Joyce Warshaw has been a part of what she calls the “Miller Community,” since she became principal in 1998. After 18 years of leading the school she’s so proud of, Warshaw is retiring at the end of the school year.
“Miller Elementary and the families there have kept me in the district. I have met some of the finest people I have ever known through my connection with Miller Elementary,” she said. “I know they will continue to do fine but I will miss them and hope, in some small way, I have been an asset to their lives as well.”
Warshaw grew up in Pittsburgh, Penn., before moving to Atchison, Kan., in middle school. She began her teaching career in private schools in Pittsburg.
There is a family history of educators on both sides of my family and I have always had a love of children and preparing for the future,” Warshaw said. “I loved my experience in private education but I am a strong advocate of public education as we make our children more globally well rounded.”
Warshaw said her parents created many opportunities for her and her brother through travel.
“We were always taught that it is a big world out there and all are created equal,” she said. “I remain true to ‘you are no better than anyone else and there is no one better than you.’ We all have a special place in the world. Find your passion and always, always be true to yourself.”
After teaching at Lincoln Elementary and serving as an ESL Program Specialist, a love of teaching, the profession, and teachers made her decide to become a principal.
“I have always felt that teachers need support through their administration to support their efforts and hard work. Too many administrators want to be ‘the boss’ and not the team player that is needed to educate in this day and age,” she said. “I knew early on that I didn’t have all the answers; but as a team, we could figure out what the children needed.”
According to Warshaw, the most rewarding part of her job has always been the children and being a part of preparing them for the future.
“There is not a paycheck big enough to compare to the look on a child’s face as they read to you or accomplish a math problem,” Warshaw said. “It’s always been about the children. I never made any decision in education without first asking the question, ‘is this good for kids?’”
Warshaw has three children and one stepchild. Her children graduated from Dodge City Public Schools and Warshaw said it and the community of Dodge City made them who they are today.
“I am most proud of are raising four independent, well-established children and the beautiful grandchildren they have given my husband and I,” she said. “Professionally, I’m most proud of being a member of the Miller Elementary team and helping to create a school that is highly respected in the Dodge City community for establishing a solid learning environment for all.”
Warshaw said she has a “real fear of politicians and why they are running for office when it comes to education,” and said it’s not unique to Kansas.
“It is harder to recruit people into the profession and because upper education has gotten so expensive, too many are taking jobs with huge student loans that create a situation where an educator’s salary is not enough to get them on solid ground financially,” she said. “I blame the government for not holding educators in high esteem and creating environments where it is harder to establish a sound public education that ALL are entitled to in our country.”
Once Warshaw retires, she plans on spending time with her family, traveling, and attending more University of Kansas basketball games.
“Lawrence really is one of my happy places,” she said. “Of course, I will continue to be an avid reader but less professional reading and more ‘just for fun’ type books.”
According to Superintendent Alan Cunningham, Warshaw has spent the past 36 years helping students, their families, and her teachers learn and grow.
“We are honored that for the past 32 years of those years, she has used her passion and skills as an educator in Dodge City USD 443,” Cunningham said. “Whether as a classroom teacher, ESL specialist, or building administrator, Joyce has always been a dedicated professional, with the best interests of children at heart. We wish her the best as she takes on the new adventures that await her!”