HOUSTON -- Natasha Miller loves to teach and just about everyone at the Gregory-Lincoln Education Center seems to know it.

I like to step in that class and get ready to learn, student Jailand Hall said.

Principal Carlos Phillips II said Ms. Miller is always eager to come in early and state late.

It is why administrators recently entered her in a national contest sponsored by OfficeMax called A Day Made Better, which recognizes teacher excellence.

Today the 8th grade math teacher learned she was among 15 educators from within the Houston Independent School District to win.

It was very surprising, she said.

OfficeMax presented her with a huge box of supplies worth $1,000.

Yet she knows the demands of her job are even far more difficult than winning.

You still have to come here every single day and give your best, she said. You re their mom, you re their dad, you re their counselor, you re their shoulder to lean on, you re their everything a lot of the times.

A recent graduate of the University of Houston, Miller said this December will mark one year on the job.

She is proud of her achievements. Others clearly are too.

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