Margie Chumbley is an institution where Nacogdoches Independent School District is concerned. The longtime teacher spent 58 years in public education, including 33 years as a substitute for NISD.
A generation of students in Nacogdoches have come to know Chumbley when she filled in at McMichael and Mike Moses Middle Schools, Nacogdoches High School as well as the district’s alternative high school. It was only fitting last year that the district named the alternative high school the Margie Chumbley Academy For Success.
The district celebrated the renaming with a ceremony in May 2022 honoring Chumbley. District officials described her impact on young lives in Nacogdoches, and she was presented with a flag that had flown over the state capitol in Austin, courtesy of state Rep. Travis Clardy. A portrait of Chumbley is now displayed in the lobby of the school.
Chumbley is a Nacogdoches native; and within her lifetime, NISD desegregated its schools. Chumbley graduated in 1954 from E.J. Campbell High School (the Black high school in Nacogdoches named for another longtime educator) before receiving a degree in education from Butler College in Tyler.
From there, she had teaching stops at Northside Elementary in Cleveland, Texas, (where Chumbley was the school’s first Black teacher following integration), and Brooks-Quinn-Jones and Emeline Carpenter Elementary here in Nacogdoches. Chumbley also served as the lead teacher at Head Start pre-kindergarten.
Chumbley went back to school and pursued more education at Texas Southern University in Houston, an all-Black school at the time. Later, she attended courses at Texas Woman’s University and Stephen F. Austin State University following integration of both schools, and spent a year at San Francisco City College in California before returning to Texas.