Position: Seventh Grade Stem Teacher / GSA Advisor
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School: Ilima Intermediate School
School District: Hawaii Public Schools
City, State: Ewa Beach, HI
Music that Describes Sarah
Sarah Milianta-Laffin, also known as "Ms. Mili," was nominated by an anonymous student.
Ms. Mili is an amazing teacher and supervisor. She has the best intentions for her students and those around them. Her open mind, heart, and classroom are welcoming to everyone, and she always does her best to help in whatever way she can.
"I can truly say she has changed my life through her positivity and courage," said her nominator. "Communication is something she makes sure we do our best with as to avoid unnecessary conflict. She has encouraged us and assisted us in meeting with school administration and helping us build up the courage to go on school announcements to talk about our GSA’s message. We are all so thankful for her, and she is one of the most kind-hearted people I’ve ever met."
Mili is one of the most inspiring and dedicated educators I know. She commits to her students and her community, engaging as a Teach For America alum, Hope Street Group fellow, HSTA member and most importantly, as an advocate for educational equity.
Through the Code.org CS Discoveries program, I have had the pleasure to work with Mrs. Sarah Milianta-Laffin and experience her contagious enthusiasm and positive energy. She is a dedicated teacher committed to bringing opportunities to her school, such as supporting computer science education which helps students develop essential 21st century skills. Mrs. Milianta-Laffin volunteers her free time learning and expanding her professional knowledge to support student growth and success. It is a pleasure to work with Mrs. Milianta knowing how many young lives she is helping shape to prepare for a successful future. Mahalo for all your hard work, Mrs. Mili, and for being a LifeChanger in so many lives!
Ms. Mili is not only a great teacher, she is also a great support for her fellow staff members!
It's impossible to put into words what a remarkable individual Sarah is, but here goes...
I'm Sarah's sister, and as far back as I can remember, Sarah has fought for the underdog. She has always been willing to put herself on the line for those in need, never expecting anything in return. No matter the obstacles, Sarah is a creative and empathetic solution maker. A champion of integrity, an unstoppable force of good, a resilient and beautiful soul- there's no one I can think of more deserving than Sarah for this award. #teamsarah
Sarah is such an incredible human being! She is compassionate and demonstrates empathy better than anyone I know. Not only are her students lucky/blessed to have her as a teacher, but so are the people that work with her.
Mrs. Mili is the best teacher that I ever had. She treats us like family and makes learning fun.
I like Ms. Milli as a teacher because she lets us eat in class, we get free time, and she's a nice teacher.
Mrs, Milli is like no other teacher. She is really supportive and unique.
I think Mrs.Mili is a great teacher she gives everyone a chance to learn and we can make friends and everyone is accepted for there flaws or differences and we can learn to be independent and kind to everyone and everyone learns life skills and helping people that have problems. We learn how to help people all around the world and know that you need to have empathy for people with problems they can't control. That is why I think she should earn the life changer of the year award.
I like Mrs.Mili is a really cool teacher. She makes all of her lessons fun and gives us many chances to learn new things.
Ms. Mili is a VERY nice teacher, she is very kind, very entertaining, and and always puts others first no matter if they are mean or nice because she believes she can change that! This is why she is my favorite teacher by FAR, not because the other teachers are mean, simply because she puts others first. I couldn't think or anybody more deserving of this award.
Mrs.Mili helps me think a lot about my surroundings and because of that I found out many things about myself that I didn't know before.
She also helped me find my best friends in this class and now every time I go to her class I get to meet my best friends and at the same time I get to eat in the class. Even though eating in the class may get messy, my classmates and I always clean it up, we also get to have a free day of using the computer and listening to music or playing non-violent games.
MRS.MILI 4 LIFE! :)
This teacher is like the Dwayne Johnson of teachers. She's always in a good mood, she accepts everyone and always gives people second chances even if we didn't deserve them. If she's reading this Thank you Mrs.Mili! I hope U win!
I like this class because the work we do in here is interesting.
Mrs.Mili is one of the few teachers that I enjoyed having because she is nice, she doesn't yell, and she is very supportive and helpful to her students. Mrs.Mili is also a very fun teacher she allows you to eat in her class as long as you don't leave your mess in her room.
Ms.Mili is da bomb, yessuh blessuh Ms. Milis always stressuh with her work and her little messuhssssss ..
i like about sarah is that she has a wonderful personality and one of the best teachers i have in ilima.
i love her classroom because its such a joyful and caring environment. the teacher is nice and helpful, i made new friends and had a good time. in her class i can work faster and harder with out being worried at all. i love this class so much.
Although I'm not on the same team of her,she is still such an amazing teacher. My dad works at microsoft and he said he has the freedom to work anywhere anytime and that's what i feel like in Mrs.Mili's class. She lets us express our creativity and teaches us a growth mindset.
Mrs.Mili is a wonderful teacher.
that she cares for us and she loves us and she makes us have a lot of fun
I hope you win! She really is a supportive and inspirational teacher. PERIOD.
Mrs. Mili great teacher, because she is nice, she teaches us great, and she makes learning STEM more fun and cool.
She is very nice, one of the best teacher I have ever meet. She's amazing, she accepts me for who I am and makes me feel like I really matter.
I arrived at Ilima Intermediate during the middle of the year and Mrs. Mili helped me fit in with class and feel comfortable with everyone. Mrs. Mili really is a life changer.
I want to thank Ms. Mili for everything she's done for me and for everyone she has for any of her classes. I actually really do wish for here to be my STEAM teacher next year. I know I have been a pain in the butt, but i promise to be better. PROMISE!! :)
I think Ms. Mili is a life changer because she helps us all the ways she can. She supports all of our differences, like if we are a different sexuality. Also, she is a very fun teacher with fun activites, like PLTW and code.org. She wants better for us and our classrooms. She makes sure everyone feels together and belonging. She lets us express our self freely.
