Ellen Dixon Miller '75

The Springside Alumnae Association presents this year’s Distinguished Service Award to Ellin Dixon Miller ’75. This award recognizes an alumna or volunteer who through her or his unselfish devotion to Springside School and now SCH Academy has made an outstanding contribution to the school community.

Ellin was one of a handful of Lifers in her class, starting at Springside with 4 yr old kindergarten. According to her classmate and dear friend, Vicki McNeil Le Vine, Ellin’s years at Springside included playing badminton in the REC, and then later painting it; camping out in the CHA wrestling room when the senior camping trip with CHA was cancelled due to snow; and enjoying a ropes course that Outward Bound placed on campus.  They had posture class and took sewing and typing and wore those “dreadful ginormous blue bloomers” under their tunics for gym class. Vicki says “She was a loyal and kind friend and surprised me with a birthday party one time and really got me. We spent vacations and summer camp time together, learning French, jacks, cards games, riding (she way better than me) and making balsam scented pillows.”

Ellin was a trailblazer in every area of her life. At Springside, she was early in the concept of applying to do independent gym as an exemption from required squad for her riding, which everyone knew she was so talented. While a student at Cabrini College, Ellin won the U.S. Dressage Federation Grand Prix national championship in 1981 and was a member of the team that competed in the 1982 World Championships. She was a candidate for the United States equestrian dressage team that competed in the Pan American Games in Venezuela and the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. She was also former president of the United States Dressage Federation.

She does not ride competitively now, but continues to be influential in that realm through her support of Vinceremos in Florida. The practice and time she dedicated to advancing her riding skills has recently been redirected to ballroom dancing, with a lot more glitter and style.

Ellin’s talents translated well into the classroom as an esteemed and excellent teacher during her 13-year tenure at the Benjamin School in Florida. Her years as an educator included work in both the Lower School and Middle School levels where she was dedicated to molding the minds of these young students.

Ellin’s generous spirit and strength is emblematic through the simple emerald ring that adorns her finger which was worn by her great-grandfather as he helped his wife into a lifeboat on the Titanic. Over the years, Ellin herself has been Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s gem as an all-star volunteer at Springside and now at SCH. Ellin has served two tenures on the Springside Board of Trustees and has served as Trustee for SCH Academy since 2011, where she has been on the Investment and Enrollment Committees, and is currently Co-Chair of the Development Committee. Ellin has led the effort as Co-Chair of the Capital Campaign and her work is evident as we have witnessed the transformation of our campus including the state-of-the-art McCausland Lower School & Commons. Ellin’s dedication to her alma mater is steadfast and unwavering. She is attentive to detail, dedicated to her committee work and she makes every effort to participate and contribute with thoughtful advice, travelling frequently from Florida.

Her classmate and fellow Trustee, Stacy Perper Methvin, shared “I never would have thought that 30+ years after graduation, we would work together on the Board. Her generous spirit and insights from her years of being involved in education were immediately evident in all that she did on the Board. She graciously agreed to help with the Investment Committee given all of her experience and, of course, was the natural leader for Development. She and I shared the challenges of travelling to Board meetings, juggling plane flights, while squeezing in visits with family in the area. Once in the Boardroom, she was focused, direct, and helped to drive the results we needed. Ellin is a wonderful role model for other alums who have talents to give back; regardless of where you live, you can make a difference. Ellin has done just that and SCH is the recipient of her generosity as I have been since we were fifth graders.

Ellin’s lifelong friend, Patty Billock, was thrilled when she heard that Ellin was receiving this well deserved award. Patty shares “It seems like only yesterday that we graduated from Springside, and even harder to believe that we will celebrate our 45th reunion next year! I always love getting a text from Ellin, "I'm in town for a meeting at SCH - any chance you're free for dinner?" and we spend a couple of hours catching up - which often includes reminiscing about some of our "finer" Springside moments! We are all beneficiaries of Ellin's extraordinary service to Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and I am so happy to be here to celebrate this wonderful award with her.”

Vicki McNeil Levine so eloquently shared  “Ellin is one of those people who takes on a responsibility with careful consideration: will fulfill and exceed expectation if she says yes, and do it without fanfare or agenda, fully understanding good practice. She is a person who evidences the best mix of traditional values, giving back to the community,  and integrity, while embracing change.”

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