Curt Miller was bound to pursue a career involving high school education and athletics.
Miller grew up as a coach’s son. His father, Chuck Miller, coached basketball throughout his formative years. The elder Miller won 870 games and earned induction into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association and Georgia Athletic Director’s Association halls of fame.
Teaching and coaching were in Miller’s blood. His experiences with his father eventually molded his future plans.
“I always was intrigued by what dad was doing,” Miller said. “Anytime there was practice, I was probably in the gym. If there was a teacher workday, coaches' kids were at the school. I got to know all the players and I just wanted to build those relationships and try to help kids. That's really why I got into it.”
Miller recently finished his first year as the athletic director and one of three assistant principals at Oconee County High School. Before arriving to Watkinsville, Miller spent years building up his resume as a teacher, administrator and coach.
Upon graduating from Henry County High School in 1996, Miller played basketball for two years at Reinhardt University before completing his health and physical education degree at Georgia Southern.
While attending Georgia Southern, Miller worked as a community coach at nearby Southeast Bulloch High School. He also met his now-wife, Kristen, around that time.
Once he finished college, Miller went back home to Henry County.
Miller worked at Henry Middle School teaching technology and PE while coaching basketball, football and track. He later became the head boys basketball coach at Dutchtown High School when it first opened.
In 2007, Miller joined Ola High School as its athletic director and basketball coach. He served in that capacity for eight years before joining the Henry County district office as its health and PE coordinator and, one year later, district athletic director.
Miller enjoyed his time within the Henry County district, but one big change at OCHS allowed him the opportunity to join Oconee County Schools.
Kevin Yancey served as an assistant principal and the athletic director at OCHS from 2015 through the 2019-20 school year. When Yancey accepted the principal job last spring, that opened up those other two positions.
Miller got the job.
“At that point in time, I spoke to my wife and just felt it was a good time for us to make a move,” Miller said. “This is an outstanding district, an outstanding school. I applied and I think on April 20 of last year, the board met and approved me.”
The move took Miller out of Henry County for the first time in his career.
“I had always been in Henry County,” he said. “I went K-12 there and my only professional teaching jobs were in Henry County. It's been a big change for me, but it's been a great change because the people here are awesome, the kids are awesome, the parents are awesome and the community's great. It's been a great move.”
Miller’s dual role means he faces responsibilities and challenges on multiple fronts.
Though the demands of his two positions sometimes force him into a juggling act, Miller said he now has a greater appreciation for the non-athletic side of things at the school.
“It's got its moments where it becomes difficult,” Miller said. “But on the AP side of it, you get to talk to and meet all the kids in the school, no matter if they're athletes or not. I've enjoyed watching the different successes of all of our students in our building. I've come to appreciate all of the different things all of our students do, not just the athletics side. That's been fun for me.”
As it pertains to athletics, Miller praised the school’s coaches, student-athletes, parents and supporters for their efforts to make the programs function well.
But there is one logistical difference between OCS and Henry County that Miller experienced over the last year: OCHS’s smaller student population means there are fewer staff members in the building, meaning there is a smaller pool of potential coaches.
“That's new to me because we came from some AAAAA schools in Henry and you've got a lot more staff members in those buildings,” Miller said. “We've got some awesome community coaches who help us out.”
Miller thanked all of the people involved in the athletic program for their assistance and steadfastness as it pertained to COVID-19 protocols during the school year.
He also took a moment to thank his coaches for their detailed knowledge of Georgia High School Association-related issues.
Miller serves as the vice president of the GHSA and will become its president next year. He is also the vice president of the GADA.
Miller said his up-close connections within those organizations helps him, but he said OCHS’s coaches do a good job staying current with any changes to scheduling, protocol, etc.
With Miller and the school’s coaches keeping their bases covered, they get to fully enjoy the moments where their student-athletes flourish.
“The rewarding part for me is when I'm watching our student-athletes or students – if it's in the building or if it's in the athletic arena – when they succeed or they get it and they have an 'aha!' moment or they've worked so hard and they finally achieve what they wanted to achieve,” Miller said. “Watching their faces and the joy that they have, the coaches have and the parents have is rewarding, and I think that would be the same for a lot of people in my position.”
In addition to Miller, Kimberly Harmelink and Kelly Maffeo also serve as assistant principals at OCHS. Miller said he enjoys working alongside them to help lead the school as well as working with Yancey, whom Miller also credited for building up the athletic program in years past.
“It's been a really good transition for me coming here that the people at the OC are awesome, and I was told they were awesome,” Miller said. “To see it and work with who I get to work with every single day is great.”
Miller’s first year at OCHS is in the books – and it was one for the school’s history books.
From the fall sports’ domination across Region 8-AAA to the state-level success for its tennis and soccer teams and everything in between, 2020-21 was a banner year for OCHS athletics.
Miller said it was one of the best experiences he’s had as an athletic director.
“This year has been so awesome for the whole OC community,” Miller said. “It just seems like every time we rolled out a new sport for the year, we had great success. ... This year will go down as something I'll always remember as being an AD.”