Mrs. Mili is one of the nicest teacher in this school. She lets us eat and trusts us. It is really fun to be in this classroom and I always look forward to it. But what I find to be the best about Mrs. Mili is that she understands us. The lessons are fun and always different. I do wish that Mrs. Mili can always be here to teach because when she isn't the lessons just seem worse. Also she knows what we like and tries to do her best to make us all happy. Also FOOD!!! She lets us eat in the classroom even with computers are near by (the trust thing above). Mrs. Mili is and always will be one of the best teachers in this school. :D
I'm Jazlei I'm one of Ms.Mili's student! Ms.Mili is a kind and loving person she is the sweetest person I ever met. Her attitude towards us is very respectful she isn't like all the other teachers she really understands us and cares for all of us she never makes us have bad vibes. Her classroom is very vibrant she teaches our class to have good vibes and to have a respectful attitude each other. Ms.Mili is very funny she likes to make us laugh a lot she teaches with hands on experiments.
Mrs.Mili is an incredible teacher, she shows that she really cares for us and wants the best for us. She has taught me many things in STEM, she is such a supportive teacher and to me I think that is very important.
As one of Mrs. Mili's students, my experience with her is unlike any other experience I had with any other teacher. How her classroom is is inspiring and shows you the personality of her and reflecting you. If you've been one of her student's you have understanding of the lesson, and she makes it more interesting to get you into the lesson
What I like about Mrs. Mili is her positive attitude and how she is always cheering for her students and believing in them. That's what makes her the best teacher so I support her fully since you did the same.
Mrs. Mili is the best teacher i've ever had. She's supportive, she knows when something is going on and tries to help you.
Ms. Mili is a really fun, active teacher. I really like the vibe she gives us during class. She rewards us for our good behavior. The thing I love about Ms. Mili is that she fights for us. In my period we have the most students but we don't have AC. Well we do but it's not working. The school refuses to fix it so Ms. Mili went to the school board and spoke for us to get the AC fixed.
I really like to be in Mrs. Mili´s class because she really helps us when we don´t understand something in STEM. At first, I thought that stem would be a boring class, but come to find out, we do a lot of teamwork and hands on things. She makes learning fun! Her personality is bright and amazing, and that´s what I love about her.
Mrs. Mili is a very loving and caring teacher. She is like no other teacher. She is very positive she always makes my day better. She never gives up on us students she helps us have a successful future. WE love infinity and beyond Mrs. MILI!
I love how Mrs.Mili is nice to us and how she accepts us no matter what. She gives me courage when I'm feeling down. We can be ourselves in this class. We get hands-on projects we enjoy and get to have fun with. I only have four favorite teachers and she is my favorite teacher I had ever had. I have never seen a teacher like her in some years. I wish the next batch of students will love her class as well as her like I do. Thanks for reading my comment.
You are the best teacher in this school you give us excitment and you make us laugh
Ms. Mili is really nice teacher.She lets us eat in class and let us play on the computers.She is also very supportive.So she is a really good teacher.
I think stem class is fun because it's more fun then other classes. Also because we get to do projects.
Mrs mili is really supportive and she is a great teacher and leader
Ms. Mili is the best teacher I have ever had since third grade. I think this because she is very supportive and when we make a mistake she is just even more supportive and she lets us have free days were we can do almost anything and we can eat food and you barley get to do that in any grade so I hope she wins the life changer award so she can replace our bad computers!
This class is fun and Mrs. Mili is a great teacher.
I love her class vibes and how she makes her class feel special. I feel like those are the most important thing about Mrs.Mili, it what makes her special, and my favorite teacher.
Ms. Mili is teaches very different than other teachers. The class environment is fun and the energy that goes through this classroom is happiness and excitement. I get to socialize with others and make friends with one another. Overall she is amazing!
mrs. Mili is the nicest teacher ever
Mrs. Mili is the best because she gets us as students and shes supports us and gives us advice to get better.
Mrs. Milli is a wonderful teacher! She is sweet, Caring, Supportive and very helpful. She give us time to be creative and really cares about us plus she is one of my favorite teachers, When i grow up I want to be just like her!
Mrs. Mili is one of the best teacher because she is really a caring teacher and she really gets us as students and gives us advise in life and school. she is
Mrs. Mili is the nicest and most fun teacher. She cares about all the students she teaches. She also makes us laugh.
Mrs. Milli is an amazing teacher. Everyone should definitely have her as one of your electives. She makes our lessons really fun, and if any of us don't understand then she will make it easier for us to understand. She is the definition of just the perfect person. She has so much love for her students and her fellow teachers here at Ilima. She makes us laugh, although she has a cranky side, she does whatever it takes to still make our learning environment fun. She is real with us, most teachers will be strict and only act in a teacher kinda voice, but Mrs. Milli has a distinct voice which will always cheer up someones day. She understands the struggles that us students have to go through daily. She cares about everyone. If she hears something bad happening in the world, she will always show sympathy towards it. She doesn't load boring and stressful homework on us, but it doesn't mean that she doesn't teach. From the first day at school, I knew that I would love this class, and I was right! This class is one of my favorites and I'm glad I'm allowed to participate in this amazing class. If anyone should win this award, its Mrs. Milli. Thank you Mrs. Milli for everything that you have done for your students this year. We love you !
Mrs. Mili is a really fun teacher. When I first walked in this classroom I was shocked at how there was so many bright colors it was like this class was a rainbow. She is a very supportive teacher, she respects us and our point of view. If I were you i would want her a elective.
Mrs.Mili is a very outgoing person and loves to be around her students. She's always gets us, and if we need help or don't understand something she will help us too. Mrs. Mili can be mean but if your a good and kind person she will be a nice teacher to you. She always makes us laugh.
