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ORLANDO, Fla., July 18, 2019 – Tonight, Governor Ron DeSantis and Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran named Dr. Dakeyan Chá Dré Graham, from C. Leon King High School in Hillsborough County, as the 2020 Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made at an awards gala in Orlando attended by educators from throughout the state who gathered to celebrate excellence in education. Dr. Graham was chosen from more than 176,900 Florida public school teachers.
Governor Ron DeSantis said, “It is my privilege to recognize Dr. Dakeyan Chá Dré Graham as Florida’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. Florida is nationally recognized for its top-notch education system and teachers the caliber of Dr. Graham have made that possible. As he begins his tenure as Teacher of the Year, I offer my heartiest congratulations and know he will represent Florida and the education profession well.”
“Congratulations to Dr. Dakeyan Chá Dré Graham on being selected as the 2020 Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year,” said Commissioner Corcoran. “Dr. Graham personifies the ideals of the education profession and it is my honor to name him as Florida’s top teacher. A world class education lead by a high quality teacher is the catalyst for students realizing their full potential, and I commend Dr. Graham for his innate ability to consistently inspire and motivate his students toward excellence. I look forward to working with him during the coming year.”
Dr. Graham holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Music Education (University of Florida), a Master’s in Educational Leadership (Concordia University) and a PhD in Music Education (University of South Florida). He serves as the Director of Instrumental Studies at his alma mater, C. Leon King High School, where he has been an educator for 10 years. Throughout his time with Hillsborough County Public Schools, his students have demonstrated determination and focus, earning an opportunity to perform in the prestigious Carnegie Hall. Dr. Graham belongs to numerous professional organizations and works in his community to promote and infuse music education into Title I schools.
As the 2020 Florida Teacher of the Year, Dr. Graham will also serve for one year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, working to create greater public awareness of Florida’s exceptional teachers and the education profession. He will have the opportunity to promote and celebrate the countless contributions of Florida’s teachers, provide professional learning opportunities to educators and recruit future teachers into the education profession. Dr. Graham also receives from the Florida Prepaid College Board a 2-Year Florida College scholarship worth $8,000 to give to a student of his choice.
The remaining four finalists were presented with a total of $15,000 from the Florida Department of Education – Megan Crombie from Florida State University School in Leon County; Dr. Nicole Mosblech from Vero Beach High School in Indian River County; Leigh Ann Norris from Hamilton County Elementary School in Hamilton County; and Shane Swezey, from Oak Park School in Sarasota County. The district winners were also recognized for their achievements and excellence in teaching and were presented with a total of $10,000 from the Department of Education.
The Florida Teacher of the Year Program is made possible by these generous sponsors: Florida Prepaid, State Farm, Helios Education Foundation, Florida Blue, Wells Fargo, Florida Lottery, Voya Financial®, Florida Power and Light Company, Universal Orlando Resort, Blue Man Group, Herff Jones, Publix Super Market Charities.
For more about the Florida Teacher of the Year program, please visit Florida Teachers Lead.