Success honored: FBLA instructor Miles receives Advisor of Year award

June 2021 Posted in Community, People, School

By Melissa Wagoner

Riane Miles — courtesy of Riane Miles

Riane Miles didn’t set out to teach business classes. A graduate of Oregon State University, she has a Master’s Degree in Agriculture Education. But when her alma mater, Silverton High School, reached out to her and asked, “What do you think about teaching business?” She thought – why not try something different?

Never someone to do a thing halfway, Miles took the bull by the horns, getting her Career and Technical Education license in Business and becoming the school’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) advisor.

“I did FBLA here in Silverton,” she explained. “So, I knew how important that experience was for me and I knew how important it was to grow that in Silverton.”

That first year the club had 30 members. But Miles knew she could do better. And so, she did, growing the membership to a whopping 80 members at its peak in 2020 – prior to the closure of schools due to the pandemic – and becoming the largest club in the state.

“It’s so much extra work,” Miles said of the endless hours she spends at events, chaperoning students on trips and overseeing monthly community service projects. “But that’s what it takes to grow a program.”

All her hard work did not go unnoticed, at least not by senior FBLA member Bridgette Hawker, who – along with other students – nominated Miles for the 2021 Advisor of the Year Award.

“I was one of at least a few who sent in nominations,” said Hawker. She first had the idea to nominate Miles during the State Business Leadership Conference held in Portland in 2019. “I sent one in and then asked other officers/members to nominate her as well.”

And they did, first contributing letters of recommendation and then setting up an in-person award ceremony to compliment the virtual one held this year.

“I was doing the sound,” Miles, who never imagined she would be this year’s recipient, recalled. “Then they announced my name and my team came in with all this stuff.”

It was a much-needed boost to a year that has been incredibly difficult.

“All my scheduled community service events were canceled,” Miles said. “Everything is virtual.”

But even with the changes, Hawker believed Miles deserved to be recognized for all of the hard work she’s put into the program prior to the pandemic and since.

“[T]he Advisor of the Year is someone who works hard for their students constantly,” Hawker said. “Someone who encourages and supports students, someone who is inspiring. That’s exactly what Mrs. Miles is…. She pushes students to do the absolute best they can… She sacrifices her own time for her students, and she does the best she can to make sure her business classes are enjoyable and to make sure that our FBLA chapter offers something for everyone and is inviting to all.”

Miles’ efforts have paid off, with two freshmen participating on state championship teams and eight more qualifying for nationals. She’s looking forward to next year, when events will once again be held in-person.

“… I’m looking forward to having students back in the building and getting them back involved,” Miles said.

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