Her class is like an elephant compared to an ant. As I first walked into the room, the room was just FILLED with colors kinda like a rainbow. But of course, you have to look at the qualities of the teacher, not just the looks. On our first lesson, she was confident , loud, and astonishing. It was a voice that motivated us to keep learning and listening. She encourages us to think outside the box. During further lessons, she lets us socialize with other students which really gets my self-esteem up. She also inspires us with quotes from Martin Luther King and much more other people. She also treats students like humans. No matter if you're gay, trans, or Bi, she will treat everyone with respect. She is the TRUE DEFINITION of a " Teacher that Cares". I can tell she isn't teaching us for the means of money. She is teaching us because she wants us to succeed.
Ms.Mili is one of the most fun, creative, nice, teacher, I have ever met. she makes me love to learn. I have never been so excited to be in a class for a long time. she is the one reason I even come to school. Voting for her would like a thank you form me.
Mrs.Mili is the sweetest kindest most amazing teacher I have ever met she cares so much about her students she always makes us laugh she is a big role model she always is there for us when we need her and she gets all her students and like all teachers she loves her students very much.
Mrs. Mili is one of the nicest teachers here. She lets us express our creativity and she makes us laugh. She gives us prizes if we have exceptional work, and she cares and loves us no matter what.
Ms Mili is a great teacher. She really has a lot of care and teaches awesome and she loves us. She is the best in Ilima.
Ms.Mili is the best teacher in the world. and i like ms.mili as the teacher because she loves us and makes us feel better.
Mrs. Mili is a very respectful teacher to her students, and she is an amazing person in general. She inspires a lot of her students to be better, and shows them that there's a lot of amazing things in the world that they can do as long as they try hard enough. She has an amazing and bright personality and it affects the mood of the class, making the class more enjoyable. She teaches the students hands on and it helps the kids who aren't really interested in school. She teaches us all to be good people and to always be better, she's a wonderful teacher who brightens up not only my day but other students!
Mrs.Mili is a great teacher. Shes nice, supportive, and her way of teaching is helpful. Thats why she should win.
Ms.Mili is the nicest teacher in the world because she lets us do hand on things and lets us play on the computer. also she loves us, she makes us laugh, And makes everyone happy.
Mrs. Mili is the best teacher and she is supper supportive and super understanding.
Mrs Mili is one of my favorite teacher ever!She really cares about us and our health.
Ms. Mili is an awesome teacher! She's hands on, so she works well with tactile learners, and she's funny. I think she is awesome, nice, kind, fun, funny, ect.!
Mrs.Mili is the nicest teacher in the whole GALAXY.
Mrs. Mili is not like any f my other teachers. She gives us stuff and we give her stuff, we get freedom and etc. She inspires me and teaches me to do good
mrs. Mili is the nicest teacher ever
Mrs. Mili teaches like no other. She is super supportive and a wonderful leader, and she inspires me to do great things.
Mrs. Mili is my best teacher out of all my other classes in Ilima. She gives no homework or worksheets unless if we make trouble, she gives us hands-on projects that are filled with fun and information. She is respectful, friendly to us and a unique teacher that I never have in my life.
This teacher is the definition of creative. The lessons we have are very innovative like the foot orthosis we created. Mrs.Mili is chill and lets us be ourselves and even lets us eat in class.
As one of Mrs. Mili's students, my experience with her is unlike any other experience I had with any other teacher. When I first walked into her classroom, her room was extraordinary. Inspiring quotes were posted all around the room, and the room seems like it was decorated with rainbows. Despite the room being a rainbow, her personality is also like a rainbow. She actually respects your opinions, along with showing a vibrant personality, which seems to bring the innovative sides of students, like me. She inspires students to be their best version of themselves and also fill her students with courage. When they leave her class, they will feel a big change, as not only Mrs. Mili inspires students, but she also impacts lives as she teaches others skills they will need in the real world.
There is really nothing other than Mrs. Milli she is such a good role model and the best teacher you can ask for. She teaches me and others so much every time we go in her class. She inspires me so much and I try my hardest to survive all my school years. She keeps positivity in her class and it's just really interesting in her class. She takes care of us and make sure we do our work.
ONE THING I LIKE ABOUT MRS.MILIANTA IS THAT HER CLASS IS THE BEST BECAUSE SHE MAKES US DO CREATIVE AND FUN STUFF. SHE ALSO CARES A LOT ABOUT US.I KNOW BECAUSE SHE SAW I WAS MAD,IRRITATED AND FUSTRATED AND SHE TALKED TO ME ASKED ME WHATS THE PROBLEM I TOLD HER AND SHE REALLY HELPED ME I LOVE MRS. MILIANTA SHES THE BEST.
SINCERLY CYVIC :)
Mrs.Mili is a really good teacher and if I knew her and there waas a new teacher it wouldent be the same so thank you for being our teacher
I really have a lot to say about this cool, amazing, creative and fun teacher EVER!! At first I thought STEM was a really boring and hard subject, but on the first day I took a step into Ms. Mili's class I just had goosebumps running up from my toes all the way to my brain. I really love this STEM teacher I have ever met because she really makes difficult things very easy for us. Ms.Mili made me want to change my future into a more better thing to do. I really love her class (once again) because we do actual work, she respects us, and the way how her classroom looks makes me want to learn more.
MRS. MILI is good person becuse she always help me in my work
Mrs.Mili really cares about she even calls us her own kids like she actually treats us like her own children. She's really creative and she always makes a smile and laugh. She also loves to make her classroom nice and colorful like she doesn't want us to feel like were in the 1890's. Mrs.Mili really loves us she lets us eat in her class, she aslo respects our own opinions.
