For the second-consecutive year, Garland ISD is being recognized at the state level for excellence in physical education. Joining Dahlia Royal, who was named Texas’ 2017 Middle School PE Teacher of the Year, Chris Nichols from Luna Elementary School was recently selected as the 2018 Elementary School PE Teacher of the Year by the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance.
To receive recognition, a teacher must first be nominated. An application is then submitted and a panel of former winners chooses the next honorees. Nichols’ notification letter touted his talent, as well as contributions to and leadership in the profession.
A leader is exactly how GISD’s Health and Physical Education Coordinator, Louise Gartrell, describes him as well.
“He is a leader in Garland ISD, the state of Texas and the nation,” she commented. “In GISD, he assists with staff development and grant writing and serves as a mentor for fellow physical education teachers. For the state of Texas, he has served as TAHPERD Early Childhood Chair. He also regularly attends TAHPERD leadership conferences, annual conventions and summer conferences. He will even be presenting at this summer’s TAHPERD Region 5 and 6 Workshop in Arlington. Chris has presented numerous professional development sessions at the local, state, and national level as well.”
In the classroom, Gartrell says Nichols holds his students to high expectations, which is why Luna Elementary has been Garland ISD’s top campus in raising funds for the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart program for the past two years. Nichols also brings passion and purpose to every lesson and seeks ways to integrate technology and real-world applications. His all-inclusive classroom gives all students, regardless of their fitness levels, the chance to learn about their health and enjoy moving.
This November, Nichols will be recognized among his peers at the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance’s annual convention in Galveston. On Sept. 11, GISD’s Board of Trustees recognized him with an Evidence of Excellence award.
“There are several people who have helped me throughout this journey,” said Nichols. “First, I was blessed to have such great parents. And, my wife Michelle is here also. She supports me through all these things. To my professional family—Mrs. Gartrell and the kind words she had for me—what she does for Garland ISD is amazing. And then to my professional family at Luna Elementary—Principal Wilkerson and Dr. Sanders—what a great, healthy environment they provide. They make it fun to work there.”