Retirement Blog

A story for every student contact day during my last year and a weekly musical interlude!

It has been a long tradition that teachers will often get a second job to make ends meet. I was no different. What can be helpful is to find a position that assists your teaching. When I was getting started as a teacher, Barnes & Read more
The influence of a teacher is far-reaching with their students. Administrators can also have an extended impact. There is some debate about whether an administrator's effects are positive or negative. I have been fortunate to work with some excellent administrators. There is one that stands Read more
Collaboration is a key factor in the success of any group. I had been hired to teach first and second grade at Montview. This was a team that was connected and worked well together. We had our official leader. Cheryl did a nice job of Read more
The previous two stories had a serious tone so it is time to return to the fun. When I was teaching at Montview I had the good fortune to help write the science curriculum for the district. I was a part of the first and Read more
Competition by kids is a subject that is loaded with strong opinions on all sides. Competition has gotten a bad reputation because of external forces. You currently see games canceled because there are no referees or umpires. This is impacting the youngest kids all the Read more
This was one of my favorite bands in College. I saw them once over at CSU in Moby Gym. Read more
There are things that young teachers learn the easy way and some are learned the hard way. The difference is often dependent upon if the teacher listens to the parent, students, or colleagues. One of the hallmarks of a new teacher is the confidence that Read more
I hear from students that they will change their habits when they get into the "real world" but school isn't as important. I always try to have a discussion with them that they are better off establishing good habits now when it is easier.  All Read more
The story for today is a celebration and post-mortem of introducing students to technology. In the early 1990s, I was lucky enough to transition to the Technology Special at Montview. One of the first things we decided on was the skills that students needed. This Read more
Schools are always in search of trends and community needs. Our job is to provide an educated and prepared workforce. We spend a lot of time preparing students for careers that don't even exist and it is sometimes a guessing game. My day is spent Read more
As a part of the retirement blog, I will be posting a video/song a week that really speaks to my beliefs and hopes about teaching for 30 years. Read more
One of the distinct joys of teaching is the opportunity to watch students learn new skills that will carry them throughout their lifetimes. Reading instruction is the best example I can think of. It is how kids start to build an understanding of the written Read more
The greats have debated the importance of a name for centuries.  Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet asked about if it really matters: “What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” Dale Carnegie countered: “A Read more
Today's story starts with an interesting twist. Yesterday was our first snow day of the year. I know what you are thinking and in fact it was 96 degrees outside. Our HVAC chiller was down and so it was sweltering the day before and would Read more
Sharing rooms with others is sometimes challenging. It requires patience, compassion, and consideration. When I started I was in a year-round school and so 4 of us shared three rooms.  You were on track for 9 and off for three. It was even better for Read more

My Thirty-Year Educational Crusade

I am retiring at the end of the 2022-2023 year. This blog will be a retrospective and a celebration of the things I have been a part of for the last 30 years. This is in no way intended to be melancholy or a journal of grievances. It is a celebration of the joy a teacher sees, hears, and feels over the time of a career. I will try not to preach and hope to encourage teachers and students to enjoy the time they have together. I can speak from experience that they are memories that will last a lifetime. These are my recollections and come from my perspective and I do not imply the thoughts or deeds of anyone else. As with any retrospective, I might have things a little off but I hope to offend no one or group as I undertake this adventure.

Teaching is a calling that demands a great deal from those that undertake the role of a teacher. The important thing to remember is that it is critical to look around and take all of it in as you pass through the lives of thousands of students. If someone takes on that role with anything less than the belief that it is a crusade, they do a disservice to their students and themselves. If I give the impression that this is a sacred path to walk, I will have been successful. I said in an interview in 1994 that “I go home every night exhausted but I can’t wait to get up and get to school the next day.” I have the same philosophy and beliefs today. I regularly tell students that I don’t need an alarm clock because I wake up before it goes off so that I can get to work.

I plan on having a great deal of fun with this and I encourage you to come back often and follow the escapades that I have been a party to for 30 years. I hope it will bring you laughs, tears, and joy. I want to share with everyone the value of this profession. I hear complaints and frustration with the world outside of education and I understand and sometimes have the same feelings. If I focused on these feelings I would not have enjoyed the 30-year ride. Life may not be fair but I do believe it is balanced. Your outlook is determined by the side of the ledger you choose to focus on. I choose to focus on the great, the laughter, and even the sadness that comes with working with students.