It is really awesome to have Ms. Milli as an teacher for your class. Ms. Milli will help when you need help, she will know when you are feeling down, and also she will check on people if they would need help. When i'm feeling down Ms. Milli would ask me " what's the problem? ". And, when I non done work she would help me with it also she really cares about us because she gives us food when we are hungry and she has fresh cold water in a jug that we can drink from. Thank you Ms. Milli for everything you've done for me and everyone else. :)
She should be the lifechangeroftheyear winner because she respects one another , she loves to help , she is confident in anything she does , she is really creative , she is thoughtful , she is loving , she encourages everybody to do good , and most importantly she is really funny , chill , cool , and reeaalllyyyy ammaazziinnggg !! <3
Mrs. Mili is our team leader and she is a great role model for our school. When we make mistakes she doesn't teach us to say sorry, she tells us to be better and make better choices. She may not always like our ideas but she sure does respect it.
Mrs. Mili is DEFINITELY one of my favorite teachers. Unlike most teachers, Mrs. Mili allows us to do hands-on learning. We build models, do group projects, and have perfect curricular courses. Mrs. Mili has made my school day more fun and interesting. She is one of the 3 reasons I like school. Thank you Mrs. Mili for all that you do.
Ms.Mili is such a good teacher.She explains things so well and most of the time she will even put another subject in with our learning. she is so loving to her students and cares so much about our future. Ms.Mili is also a hands on teacher she gets that kids need to have a creative day. every thing Ms.Mili does is to help the next generation .
Hi! I’m Leesha and I am one of Mrs.Mili’s homeroom students . Throughout the months, she taught me how to be respectful and responsible in school and outside of school . In my opinion, Mrs. Mili should be the LifeChangerOfTheYear because she respects us as long as we students respect her . So please vote for my awesome, creative, fun, vibrant, helpful, hard-working teacher, Mrs. Mili! Thank You!
Mrs.millanta is a great teacher and she is really fun she makes me and my classmates understand if we don't she is a great person in life and she really gets us she work really hard for us and she is awesome.
what i like about Ms.Mill is that sometimes she would let us eat and do some fun things i never did in school. she also let us play games on computer she also sometimes makes are class have fun days.
Mrs Milianta respects our information and always loves us for who we are and if she knows something is wrong with us than she will ask us whats wrong and just to be our self and when she does that she fills up our happy bucket(learned in a book).She makes us feel like its okay to be us and it dose not matter what others think about us.
It was an amazing experience having Ms. Milli as my first ever mentor teacher. My first few months working with Ms. Milli, she has given me so much support not only with my work studies, but also giving me advice for my future plans. I could see the way she handles her job with a passion and I aspire to be just like her as a future educator. Most importantly, Ms. Milli's positivity is very uplifting so her students know that their teacher cares for them.
Mrs.Mili, the best teacher anyone could ask for, she is such a role model, she teaches us when you make a mistake to say sorry and be better. She is also kind and thoughtful because when we need help she will get out of her way to help us and that shows that she is thoughtful. She is kind because she shares her knowledge and helps us learn and she does raffle with us and gives us food even though you don't win because she knows we did our best in class.
Before I had her class, I thought engineering was this long, boring process that nobody liked to do. But now it's this sort of fun thing where you get to test ideas and get something useful in the end? I don't know how to describe it. But now that it's not this extremely boring thing it used to be, I have a potential job in the future.
There are also a lot of other things she taught us. Team work, being mindful and open to new ideas, and generally being a good person.
I also thought I'd have a terrible time and hate my life in middle school because of terrible teachers, and I'm glad that I don't, and I have good teachers like her.
Another thing I like about Ms. Mili is that she actually listens to you. Even if she doesn't agree, she will actually listen to what you have to say. I like that she does because there are a lot of people who don't, they just interrupt you or say something completely irrelevant to what you just said. She also apologizes and gets to know her students and she's just a really good person.
Within days of meeting Sarah over 15 years ago, I knew immediately she was going to be an unstoppable force of good in the world. She had her eye trained on the ails of humanity and was ready to begin addressing them with a sharp mind, enormous heart, and indomitable spirit and will. As soon as she became a teacher, I knew that was her true calling. Everything in Sarah's life is utterly devoted to the education, happiness, growth, and well being of her students. As a teacher, she's an incredibly effective communicator and an even greater listener. She is constantly seeking out knowledge and tools that make her a better, more effective, and more compassionate educator and uses what she learns to inspire and educate other teachers. Sarah is fiercely protective of the emotional well being of her students and she always trying to find ways in the classroom that enhance her students' lives at home and create a better community. When a child is hurt, sick, or (as happened recently) missing, she springs to action, ready to be there in anyway necessary. A tireless advocate for her students, Sarah's recently been working with her school's Gay Straight Alliance to support LGBTQ+ children. Everything about the way she approaches things in the classroom leaves me in awe. She finds ways to challenge her students academically and creatively - sometimes involving hands-on crafting/building projects of creative, functional, educational tools. Her commitment to getting kids excited about STEAM is unparalleled. She will wear the silly costume, do the little song and dance, make the signs, put on the shark outfit - whatever it takes grab their attention of students or the community. She is a real life Ms. Frizzle and her positivity and passion is truly infectious. In every way, Sarah is a true "life changer" and I'm better for having known this amazing person. I sincerely believe all of her students, past and present, would agree.
I couldn't think of a Teacher more deserving of this award.Than Ms Milianta Sarah because she supports us when we need help and she has a burning passion and dedication to supporting her students Mili goes above and beyond for providing a welcome and warm environment for kids. She works to ensure equity and equality for all and inspires that energy and commitment in other teachers A total life changer not just for her students but not the Community as a whole. Thank you Ms. Milianta for inspiring us all and showing us the way.
I couldn't think of a more deserving teacher to be recognized as a lifechanger of the year. Sarah's passion and dedication to supporting her (and all) students is infectious. She goes above and beyond in providing rich learning experiences and a welcome environment for her students, she works to promote equity and equality for all, and inspires that energy and commitment in other teachers. A total lifechanger not just for her students but for other teachers and the community as well.
