TERRELL, Texas — Five years ago, Terrell ISD teacher Micah Rice, took a leap of faith and left his corporate job to pursue his longtime dream of becoming a teacher.

On Thursday, August 1, amidst hundreds of North Texas educators, he was named Region 10 2020 Secondary Teacher of the Year. Region 10 spans ten North Texas counties, serves over 130 school districts, and encompasses 56,000 teachers. As a Region 10 Teacher of the Year, Rice is now one of twenty teachers in the running for the State of Texas Teacher of the Year.

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

“I am proud to have Micah on our staff,” said Jay Thompson, Terrell High School Principal. “We are better everyday because of his desire to ensure all students feel like they are apart of something bigger to make themselves better.”

Rice, a Terrell native and a 2003 graduate of Terrell High School, began his teaching career as a seventh grade English teacher at Herman Furlough Jr. Middle School in Fall 2015. His classroom sat directly across the hallway from his former middle school English teacher and mentor, Cynthia Candler. In a video interview with Region 10, Rice paid tribute to his former teachers, specifically Candler, as an educator who greatly influenced his passion to teach.

“I am a teacher, because I had great teachers,” said Rice. “She legitimately changed my life. She invested in me, she bought into me, and I just wanted to one day be able to do the same.”

Visually stunned upon hearing his name announced as the winner, Rice shared that he never expected to receive such a tremendous honor.

“I am extremely humbled,” said Rice. “Teaching is the most rewarding thing I have ever done, so to be recognized for that is hard to fathom.”

Rice earned his Bachelor of English and Master of Organizational Leadership from Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) in Waxahachie, TX. 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.

“Southwestern helped lay a foundation and instill in me the concept that no matter your career choice, you can make a difference in someone’s life,” said Rice.

Also honored at the event for her outstanding achievements last school year was Terrell ISD Elementary Teacher of the Year, Katherine Berger.

“I could not be more proud of Ms. Berger for representing Terrell ISD as our Elementary District Teacher of the Year,” said Superintendent French. “As a second year teacher, she has already achieved incredible success in her classroom and on her campus, and I look forward to her future accomplishments.

District and Region 10 and 11 Teachers of the Year, including Berger and Rice, will be recognized during an on-field presentation before the first pitch at the Texas Rangers baseball game on Friday, August 16 for Teacher Appreciation Night.

Editor's Note: Forney High School's Sarah Cypert was one of two finalist, among 58,000 candidates, for secondary Teacher of the Year. Forney ISD had previously named her Campus Teacher of the YEar for 2018-19.