A Kind Heart

Students remember teacher’s love

By Ruth Wright
Staff Writer

May 2003) – Time has not dulled the many fond memories of Phamy (Mullikin) Amin.
The 83-year-old retired teacher, known as “Miss Phamy” to her students, taught school in Trimble County, Ky., for 36 years.
The third child in a family of 12, Amin grew up in central Kentucky. She began attending school at age 4 while living with her grandparents in Rockcastle County. Even at such a young age, Amin walked more than a mile to school by herself each day.

Phamy Mullikin Amin

Phamy (Mullikin) Amin

“I had to walk through a cemetery, but I wasn’t scared,” said Amin, “I guess I was just taught that there was no reason to be.”
Amin said her first career goal was to be a nurse but that she soon decided she would rather teach. To fulfill her goal, she attended college for two years, all that was required at the time, and soon took a teaching position in rural Trimble County.
Amin recalled her early days teaching in a one-room school house beginning in 1948, where she taught grades 1 through 8.
Later, the school was closed and Amin transferred to Milton Elementary, where she taught until her retirement in 1984. While at Milton, Amin taught sixth and seventh grades and finally first grade for the last 22 years of her career.
Amin said she enjoyed teaching children the fundamentals, like reading, spelling and math.
Frequently, her first grade students out-ranked others in the county in their math test scores, Amin said.
But although she was a proficient teacher, it’s Amin’s kind heart that is best remembered by most of the students who passed through her door.
One former student, Dana Cassell, remembered her first year of school in Amin’s class. “She really loved kids, and she didn’t mind giving hugs,” Cassell said.
Amin also remembered Cassell. “She sat on my lap the whole year,” Amin recalled. Cassell, a teacher herself for the past 18 years, followed in Amin’s footsteps. She currently teaches first grade at Bedford Elementary in Trimble County and said Amin was the kind of teacher she aspired to be. “She was one of the role models I looked to when I was growing up,” Cassell said.
Cassell wasn’t Amin’s only protégé. J.W. Sachleben was taught by Amin from 1952 to 1954 at Milton Elementary, where he later became principal in 1971. Sachleben worked as principal of the school for 12 years before becoming Trimble County’s Superintendent of Schools in 1983.
Sachleben also had good memories of Amin. “She did a good job of teaching but was also interested in you as a student,” said Sachleben, “She always went above and beyond.”
Sachleben, who had the unique experience of being both a student and colleague of Amin, said that she was well respected by both students and peers. Fellow Milton Elementary School teacher and friend, Catherine Yager, remembered Amin’s hard work and devotion, both in and out of the classroom.
“She really worked hard, I don’t know of anyone who worked harder than Phamy,” said Yager, now retired.
In addition to teaching, Amin drove a school bus, worked for HeadStart, raised a garden, took care of animals, milked cows and raised two kids of her own while helping out other families when she could, Yager said.
She was also devoted to finishing her education, which she did by attending school on Saturdays at Spalding University in Louisville, where she graduated in 1963. Amin lived in Trimble County for most of her teaching career. She married her second husband, Amiel Amin Sr., and moved to Madison, Ind., in the early 1970s. She currently resides at The Waters of Clifty Falls in Madison.
Three of Amin’s grandchildren, Todd, Kevin and Jeff Mullikin, still reside in Trimble County, while two others, Mark and Kim Pinkerton live in Marion, Ind.

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