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Teacher in the Spotlight: Jacob Garrison

By Christian Weaner

Jacob Garrison Science Boundary County Middle School

Jacob Garrison, Science

Boundary County Middle School

Jacob Garrison never intended to be a teacher. Despite coming from a long line of educators—most notably his grandparents, Keith and Gladyce Coble, who were stalwarts in the Boundary County School District (BCSD) for many years—Jacob did not have the desire to follow in his family members’ footsteps.

Then, after enlisting in the Navy right out of high school and serving six years, traveling across the United States, pursuing a graphic design degree, switching majors to psychology and working in construction and restaurant management, Jacob finally realized he had some soul-searching to do if he ever wanted to find his “[true] calling.”

“I realized that in every job I have ever had, I inevitably ended up as the trainer,” Jacob remembered. “It dawned on me that I was already a teacher … my grandparents were right.”

Jacob explained, “This epiphany was a life changer. I truly felt a calling to this profession, and more specifically, I felt the calling to do it here [in Bonners Ferry]. This is where my roots are, and I want my branches of the family tree to be rooted here too.”

Jacob grew up in Boundary County from the time he was 8 years old. His family lived in a remote area off the Moyie River near Eastport without electricity or running water. It was a challenging way of life, but the simplicity of Jacob’s childhood, combined with his fascination for science fiction and technology, instilled a strong imagination within him that still drives him to this day.

While earning his teaching credentials, Jacob worked as a substitute teacher and ultimately became a full-time science teacher at the middle school level. He also helped to found Boundary County Middle School’s robotics program and continues to lead talented teams of students at the state and national competitions each year.

“Robotics is more than just a sport, it truly is a team-based community,” Jacob emphasized. “Former members have gone on to jobs in cyber security, A.I. technology development, tactical drone piloting, or are working for engineering firms or places like Ames Space Center.”

Aside from teaching, Jacob loves to spend time outside gardening, hiking, swimming, and enjoying what he considers to be the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets in the world here in Boundary County. Jacob’s indoor hobbies include playing board games and video games with his family, as well as freelance graphic design work, teaching coding to his daughter, and developing gluten-, dairy- and sugar-free meals alongside his wife.

Jacob never would have imagined his life coming full circle in the way that it has, but his life experiences and imaginative personality have allowed him to make an impact that goes far beyond the classroom.

“If I can help expand a student’s understanding of the world through science, great,” Jacob concluded. “However, if I can help a child see the amazing person that they are inside, that’s powerful.”

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