Shelli Miller sat at a conference table in her office, where every paper was in place, every book perfectly aligned and pictures of her family strategically placed on her desk.

Shelli Miller sat at a conference table in her office, where every paper was in place, every book perfectly aligned and pictures of her family strategically placed on her desk.

The new principal at Hoffman Trails Elementary School said that while everything is in order within the confines of her office, the same isn't always true at home.

"The thing that I often tell people about my house is that Ava and Luke own the house and they just let Brett and I live there for fun," she said. "My house is a house where kids play and run around and do things."

Shelli is often known as Brett Miller's wife since he has taught math in the Hilliard City School District for 12 years.

Drew Sprouse, who came with Shelli to Hoffman Trails from South-Western City Schools, is one of the few people in the district who knows her as Shelli.

Shelli and Brett first met and became friends when they attended what was then Hilliard High School. They dated during their college years before going their separate ways.

In 1992 Shelli started teaching English at what was then known as Hilliard Middle School, where they reconnected after Jeff Reinhard put the math and English offices together to conserve space.

"We attribute Jeff Reinhard for matching us back together," said Shelli. "Jeff did a reading at our wedding."

Shelli, while still residing in Hilliard, went to work at Delaware Hayes High School for a couple of years. Then she made the move to South-Western for nine years before being hired in May to come home to work.

Heading up Hoffman Trails is strange since she and Kim Hoffman were friends in school.

After she and Brett married they lived one house away from Kim and her parents.

Today, Shelli said her house backs up to Kim's.

Shelli, who is accustomed to driving 40 minutes to an hour and a half to get to work on a daily basis, said it a joy to live in a location where she is three minutes from her school and three minutes from Darby Creek where her daughter and son attend classes.

Being a former student of the district, a resident of the community, the spouse of a teacher and a parent of children in the district gives Shelli a leg up as a new principal.

At the same time, she is determined to learn everything she can about her staff and what they view as the strongest characteristics within the building.

On the advice of Patrick Callaghan, who worked in Hilliard before going to South-Western, Shelli asked every staff member to write her a letter. She composed the first portion and they filled in the blank telling her what gives them personal pride.

Custodian Roger Spires turned in his letter early.

"'My fondest hope and desire is that you succeed,'" Shelli said reciting the letter. "'If you succeed, we all succeed.' That tells about the character of the people that work at Hoffman Trails."

Brett is known by graduates of Darby High School for uncharacteristically jumping on the table and dancing for them to ease their fears about testing.

"Brett is really the mature one in our relationship," said Shelli. "I love to play. I was the class president, but I was class clown."

At Bowling Green State University, she said, she was the mascot Frieda Falcon.

Some of her fun-loving nature spills over into the schools when she pulls up a seat in the classroom next to the students, takes out paper and pencil and shares in an activity.

She and Drew dyed their hair purple during a food drive at South-Western and another time she brought snow into the building when students could not go out.

Shelli wants every parent to feel like their child is known. They also need to know that their children are loved, protected and safe, she said.

"This is like Disney," she said, "it's the happiest place on earth."