Milk is arguably the most dynamic educator I have ever experienced in my entire teaching career. Her enthusiasm and love for educating is contagious and awe inspiring. Her heart and love for the craft is poured into everything she does, and it shows. Everything she touches becomes gold. Furthermore, anyone and everyone she encounters is more enlightened, touched and better off for having experienced her affinity for whatever project or task she’s engaged in.
Ms. Milli is hands down one of my very favorite people I have had the pleasure of working with. Her enthusiasm and positive energy is exactly what our profession needs. Ms. Milli made me a better teacher and every school year I try to be more like her! Any student and teacher she has ever come across will tell you she has impacted their life in a positive way!
Mill is such amazing, selfless, and inspiring person and teacher! Not only does she do so much for her students and school, she shares her passion and excitement with many other educatiors. I have engaged with her in various professional learning settings as well as learn and get ideas and inspiration from her tweets. I feel so honored to be a Hope Street Group Teacher Fellow with her. We are extremely fortunate to have her caring for and teaching for the keiki in Hawaii as well as supporting the whole education community!
When I think about Ilima and someone who is "life-changing", Miss Mili's name is at the forefront. Her passion for everything she undertakes is evident through her actions - gleaming while sharing the accomplishments of her students, advocating to get materials for her classroom, and encouraging her colleagues to get motivated about why we are all here. For our students. Her dedication and hard work in everything that she undertakes is done with all heart. Her enthusiasm is infectious.
It is easy to see the glaring issues in our communities, say things must change, yet do nothing. It happens all the time. Work is too busy, family too demanding, days just too short to get around to making an effort to address the issues not immediately affecting one’s life. Sarah doesn’t see things this way. She treats her community as if it were her immediate family. If a student is suffering, she is suffering. If a person or class is being mistreated, she is being mistreated. What differentiates Sarah from most of us, including myself, is she actually cares enough about her students and her community to take action, fight to fix the issues and push everyone to a better place. Sarah has always been and continues to be a glowing, energetic reminder to everyone who has the luck of knowing her that love is best shown through actions, not words, and Sarah is a beacon of love.
She has such wonderful energy that she always picks me up when I talk to her. I feel inspired by how much she cares for her students and her passion for teaching. She is genuine and creates strong relationships with her students because of this.
Mili is AMAZING!!! Her love of teaching is contagious in her passion for all she sets out to do!! She's always ready and willing to share her love of STEM and offer students opportunities to learn more!! Her dedication to her students, colleagues, education, and humanity is admirable!! The world could use a few more Sarahs!!
Sarah is an amazing educator and mentor. Her actions, voice, and leadership consistently demonstrate her focus on helping others improve their lives and futures. Her resourcefulness, thoughtfulness and dedication enhance the lives of others daily.
Sarah is an amazing educator. She instantly stands out as an advocate for students. Her fun loving and inclusive attitude makes her a great facilitator of group progress. She listens to the needs and wants of her community and does all she can to empower them to achieve aspects of their dreams they didn't even think of. Sarah is a positive contribution to any environment and we are lucky to have her as one of ours!! :-)
Ms. Milianta was my third grade teacher, and since then has been an amazing role model and mentor in my life. If it weren't for her, I know I wouldn't have the same belief in myself or love for things that I do now!
Mili is a rockstar teacher! Forget the extra mile, she goes the extra 10-100 to make a difference in the lives of students. She is always looking for the next opportunity to help her students learn and grow as people, and her enthusiasm is contagious for both kids and adults. The world is much better with Mili in it!
GO Mili! You are a change maker! I am so proud of you!
Mili is the most tireless advocate for children and learning I’ve met in 20+ years in education. Her school and students become her family and she gives them all of her love and energy. We miss her so much in Houston but are glad she is changing lives with you all now!!!
I have known Sarah for twelve years. These years span our entire teaching careers. What has remained true throughout this time is Sarah's unwavering passion to serve others.
Her passion led to the significant academic growth of her 3rd grade students while a classroom teacher. Sarah's passion influenced her strong leadership of our Science and Technology Department. Our school's academic performance among other elementary schools became more competitive. Above all, Sarah's passion has inspired others to exceed what's expected due to her example. I can think of no other person more deserving of such a special honor. Way to go Mili!
So proud of my friend Mili!! A truly inspirational teacher and a great friend!
Ms. Mili is a force and a heart. She is one of the most dedicated people I know, but also always makes time for you on a whim. She has laser focus but also can see the big picture. She is who I want to be when I grown up, honestly. Her actions speak the loudest and her ears and heart are always open.
I've been in the field of education for over 25 years and sometimes you meet someone along the way who inspires you to stay, keep doing what you can, and raises the bar for what a teacher should be. This doesn't happen as often as you think and when you meet someone that has the characteristics of energy, passion, kindness, intelligence and perseverance, you want to stay in their orbit for as long as you can.
Sarah is one of these bright stars. She undoubtedly always, always puts students first. However, she also has the ability to encourage every other educator, parent and community member to do the same.
For every student that Sarah believes she might have impacted, there are hundreds more because of the students she has impacted through her relationships with other adults who also work with students.
Sarah is what being a teacher is all about. She is the teacher students will remember, She is the teacher that other teachers aspire to be. To recognize her as such would be a minimal "thank you" from all those that look up to her everyday.
