with gratitude and appreciation, and people, how they react to different types of appreciation. We (also) talk about … motivation; how to motivate your staff and how far gratitude can go with people in general.”
One strategy Miller and Teamann emphasize in the book is showing employees appreciation by speaking in their “language of appreciation.” They list five languages of appreciation at work: Acts of Service, Tangible Gifts, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, and Physical Touch (appropriate for the workplace.)
Miller said it’s important to know a person’s language of appreciation to communicate appreciation to them. In the past, she said, she tried to show all of her staff appreciation by giving them physical tokens such as candy bars, Sonic drinks, and other items. It didn’t work.
“Most of my staff, their language of appreciation is quality time,” she said, “and so I could buy them stuff until the end of time, but unless I was spending quality time with them or finding out what time they needed, they didn’t feel appreciated.”
Miller also said she and Teamann focused on the importance of never failing to thank people for their efforts.
“You can never say ‘Thank you’ enough,” she said. “Just say the words ‘Thank You.’ Get to know your people, but actually remembering to say the words ‘Thank You.’ Because, for every time you think about it, the number of times you say it is probably not many times.”
Miller didn’t set out to become a published author. She and Teamann have a private Facebook page for principals where they shared ideas for showing appreciation for teachers. Because of their efforts there, the book’s publisher reached out to Miller and Teamann, asking them to write a book.
After nine months of writing, came the editing process, which Miller described as “the hardest part.” That lasted about four months, and then the book was ready. It was released on Oct. 19 and immediately made a best seller list.
“The day it came out, it was ranked as the best seller in Education Administration,” Miller said.
Being a published and best-selling author is exciting for Miller, but she said her real goal in writing the book was to help other administrators with leadership.
“So, as long as what I do helps someone else or serves someone else, then I feel like I’ve made a positive impact, and that was my (goal),” she said. “If I could help other principles be better principals, that was always my goal for other principals.”


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