Tiffany Miera helps fifth graders build the foundational math skills they need to succeed as they move on from Needham Elementary School in Durango, Colorado. Miera embraces innovative practices, always putting students’ needs first and encouraging them to take risks, try new things, think creatively and critically, and embrace a growth mindset. After students made significant strides when she piloted the Concepts for Learning Mathematics process, including “math congress” discussions that encourage students to talk about math thinking, Miera mentored other teachers to give more students access to her highly effective practices. She previously taught special education and is determined to provide appropriate access points to learning for all students, focused on grade-level proficiency. And Miera’s methods deliver. Needham’s fifth graders have risen from 25.4% proficiency in 2019 to 42.9% in 2022, outperforming both the district and state.
A leader in her building and district, Miera has served on Needham’s instructional leadership, math curriculum, cultural, and gifted and talented teams. She received a district grant to increase efforts around diversity and gifted and talented offerings at Needham. Miera has led professional development for elementary math colleagues, mentors new and student teachers, and welcomes district colleagues into her classroom to observe. Determined to close achievement gaps that resulted from the pandemic, Miera created a mixed-grade cohort for hybrid learning during the 2020-21 school year, providing rich in-person and online instruction to two different clusters on a complicated alternating-day schedule.
Miera is a Durango native with strong community ties—she was once a Needham student herself and has spent her entire career in education at the school. She builds relationships with all students and works collaboratively with families to meet each child’s needs, including those with individualized education and behavior plans. Miera lives down the street from Needham and welcomes students to stop by for help with schoolwork, even if they have not been in her class for years. Outside of school, Miera coaches jiu jitsu and kickboxing, and she waits tables at the same local restaurant where she worked as a high schooler—with delighted students and their families often visiting on weekends.
Miera earned a bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies and ESL in 2008 from Fort Lewis College, a master’s in special education in 2014 from Grand Canyon University, and master’s in educational leadership with a principal certification in 2022 from Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
Press release: Model Math Instruction Plus Mentorship Equal $25,000 Milken Educator Award for Durango Hometown Hero Tiffany Miera
"I teach because I love to see my kids grow and learn. When I see my students achieve, I'm so proud of them, because I know how hard..." (read more)
2022 M.Ed. Leadership with Principal Certificate, Southeastern Oklahoma State University
2014 M.Ed., Special Education, Grand Canyon State University
2008 B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies, Fort Lewis College