I have had the honor of getting to know Mili through our work with Hope Street Group, a 2 year teacher leadership fellowship program. As the program's director, I have seen the way that Mili brings her energy and expertise to every convening, and I've seen the way that she's elevated the teachers around her. She is light, inspiration, and all heart. She is truly a lifechanger in the greatest, most beautiful sense of the word. She creates safe, warm, inclusive spaces for all of her students by offering them a place to breathe and be their most vulnerable selves. Their passions become her passions, and she shows them, by example, what it means to be an ally, a trusted friend, a courageous community member. There aren't the right words to justly describe Mili, but I can describe the way she makes me feel when I'm with her. She makes me feel understood, celebrated, and respected. She makes me feel empowered and motivated to try something new and brave. She makes me feel lighter and more fierce all at the same time. She makes me feel hopeful. Because when I'm with Mili, and she talks about her love for each and every child and her commitment to doing right by them, I KNOW they are better because of her. We all are.
Sarah is an amazing human being. She has inspired me to be a better educator through all the lessons,activities, community service and professional development she has done. She serves the teaching profession with kindness and gratitude. There is nobody more deserving of this award than Ms. Mili!
Sarah, aka Ms. Mili, is a true inspiration. Her level of dedication to her students, their families, and communities is unmatched. I admire her resiliency, energy, passion and compassion in how she shows up for her students on a daily basis. To say I admire her is an understatement. Sarah is the kind of educator I wish I had growing up and one that I aspired to be when in the classroom. I’ve witnessed first hand how she changes lives daily not only for her students but for her coworkers, friends and family. Sarah is one of a kind and this award would do her students and her squad very proud!
I was a second year teacher in 2006 in Houston, Texas when I met Sarah. She became my neighbor teacher—and since we didn’t have true walls or doors—we built a symbiotic ecosystem: support, sharing resources, helping with challenging students, and more.
Over the past 12 years—I’ve stayed close with Sarah and watched her grow into what I consider the absolute best, most effective, and most empathetic educator I’ve ever known.
She walks the walks, does all the extra work that no one else will touch, and does it with tremendous potential resolve—because she legitimately cares.
If I was able to hand pick a new US Secretary of Education, I would pick Sarah.
Sarah is the Energizer bunny of teachers. She has endless imagination and strives the help all students, even those who she doesn't have in her class. Everyone deserves a Sarah!
Sarah is such an amazing human being! She’s devoted her life to creating a world full of love. Her energy is contaigous, and the impact she has in the community is undeniable. As a woman, an immigrant, and a mother, I wish this world had more Sarah-s; I’m proud to know a person like her, and I am so grateful that she is a part of my kids’ lives.
Sarah is super cool. She always makes an effort to uplift and empower all of her students. Sarah tries every day to make the world just a little bit better with her optimism, and by cultivating an inclusive, positive environment for her students and colleagues. Glad to have known her as long as I have!
Hooray for Mrs.Mili’s recommendation for this wonderful accolade. When you talk about life changer, that’s her to a T. She gives so much of herself in ensuring that all students have equity and can be their authentic and best self both academically but most importantly in their daily lives. She is simply amazing. I am not sure how she finds the time to get it all done but for her, students come first so she always finds away. She spends endless hours preparing lessons that are academically challenging and yet accessible for her students, participates and organizes professional growth opportunities so she is relevant and cutting edge in her art and her heart is always just filled with love and compassion for all (and well, her brain, that’s filled with caffeine which allows her to have all the energy to make this magic happen). If ever their was a deserving person for a “life changer” award it is her. A million times over, it would be Mrs. Mili.
Sarah is one of those people that you wish your child could meet every day. You can see and feel her joyful spirit the minute she walks in the door. She makes you feel seen, even for the most introverted of people. Our daughter adores her and we're thankful to have Sarah in her life.
Wow! It's great to see others notice what your friends and colleagues get to experience. You are a one man ball of excitementing intellectual and intentional positive growth in ALL that you do. Your heart is made of platinum and is only matched by you endless drive to share via your chosen vehicle of education. You are easily one of the greatest individual examples of someone that stands behind their words with action and outcomes that this generation has birthed. I'm so happy and proud that just a little of that recognition you never let drive you, is finally and deservingly coming your way. YOU ROCK MY FRIEND!!! ?
Ms. Mili is a consistent, powerful force for good.
In the classroom she challenges her students to be creative problem solvers by giving them real-life scenarios and fostering hands-on learning. Her students know to question, reason, collaborate, and persevere through challenges because of how she cultivates her classroom environment.
Outside of teaching hours, Mili continues to lead by example through her compassion. She is always thinking about how she can help our students. Not only does she offer her room as a refuge for students during her break times, but freely gives lunch and snacks to all students in need. As the GSA advisor, she offers her club members a safe space to express themselves, and advocates for awareness and acceptance from our school and community. I have seen so many of our students blossom and grow because of our GSA and Ms. Mili’s guidance.
Beyond the classroom she is a fierce advocate for the disenfranchised. She helps represent our school in our state teachers union and fights to make our students’ learning environments a priority in our district. Throughout the year she marches in rallys to stand for worthwhile causes. She talks the talk and walks the walk.
I am honored to be Ms. Mili’s colleague, and consider our students and school lucky to have her. She is truly changing lives every day.
Even as an adult who works with Mrs. Mili, I can say that she has helped by positively influencing the culture of our school with her positivity and courage to do whatever it takes to make things right.
Sarah is the type of educator whom you would want to teach your own children and whom you would want to work with. She is passionate about empowering her students with STEM knowledge and soft skills like empathy and collaboration. She often spends out of pocket to make sure her students have the necessary resources to succeed, and she does not hesitate to advocate on her students' behalf. Sarah is always there to lend a hand to colleagues, lending her expertise to lead professional developments so that fellow educators can also gain the skills necessary to empower their own students. Thank you to Sarah for being such an inspiring educator!
Mrs. Mili is such a positive, bright light in our school! She is constantly giving to something or somebody...I dont know where she pulls her inspiration or motivation from but it is truly inspiring??
