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Terrell, TX

September 6, 2019 | Andrew Hurst

At just 24 years of age, Micah Rice found himself in a predicament—one that would alter the course of his life.

Like many college students, he fell in love and short of graduation, got engaged. This left him with a tough decision to make. It was a decision that would impact not only the trajectory of his career but his future family.

He decided to change his major.

As a secondary education English major at Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) , he knew all about the long, grueling process of student teaching. More importantly, he knew the salary that student teachers receive—nothing. Micah’s lifelong passion was teaching but he knew the safer option was to switch his major to English. This would allow him to avoid the student teaching process and immediately seek job opportunities after graduation to provide for him and his wife.

A few years later, Micah found himself in an office supervising numerous employees. He was the HR Director for a large company, respected amongst his fellow co-workers, and financially secure. For many business professionals, this is the definition of success.

However, sitting in his corporate office, Micah was unfulfilled. He was willing to trade it all to follow his true passion—teaching. So, with the support of his family, he took a leap of faith and left his corporate job to pursue his teaching certification. In the fall of 2015, he began his teaching career at Herman Furlough Jr. Middle in his hometown of Terrell, Texas.

Micah’s pursuits came to fruition this past August when he was announced as Region 10 Secondary Teacher of the year . Region 10 spans ten North Texas counties, serves over 130 school districts and encompasses 56,000 teachers.

As the recipient of this award, he is now one of twenty teachers in the running for Texas Teacher of the Year .

“I can’t even begin to fathom how many phenomenal educators I was up against,” said Micah. “At my campus and district alone, I am surrounded by so many who deserve recognition for their efforts, so to be acknowledged there, and to move on and be recognized as the Region 10 Secondary Teacher of the Year, there truly are no words.”

Although Micah was stunned by the announcement, his colleagues and administration were not so surprised.

According to a press release from Terrell Independent School District, Michael French, Superintendent of Terrell ISD, said, “I have been doing this a long time, and Micah Rice is the best I have ever seen. When you love kids and have his work ethic and passion, great things happen for students.”

Micah’s favorite component of teaching has always been establishing relationships with his students.

“Each day I get to encounter and engage students who will one day be our future politicians, preachers, teachers, attorneys, mechanics, doctors, and so forth. What an honor it is to get to play a small part in helping them find their way. It keeps me excited and looking forward to each and every day.”

Micah Rice, Texas Teacher of Year Candidate with wife Olivia Rice and their son
Micah with wife, Olivia, and their son, MJ

Micah stated that his decision to pursue teaching is the result of the positive influence of teachers and professors in his own life. He mentioned in Terrell ISD’s press release that it was during his time at SAGU that he realized teaching in a classroom was about more than textbooks and test scores, but rather a mission field on which he could help change the lives of students.

“It was always about having a heart for people – that’s probably the greatest thing about SAGU to me. While the worship experiences were great, and the classes on theology always stretched my beliefs, everything we did was to glorify the Lord so that He could be made known. It’s the same reason I teach. It’s about having a heart for people.”

“Having a heart for people” has shaped Micah’s career. After all, it was his heart that led him to pursue a different career path for his family after college just as it was his heart that influenced his decision to get back in the classroom. It’s why he doesn’t just teach—he invests and believes in the God-given talents and individual callings of each of his students.

Ultimately, it is his heart that has led him to his recent recognition as Secondary Teacher of the Year.

“I am blessed to be able to engage with students every single day who are looking for something more.  My approach is to do everything I can to show each student that they are valued, that they were created by a creator, and that their life has a purpose far greater than they can imagine.”

The winner for Texas Teacher of the Year will be announced during the award ceremony on October 25 in Austin, Texas.

To learn more about SAGU’s Bachelor’s Degree in English, Language Arts, and Reading (Middle and Secondary Education), click here .

As a leading Christian university, SAGU educates and prepares individuals who want to serve Christ and others. SAGU helps students discover and develop their God-given callings in a Spirit-empowered, learning community.

We believe in affordable tuition, made possible in part through the financial support of donors who embrace the mission of SAGU and the importance of affordable, accredited programs to train Christians for leadership in ministry, business, education, and service.

Most majors are available in-person in Waxahachie, TX, and online through a wide range of associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

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