One Central Georgia educator is on a very special list. Dominique Nichols is a finalist for 2018 Georgia Teacher of the Year. Yvonne Thomas went to Westside High School to meet the teacher who students say gives them confidence to succeed.
Dominique Nichols is the voice students hear over the intercom every morning. “I actually went here in the 9th grade, and the classroom that I teach in is the classroom that I took geometry in,” said Nichols.
Inside of the classroom, he's not afraid to get his students in line. “With Mr. Nichols, you kind of feel like family,” said 10th grader Jhaylona Towns. “It's a good learning environment and he makes education not just about books. He teaches you to have fun and also be successful,” said 10th grader Anton Dunhim.
He also gives them confidence to chase their dreams. “Two years ago, I sat down and said I want my students to be different I want my classroom experience to be different,” said Nichols. So Nichols wrote down ten affirmations that his students recite every day. “It's more personal, “ said Towns. “So you can believe in yourself and who you are as a person.”
And because of his passion and outstanding work in school, Nichols is one of ten finalists for Georgia's 2018 Teacher of the Year. “It is extremely, extremely humbling,” said Nichols. “But I choose not to make it about me. It's about the 32 students that are sitting to the left of me at this moment.”
Nichols say his true reward is seeing his students go to college, knowing that he had a part to play in their journey. “It's so much bigger than me,” said Nichols. “And I choose to share my platform with others.”
Nichols started teaching at Westside High School in January 2013. He's currently teaching World Literature to sophomores and Advance Placement Literature and Composition to seniors.
According to the Georgia Department of Education website, if Nichols is selected for this honor, he will serve as an ambassador for the Georgia Public School System. This isn't the first time that Nichols is being honored for his outstanding work in the classroom. He was named the 2017 Bibb County Teacher of the Year last fall.
Nichols is the second Bibb County Teacher of the Year to be named a finalist for the state title within the last three years.