Sills choosing CISD time and time again


Sannidhi Arimanda

Coppell High School AP U.S. government substitute teacher Thomas Sills instructs his seventh period class on Sept. 15. Sills coached girls basketball and track for 16 years at Coppell ISD and is now a substitute after retiring from teaching.

Anette Varghese, Student Life Editor

D212 is a classroom hidden away upstairs, thoughtfully decorated and solely focused on AP government. Above the doorway is a sign written in cursive reading “Ms. Houghton,” but if you walk in the door you see Thomas Sills, one of Coppell ISD’s most requested substitutes. 

“He’s an amazing coach, he coached [at Coppell High School] for many years, he coached football and then soccer,” CHS Principal Laura Springer said. “And he’s an amazing teacher who loves social studies. [Sills] was one of our best social studies teachers and [is] passionate about kids [and] his content area.” 

Sills hails from Irving and graduated from Nimitz High School in 1972. He then enrolled at Dallas Baptist University, initially as a pre-med student. During his second year at DBU, Sills could no longer see himself in the medical pathway, and instead discovered and pursued a love for education. 

Sills has taught world history, U.S. history, government and Texas history, 

Sills accredits his love of history to being well-traveled. While he worked as Neiman Marcus operations manager, he visited China, Europe, Germany, South America and almost every major city in the United States. 

“I would fly out [to a Neiman Marcus store] on Saturday,” Sills said. “Because I loved history and all the cultures of the cities, I would spend Saturday and Sunday exploring the area that I was in. Then I had to be at work on Monday, it was exciting to me to go downtown and see, this is the history of the town.” 

When asked why he chose CISD, he responds that Coppell feels like home. 

Even though Sills and his family live in Lewisville, they attended First Baptist Church (now Gracepoint Church) in Coppell. Sills’ wife, De Anne Sills, works as the CHS9 principal secretary. Their daughters both attended CISD, as Courtney graduated in 2006 from CHS and Chelsey in 2010 from Lewisville High School. Chelsey attended CISD schools through ninth grade.

During his coaching career, primarily as the ninth grade head football coach, Mr. Sills taught his athletes that they were there to be tolerant, disciplined, have fun and succeed. 

One of the many students Mr. Sills had the opportunity to coach is a familiar name to CHS students: CHS’ current offensive line coach and honors algebra II teacher, Allen Oh. 

“[Mr. Sills] was a coach that I felt like you could just go up and talk to, and relate to,” Oh said. “He just wanted us to do well, and never got too caught up in the wins and losses. He just wanted us to just develop into good football players and good students.” 

Oh and Mr. Sills fall into the same category, both being teachers and coaches.

“They’re called student athletes for a reason,” Oh said. “The number one thing is for [student athletes] to get an education first. Academics [are] number one; athletics, however, is number two. [Mr. Sills] is a really good relationship builder, my philosophy is if you build relationships with the kids, then everything else will fall into place.” 

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