Dr. Dakeyan Graham

Dr. Dakeyan Chá Dré Graham, the 2019 Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year, was selected in July 2019 as the 2020 Florida Teacher of the Year, representing 74 school districts and more than 195,000 teachers. During the 2019-2020 school year, Dr. Graham was on sabbatical from teaching and served as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education. In this role, he toured the state delivering motivational speeches and workshops focused on empowering teachers to create the most impactful learning experience possible for their students. He currently is serving as the Executive Director in the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice for the Florida Department of Education. As an avid equity advocate, he also serves on the Florida Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, as a member of the education committee, and was appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis as a Commissioner for the Florida Commission on Community Service.

A product of Hillsborough County Public Schools, Dr. Dakeyan Cha’ Dre’ Graham recently served as the Director of Instrumental Studies at his alma mater, C. Leon King High School in Tampa. 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). He is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Learning Design and Performance Technology at the Florida State University and a DMA in Conducting at the University of Florida. During his 11 years in HCPS, his students consistently demonstrated determination, focus and tenacity as they earned a performance position in the prestigious Carnegie Hall.

Serving as a past 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 and quarterfinalist for Grammy Music Educator of the Year in 2013 and 2020, respectively. Dr. Graham has been honored as a 2020 USF Outstanding Young Alumni Award Recipient and one of 40 Gators Under 40 in 2021 for his work in the field of education.

Dr. Graham is blessed to share life with his wife, Casey (also a former educator), and daughter, Aaliyah. His passion is to fight for ALL students to have an equitable educational experience while continuing to positively impact the next generation of world changers.