NISD Communications

Tom Miller, who led Brooks-Quinn-Jones Elementary as principal for six years before retirement and committed nearly his entire working life to public education, died Thursday after a lengthy illness.

Services are at 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 10, at North Street Church of Christ.

Other than an eight-year run owning and operating a school supply store called “Good Ideas,” Miller could be found in the classroom or principal’s office of a Texas school district.

“Tom Miller devoted his life to education,” said Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo, who came on board at NISD a few months before Miller’s retirement. “I only got to work with him for a short time – and under difficult circumstances because of COVID – but he was a great educator, and NISD is all the better for his time here. He leaves behind a great legacy that won’t soon be forgotten.”

After receiving his degree at Stephen F. Austin State University (where his father Harry was head basketball coach for 10 seasons), Miller got his start in education in 1980 as a teacher at Emeline Carpenter Elementary.

Following a turn in retail, Miller returned to public education in 1992 for Hudson ISD. In 2000, he was named principal of that district’s newly built Peavy Primary School and remained there until 2014, when he came back to Nacogdoches as principal of Brooks-Quinn-Jones Elementary.

At his retirement in 2020, Miller looked back fondly on his career, including his time spent leading BQJ.

“The six years at Brooks-Quinn-Jones have been a labor of love, and it has truly been the most rewarding position I have had in all my years as an educator,” Miller said at the time. “We have great students and staff at BQJ and have become a family.”

Gerald Fonzie, one of Miller’s assistant principals, followed him as principal at BQJ. When Fonzie moved to McMichael Middle School two years later, Amber Wilson – another assistant principal for Miller at BQJ – took over as head principal.

“Tom was a mentor and a friend,” said Fonzie. “When I think of Tom, he was a man of such great integrity. He set such a wonderful example for the community, students and staff. There’s just no way to value how he influenced me and others through the years. I will forever look up to him.”

More than three years after his retirement, Miller’s influence continues to impact the school, Wilson said.

“Mr. Miller’s legacy continues through the staff and students fortunate enough to know him,” said Wilson. “The life lessons, often communicated through what we called ‘Miller-isms,’ will forever be in our hearts, minds and a part of our school.”