Dr. Dakeyan Graham

Award-winning and GRAMMY-nominated educator, Dr. Dakeyan Chá Dré Graham, advocates for student, educator, and parent empowerment and opportunity as the Director of Educational Equity and Outreach for Alachua County Public Schools. CEO and Founder of Re-Imagining Equity and Learning (R.E.A.L.), he actively travels the nation delivering keynote speeches, professional development seminars, and workshops in the educational, instructional, musical, and DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access) spaces. He is also widely sought out as a music clinician, having worked with band and orchestra students and ensembles across the southeastern United States. The 2019 Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year, Dr. Graham 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. Following his selection as the 2020 FLTOY, he went on to advocate for all of the students of Florida as a member of the executive cabinet and senior staff at the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE). In 2022, after serving for two years as the Executive Director in the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice for the Florida Department of Education, Dr. Graham transitioned to support turnaround schools throughout the state as the Executive Director of School Improvement. As an avid equity champion, he also served as the Vice Chair of the Florida Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, as a member of the education committee and chair of the mentorship committee. During this time, he founded the M.M.A.A.N. Up! (Male Mentors of African Americans Network) Statewide mentorship program initiative. He was also appointed by the governor of Florida as a Commissioner for the Florida Commission on Community Service in 2021, where he presently serves as chair of the Volunteer Services Committee and a member of the National Programs Committee. Dr. Graham also serves on a number of boards that directly impact the provision of opportunity for our world’s future leaders, including: University of Florida Alumni Association Board of Directors (Machen Florida Opportunity Scholarship and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committees member and a Regional Director), Instruments of Change Board of Directors (President), Florida Association of Teacher Educators Board of Directors (Regional Director), The University of Florida Association of Black Alumni (President-Elect), the Community Foundation of North Central Florida Equity Task Force, Gentlemen’s Quest Tampa Board of Directors (Vice Chair), King High School Alumni Association, the Florida Music Education association Board of Directors (Emerging Leaders Committee Chair), and the Florida Bandmasters Association (Health and Wellness Chair). A proud product of Hillsborough County Public Schools, Dr. Graham served as the Director of Instrumental Studies at his alma mater, C. Leon King High School in Tampa, FL, where his teaching responsibilities included leading the KHS Marching Lions, conducting the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic and Concert Bands, Jazz Bands, Symphony Orchestra, Chamber, Symphonic, and Concert Orchestras, Percussion Ensemble, and supervising the Lionettes Dance Team. 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. Dr. Graham holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Music Education (University of Florida), a Master’s in Educational Leadership (Concordia University), a Doctorate of Philosophy in Music Education (University of South Florida), a Doctorate of Education in Learning Design and Performance Technology (Florida State University), and a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Instrumental Conducting (University of Florida). 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 quarter finalist for Grammy Music Educator of the Year in 2013 and 2020, respectively. He was acknowledged as a 2020 Life Changer of the Year award recipient by National Life Group. Dr. Graham has been honored as a 2020 USF Outstanding Young Alumni Award Recipient, one of 40 Gators Under 40 in 2021 for his work in the field of education, and was inducted into the C. Leon King High School Hall of Fame as a member of the Wall of Pride for distinguished alumni in 2023. Dr. Graham is blessed to share life with his wife, Casey (also an educator), and daughter, Aaliyah. His passion is to fight for ALL students to have an equitable educational experience tailored to their unique and individual needs in order for them to purse the best version of themselves, especially those furthest from justice. He works to continue positively impacting the next generation of world changers.