Congratulations to the District Teachers of the Year. Jamie Murphy has been selected as the Primary/Elementary District of the Year and Dyson Nickle is the Secondary Teacher of the Year. Both teachers are exceptional in their fields of study and bring the classroom alive for students. They coordinate with the community for extra learning experiences for their students and go above and beyond to create lessons that will last a lifetime.

Jamie Murphy is a Special Education teacher who has taught for 7 years. She has spent most of her teaching career at Coston Elementary as a Resource Special Education Teacher. Jamie originally worked as a paraprofessional in Special Education Classrooms where she fell in love with helping special needs students. She is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education. 

A project dear to Jamie’s heart was Sensory Santa, which gave special needs students the opportunity to meet Santa. Special needs students can become overwhelmed when visiting Santa at the mall due to all of the sounds and lights. Collaborating with Herty Primary’s PTK, Badder’s Law Firm, and Brookshire Brothers, Ms. Murphy helped set up a night of calm environment for Herty and Coston students to enjoy interacting with Santa without environmental stressors. Jamie plans to collaborate with community partners again this year to provide the Sensory Santa experience. Jamie has a son, Jacob Bosquez, who plans to become a Special Education teacher. Jamie’s daughter, Claire Solly, is currently a 7th grade student.

She said, “I strive to bring awareness to our community by hosting events such as Sensory Santa and encouraging students to advocate for themselves. Advocacy is the greatest lesson that I can give my students.”

Dyson Nickle was selected as the Secondary Teacher of the Year. He received his Bachelors of Applied Arts and Sciences degree from Stephen F. Austin State University (SFASU). He taught at Kennard High School, St. Cyprian’s Episcopal School, and Pineywoods Community Academy before returning to SFASU where he completed his Master of Arts of History. He was employed by SFASU as an academic advisor for 11 years. He decided to go back to teaching and was hired at Lufkin Middle School as a 7th grade Texas History teacher. 

He has shared his love of history as a teacher, field trip organizer, and sponsor for both UIL Social Studies and Model UN. He put together a living history event in Groveton, Texas where he brought together living historians from as far away as Illinois to put on an event that has allowed students to interact with personas from the 1860’s. Close to 500 7th grade students attend this event making it one of the largest field trips organized within the district. Mr. Nickle is married to Lena Nickle, and they have three children who are all Lufkin High School alumni.

He said, “I love teaching and I enjoy seeing students (past and present) in our community. I hope the living history, extracurricular activities and our discussions and lessons in class transcend their time with us. Students are required to do more than just learn facts – they must be able to apply their educational experience. I try to make learning as engaging and meaningful as possible.”