OC Teacher of the Year: Mickey Dickson

Claire Chien and Abigail Fang

Northwood science teacher Mickey Dickson was named one out of the six 2021 Orange County (OC) Teachers of the Year in an online ceremony on May 20. 

There are so many excellent teachers in Orange County, and it is an honor being a part of this group,” Dickson said. “We continuously learn from each other day in and day out.”

Having been a part of Northwood’s staff for the past 18 years, Dickson is the Science Department Chairperson and one of the founders of the school’s Forensics Core (FORCE) program. He spends his time not only teaching but also developing new curriculum that emphasizes problem-solving, self-assessment and connections between different concepts. 

“Mr. Dickson takes the time to ensure that every student understands the concepts fully,” FORCE student junior Brendan Choi said. “I think that it really shows how he’s crafted his teaching style through his experience as an educator.” 

Previously named the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year, Dickson was among the 58 nominees for OC Teachers of the Year. 15 were named semifinalists, and six were selected as the finalists. 

The final ceremony adhered to social distancing guidelines and was held online through a video conference, where family members and the county department surprised the teachers. Other figures present included Northwood principal Leslie Roach, County Superintendent Al Mijares, award sponsor Schools First Federal Credit Union and colleagues. 

Each finalist will be formally honored through a banquet at the Disneyland Hotel in November and will participate in the selection process for California Teachers of the Year starting in August. 

As for Northwood’s science department, Dickson and his colleagues will continue to encourage students to take part in the science and engineering practices. They also plan to expand the FORCE program’s community involvement by bringing in more guest speakers. 

“I just want to emphasize how grateful I am to be working in IUSD and Northwood,” Dickson said. “I look around campus to see what other teachers are doing, and I am just amazed. It forces me to really elevate my game. I love it.”