Working with Mili in the past for five consecutive years was amazing! Mili went above and beyond to support our campus Alexander Elementary's, vision. She was a trend setter in Alief ISD as she piloted STEM activities at Alexander & volunteered in multiple organizations. Mili even was a community outreach advocate and wanted the neighborhood surrounding the school to be safer. That passion led to her making phone calls to city personnel about a vacant lot that posed unsafe conditions. Because of her resilient nature and perseverance, she organized a community clean up day inviting students, staff, volunteers organizations and city workers to remove debris from the lot. As of today, that vacant lot is having a brand new home built on it! Just to think of what it was five years ago is nothing short of Mili's dedication going above and beyond to ensure students walking to school are safe. Mili's impact on our campus has allowed students to continue to thrive in STEM, PBLs, coding, 3D printing, Makerspace, a variety of tech tools from grants she's written and our favorite of all, STEM Night! Mili was definitely a life changer for students and staff at Alexander Elementary!
Mrs. Milianta is one of the most caring teachers I've ever had the chance to work with. Her enthusiasm is infectious. Her intellect is unmatched. Her compassion is without comparison.
Sarah’s has so much raw energy and passion that she inspires everyone to be better. Students, teachers, parents, schools, communities, and governments can all follow her lead and the whole world becomes a better place!
I'm the 8th grade STEM teacher at Ilima Intermediate, Hawaii. I am working my 32nd year for the DOE, as a Science Educator. I started teaching at Waianae High, went to Waipahu Intermediate, opened Mililani Middle School, Moanalua Middle, and now Ilima Intermediate. This will be my seventh year at Ilima and my second year teaching STEM.
Ms. Milli... what can I say? She moved here from Texas and I'm not kidding when I say, her heart is as big as Texas. She loves the students and is passionate about their learning. Now, I'm not sure if you've lived here in Hawaii or have ever visited, but it can be kind of a culture shock. Ms. Milli is educating herself on the Hawaiian Culture and embracing it with respect. This respect is reflective in her positive student and peer interactions. On a personal note, I am Hawaiian, and recognize when a "Hoale" is trying to be a "Kamaaina." If you don't know what I'm saying, can you imagine what Ms. Milli hear's on a daily basis. :)
The way I describe Ms. Milli to anyone, "she's literally, all sparkle and sunshine."
Ms. Milli's moved with her husband and two dogs from Texas to Hawaii. She took a significant cut in pay to teach in Hawaii, in addition, to the cost of living here. She has 7th grade STEM and I have 8th grade STEM. It was the first year for both of us teaching STEM, so we were fortunate enough to "click."
Last year, Ms. Milli was the first person to discover a student had runaway from home. She contacted Administration and got the word out by 4pm on the same day the student ran. Through social media and a worried night, the student was found and returned home within 12 hours of running. I've never experienced a teacher so concerned, that I truly believe that student is alive today due to Ms. Milli's diligence. Not only that, Ms. Milli was in contact with the family the whole time via phone and social media. She gave that family hope. The hours in which that family endured for their missing son was only alleviated by Ms. Milli's tenaciousness.
There are so many stories in regards to how much the students love her, but also, Ms. Milli helps give voice to the students that are not seen. The hidden teenagers right in front of us every day. Ms. Milli continues to give students the courage to voice their concerns, because EVERYONE'S concerns should be heard.
This year I have Ms. Milli's students from 7th grade last year. If I had to compare my first year of STEM to my second year, second year would win. Not just because I'm teaching it for the second time, OMG... it's like night and day. I can only say as a professional Educator, I know when students have been respected enough to know how to show respect. My classroom is humming along due to Ms. Milli's hard work on student positive interactions, respect, and showing kindness.
Ms. Milli is a blessing in disguise for Ilima Intermediate students and for teacher. She has invigorated my stuffy old self to a point that it has made me a better teacher. Ms. Milli is a role model for all educators.
FYI - Ms. Milli is making positive changes in our students, in Ewa Beach Community, and with the Board of Education. Ms. Milli is going to change the world, one student at a time!
Mahalo Nui Loa,
Sarah has been an invaluable friend and unofficial mentor to me. We started at Ilima the same year, but she had 12 years of teaching experience to call upon whenever I asked for advice. Teachers and students alike are always coming to her classroom because not only has she created a safe space, but also because she will listen attentively and share with empathy. She genuinely cares for every human being and when she encounters a student (or teacher) with rough edges, she reflects on what she can do to improve the situation and/or relationship. Professionally, she is making waves at our school by involving herself in multiple organizations and groups to help improve the school as well as our community's perception of the school. Personally, she has encouraged me to not give up when things are hard, and has supported me in being more involved in issues I care about within the community. Sarah helps others to be their best selves and has become part of my "family" in Hawai'i, and I know many others feel the same.
Ms. Milianta is an inspirational educator and role model. Her dedication to her students is evident in everything she does. She radiates her positive energy to all who surround her. Her love for education is her driving force. She advocates for teachers and students alike. Ms. Milianta is an exemplary teacher who connects with her students beyond the classroom. She is innovative in her instruction. Her positive impact will be evident for anyone who has had the privilege of working with her.
I am inspired by Sarah every day. Her dedication to her students' academic and social-emotional growth is incredible. She tackles every challenge with positivity and commits to doing all she can to support her students. I am grateful to know her and work with her. Sarah is incredibly deserving of this nomination!
Sarah is an amazing person with a huge heart. She is unfailingly giving of her time and energy to ensure that people from all spectrums of life are treated equally and feel accepted. She is committed to making a positive impact in world through growing all children to be giving, educated, and engaged members of their communities and the world around them.
I have the proud opportunity to be an extended family member of Sarah's. Although we are separated by great distance, she demonstrates such remarkable warmth and kindness, constantly reminding me of my sense of "belonging in family," with her. Her ability to quickly and meaningfully connect with others assists her in establishing intentional, thoughtful, and supportive communities in education. I admire her deeply. She exists as a true model for all of her family members, proving to the younger ones that they can lead, and showing the senior ones that they can listen. The world is truly a better place with her in it.
