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Dr. Dakeyan Chá Dré Graham, more affectionately known as “Dr. Dré”, was recently named the 2020 Florida Teacher of the Year. He serves as the Director of Instrumental Studies at his alma mater, C. Leon King High School. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Music Education (University of Florida), a Master’s in Educational Leadership (Concordia University), and a Ph.D. in Music Education (University of South Florida).
During his 10 years in HCPS, his students demonstrated determination, focus, and tenacity as they earned a performance position in the prestigious Carnegie Hall. While serving as the president of the Hillsborough Secondary Music Council and founder of the Eastern Coalition of Music Directors, Dr. Graham travels around the state as an adjudicator for both the Florida Bandmasters and Orchestra Associations. In 2012, Dr. Graham was a finalist for Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year and a semi-finalist for Grammy Music Educator of the Year in 2013.
He assists in leading worship at citylife church and teaches youth and adult martial arts throughout the Brandon area. His passion is to continue to positively impact the next generation of world changers. He is blessed to share life with his wife, Casey (also an HCPS educator), and daughter, Aaliyah. He served on staff with the University of Florida Fightin' Gator Marching Band as a Graduate Assistant and Marching and Music Technician from 2007 through 2009.
While at the University of Florida, Dr. Graham was actively involved in the men's honors music fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. There he served as the Vice President and Music Director. While Music Director, he expanded the repertoire of the fraternity by arranging various songs. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of South Florida in 2015. He is also an alumni of the King High Marching Lions and International Baccalaureate Program. Under his direction, the band continues the King High School tradition of excellence in music performance, earning superior ratings in concert, marching, and jazz music performance assessments.