The last 30 years have been my crusade and the only fear I have is that I will not be able to continue the crusade after retiring. The time has come to move into a different phase of my crusade and let those behind me pick up the mantle and go forward. Just to be clear, over the 177 class days that I will post, I will name names and places! I will not embarrass anyone but I think t is important to the story that people know how important they have been to me. There are a few people that are worth mentioning specifically because they have had a huge impact as mentors and students. I will not list everyone because of space but I do want to mention a few people that have been inspirations above and beyond. I was recently asked in an in-service about what inspires me and without hesitation, I said that it was my students. In about year 3 of teaching, I discovered that if I was attentive that I could learn as much from students as they learned from me.

A short list of students and teachers that have inspired my journey. Please remember that this is not comprehensive and if I put the full list, it would be thousands of people long. Teachers and Educators in no particular order: Barb Smith, Cheryl Lico, Katherine Kelley, Debbie Backus, Debbie Gerkin, Susan DeCamp, Cathy Stanforth, Mrs. Truman, Mary Lou Midcap, Dorothy Carter, Marc Stine, Tammy Strouse, Sandy Scott, Ingrid Franklin, Rob Shurich, Mike Hamilton, Phil Underland, Jim Gochenour, James Laguana, Gwynn Moore, and Lisa Grosz. Students in no particular order: Lucas N, Leann W, Andres Q, Cassie M, Nabil D, Katie L, Adobe A, Sam N, Michelle H, Nathan B, Zach S,  Selena G, Chris K, and thousands more.  The most important inspiration as a teacher is my wife Dawn and as a student my daughter Kaila. Dawn has been teaching longer than I have and I can only hope to have half the compassion and love for students that she does. Kaila moved out of our house to go to the University of Wyoming and never came back. After graduation, she found a home at UW and has been an advocate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and has become a forceful educator in her own right.

Click here to join me on my journey.

2022 Aspirations in Computing Educator Award Winner

A thirty-year veteran of the Aurora Public Schools in Colorado. Randy has taught from 1st grade to postsecondary students. 20 Years at Rangeview has been highlighted by being a leading force for Computer Science and STEM. Randy has coached CyberPatriot teams for 12 years and taken 2 teams to the National Finals. Randy assisted with the PLTW development of the Cybersecurity course. Serving on the initial Advisory group and becoming a Master Teacher and teaching core training in 2018. Randy was awarded the National Computer Science Teacher of the Year for 2021-2022. Brought a Cybersecurity class to Rangeview five years ago and created a Technology Intern program for training students to move into internships in the industry. Randy has coordinated and taught a STEM camp at Rangeview for 8 years highlighted by cybersecurity classes. Randy has spent his career working to bring underrepresented populations into the Computer Science field.

2021 - 2022 PLTW National Computer Science Teacher of the Year

PLTW recognizes outstanding teachers who inspire, engage, and empower their students by creating transformative learning experiences in their classrooms through PLTW programs

Aurora, Colorado – Rangeview High School teacher Randy Mills has earned the 2021-22 PLTW National Computer Science Teacher of the Year award, which recognizes educators who demonstrate a strong record of delivering an inspiring and empowering student experience, expanding access to PLTW programs, and transforming teaching. Randy was chosen from nominations received from across the U.S.

PLTW is honoring Randy for his work in the PLTW Computer Science pathway. Randy has been a teacher at Rangeview High School for twenty years and teaches Cybersecurity, Computer Science Essentials, and Introduction to Engineering Design. Randy Is also a Master Teacher for PLTW in Computer Science Essentials and Cybersecurity.

“Rangeview High School is proud of Randy Mills and his dedication to our students,” said RyAnn Nelson-Jaiyesimi “Randy is inspiring and we feel honored to have him as a teacher at Rangeview.”

Randy helped develop the Cybersecurity course and serves as one of the original Master Teachers for the course. He has been an advocate for underrepresented populations and has a passion for extending Computer Science and STEM to all students equally.

“Teachers and educational leaders perform one of the most critical functions in our society, and we are proud to work with these outstanding educators who are leaders in their classrooms and across the PLTW network,” said Dr. Vince Bertram, PLTW President and CEO. “Congratulations and thank you for your partnership in a shared commitment to empower our students to thrive in our evolving world even amidst the most challenging and unprecedented of times.”

Computer Science / Cybersecurity Programs & Competitions 2021-2022