Undercover Superhero. A real superwoman and inspiration to so many of us.
Sarah Milianta is an amazing teacher and one of my dearest friends. She would do anything for both her students and her coworkers, and strives to build lasting relationships with those in her life. She guides her students academically, while also building them up as strong and compassionate human beings. She really works on teaching the whole child. She is incredibly deserving of this honor. I know she has changed many lives for the better, mine included.
Sarah is one of the most passionate and enthusiastic teachers that I have had the pleasure of working with. She exudes positivity and an eagerness and willingness to put her students first. She does great things in her PLTW classes as many students will attest to. Sarah represented our school at such events as the Schools of the Future Conference, and has also written grants to help fund our new science curriculum. We are very proud to have Sarah as a teacher at our school!
I have known Sarah for 19 years. In that time she has been the most supportive friend anyone could ask for. Her generosity of spirit, dedication to those she cares for, and her unrelenting drive to make the future a place where everyone has an equal chance for success are a constant source of inspiration for everyone who meets her.
Before moving to Hawaii, Sarah was changing lives in Houston, TX! Sarah was part of ONE Houston, an organization dedicated to ending racial and other disparities in education. Sarah constantly showed her commitment to changing the path for students. Sarah was a critical part of initiatives to promote policies that would make discipline fairer for kids, no matter their backgrounds. And, as many have noted -- Sarah is incredibly kind, energetic, and fun as she is changing the world!
Having worked with Sarah for years and seen her care and dedication in fostering an inclusive environment, I feel confident recommending her for this. She has worked tirelessly and bravely to bring positive change to the communities with which she works and inspire those around her. She is truly a caring soul and a catalyst for change. She is the first to jump off the sidelines and get to work when there is someone in need.
I have worked in education for over 20 years. I can truly say that Ms. Mili is the most genuine person I have met. It’s hard to know someone you can honestly say that about. There is so much love that comes from her and she is always willing to help others-ALWAYS! It’s been a true privilege to have worked with her and know her as a friend. This is who you want surrounding your kids!
Ms. Mili is a person that I truly admire! I have never met someone who is as fully dedicated in educating every single student. She is an inspiration of the kind of teacher I would want to be.
Sarah is an AMAZING person! Her dedication to her students and genuine warmth are unlike what you normally see in the classroom. She goes above and beyond, despite an overload of work. I aspire to be a better teacher like her.
I have been at Ilima for 12 years, having started teaching here right out of college and I have never met a more dedicated and loving teacher then Ms. Mili. In the two years she has been at Ilima, Ms. Mili spear headed a new Speech and Debate club, became team leader of her team, took over the GSA when our former head teacher left, helped out with our theater productions, volunteered to go as a teacher to represent the needs of the school at facilities meetings in the late evening, advocated for our school with students at BOE meetings as well as writing to the legislature to testify, and still manages to do an amazing job facilitating the learning of Ilima's students in her STEM class. I am in awe of her passion and drive. Ms. Mili puts the lives of her student's first and cares deeply for her students. She embodies the middle school philosophy of teaching the whole child. On top of this, she knows her craft but is ever so humble about what she knows. As a field, we need more people like Ms. Mili to be in our classrooms. We are so unbelievably blessed to have her at Ilima, as Ms. Mili is a HUGE asset to this school and without her there would be a huge hole. Thank you for all the love and energy you have put into this school. I am forever indebted to you.
Sarah or Mili is a truly inspiring teacher. When we say that a teacher is all about the kids, Mili is that and then some. She backs up her passion for teaching with doing many other types of advocacy for her classroom and for public school students in general. Mili has done many DonorsChoose.org projects for her student, runs clubs at her school, and is also a Hope Street Group Teacher Fellow where she collaborates on things like ECET2, which is a movement to uplift and celebrate teachers and the teaching profession. One thing that Mili always says is that she tries to be the type of teacher that she needed when she was a student; she does that, and then some.
Mrs. Milianta-Laffin exemplifies the attribute of empowering and the importance of equitable learning opportunities for diverse learners through her student-centered advocacy. She has not only been a voice for students but has also empowered underrepresented students to find their voices as she helps fellow educators honor our students' dignity. A prime example of her effort is empowering female students to find their confidence in themselves to persevere through her rigorous STEM courses as well as life's challenges which come in many forms especially during her students' stage of early adolescent development. Just as significant is that for the first time in school history, she has provided a sustainable forum for students who identify as LGBT to share concerns and develop solutions.
Her impact runs deep with everything she is involved with. She commits herself to her profession and students with an unwavering aloha for everyone she encounters. There is no obstacle she is unable to overcome with her students. She models adaptability, resourcefulness and grit like no other. She also models an intrinsic drive to include each member of the school community. Those who know her appreciate the sense of belonging she establishes in all of her relationships. She helps many believe in themselves and have a renewed sense of self-efficacy. Mrs. Milanta-Laffin's energy and drive are commendable! Whether she is taking rigorous PD to ensure her students' quality instruction or facilitating after school tutorials, she still manages to find the time to mentor her colleagues both professionally and personally. I wish I could clone Mrs. Milianta-Laffin!
Thank you Ms.Mili for everything you’ve done for us!! Continue to be amazing!!
Sarah Milianta is one of the most amazing, inspiring people I know. She is a steadfast, loving doer who let's nothing stand in her way toward making positive change in the lives of not only her students but her entire community. Sarah works endlessly to help educate and motivate the children of our future and has been doing so her entire life. She never ceases to amaze me in her unwavering power as an individual. Her students are blessed to have her and so is the world. Thank you for everything you do, Ms. Mili!
You are always there to give a helping hand.