EU Alumni Perspective: Gavin Miller
Name: Gavin Miller
Graduation Year: 1993
Major: Business Management
Current Position: Assistant Superintendent of Dexter R-XI Schools
City and State: Dexter, MO
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
After graduating from Evangel University in 1993, I went to work for our family-run business. My mother’s side of my family owns, runs, and manages nursing homes across the entire state of Missouri. I went to work in Fredericktown, MO for ClaRu Deville Nursing Center, a new nursing home that my mother and father had recently built. Being new to the business and having aspirations of helping run the company one day, I had to start in the maintenance and laundry departments… pretty humbling for a young, aspiring recent college graduate. I wasn’t very happy, but I knew that I had to learn the business inside and out. During this time, my heart continued tugging at me about what God might really have in store for me in my future. I continued working for my family for two more years before finally realizing what God wanted for my life and the direction he wanted me to go.
In the fall of 1995, I enrolled back at Evangel University to begin my path of earning an education degree. Coach Keith Barefield was kind enough to allow me to be a “graduate assistant” and help coach football while going back to school. Three short semesters later, I graduated again from Evangel University and landed my first job in education in the fall of 1997.
My educational path has landed me in New Madrid, Sedalia, Bernie, and Dexter, MO (twice). I spent 14 years coaching. I coached football, boys and girls basketball, wrestling, baseball, and track. I’ve been the Athletic Director, Assistant Principal, Sophomore Academy Principal, Head Principal, and now the Assistant Superintendent. I am currently in my 25th year in education and I have loved every day of it. A professor from Evangel once told me “if your feet aren’t running when they hit the ground in education, you need to get out.” I’ve been running for 25 years.
In 2009, I earned my master’s degree and two years later my specialist degree. I have been the Assistant Superintendent at Dexter R-XI Schools since 2016. I oversee technology, transportation, grounds and facilities, custodial, and maintenance departments. I am also in charge of the overall hiring of personnel and staff.
Allowing God to guide and direct my path and open and close the doors he intended has given me the fulfilment of helping guide, coach, and direct young people as well as be a light in this dark world. By following his will, I was able to meet my beautiful wife, Kristin. We have three children, one son-in-law, and two grandchildren. Maddy and her husband, Davey, live in Cleveland, MS with our two grandchildren, Eva and Wyatt. Maddox is a senior here at Dexter High School and Jaxon is in 7th grade.
What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
Most of my favorite memories have something to do with the Neighborhood and K3S. The friendships and relationships I found on that floor were what made my Evangel experience the greatest. Playing “Risk” with Brendan, Rob, Alan, and Rog til 3:00 am is probably something I remember the most. Also, beating Baker University 43-42 on the last play of the game in 1992 is a great athletic memory for me.
How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?
I grew up in the Assemblies of God all my life, but going to Evangel helped me realize that a greater, deeper relationship with Christ helps fulfill your life. “Letting go” with worship and not being ashamed of what God might have for us in the middle of chapel was something that seemed to happen regularly. Christianity is bigger than just my home church; Evangel made me realize that our world is vast and our God is an incredible, almighty God!
How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?
I believe the experience of living and being around so many different people from so many different backgrounds, cultures, Christian walks, etc. gave me the ability to adapt to the world beyond Evangel. Growing up in Dexter, MO I was not given the opportunity to interact with the diversity that the world has to offer. I am grateful for the experiences Evangel offered and am blessed to have been part of a wonderful community of believers during our most moldable ages.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
The workforce has changed so much since I went into it in 1993. It’s changed even more so in the last few years (but that’s a whole different conversation). I would say that being skilled in a vocational area is extremely important if you have not chosen a particular career. But more than that, I believe students need to have self-motivation, be very driven, show initiative, have computer skills, be able to critically think, and be a team player. Remember that while at Evangel, you are preparing not only for the professional world but also to be a missionary, whether here or abroad.
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?
As the Assistant Superintendent of Dexter R-XI Schools, hiring is something I oversee. Above looking for someone who has experience in education, I would expect an Evangel graduate to be prepared for the workforce, able to communicate with people, and able to manage time well while also having the intangibles of the Fruits of the Spirit. When calling their references, I want to hear not only about their “educational background” but also that they are patient, kind, generous, and show joy and peace.