Houston County's new Teacher of the Year is no stranger to success.
Amanda Miliner excelled as a graduate of Warner Robins High School and placed in the top three finalists of the 2006 Miss America pageant.
Now, she's shining at the head of a very large class.
Most every face in the crowd, that stretched to every side of the Miller-Murphy-Howard building at the Georgia National Fairgrounds, belongs to a teacher.
There's more than 2,000 of them in the Houston County School System.
Of those, 38 were named as the best teacher at their school. A handful made the top ten list.
Just one could be Houston County's Teacher of the Year. That's Miller Elementary's Amanda Miliner. This year, she will teach fourth grade gifted students.
Miliner said, "Teaching for me, it's like I'm just meant to do it. I love it, love it. Even on the hard days, I love it."
It wasn't always her calling. She started out majoring in psychology and tried an entertainment career.
She said, "I went through like a mid-20's crisis. I was at Barnes and Noble with a bunch of self-help books, trying to figure out, 'What am I supposed to be doing with my life?'"
Miliner says prayer lead her to the classroom in Houston County schools. She graduated from Warner Robins High in 2002.
She said, "Life is short. We need to make every day matter. With teaching, you do."
Miliner says she learned that from the people surrounding her. Many of them taught her when she was a student.
She said, "With me winning, even though I've only been here four years, I feel like they feel they're winning, too, because they have had such an important part of my life."
It's a graceful way of accepting the honor. Miliners had experience with that, too.
She took the stage 2006, representing Warner Robins and the state in Miss America.
Next Spring, she'll take her Houston County honor to Atlanta, in the running for Georgia's Teacher of the Year title.
Miliner says she plans to make education a lifelong career, whether that's in the classroom or a future role as an administrator.
The Teacher of the Year honor won her a prize package valued at $13,000, including a car to drive for this school year.