1. Gradebook

Tampa music teacher is state Teacher of the Year finalist

Dakeyan Graham is a graduate of and band director at King High School.

Dakeyan “Dre” Graham, Hillsborough County’s Teacher of the Year, learned Wednesday that he is now a finalist for the state award.

The winner of the state contest will be announced July 18 in Orlando.

“The fact that Dr. Graham has repeatedly earned superior ratings from the Florida School Music Association is a testament to his talent and ability to instill in his students a passion for the magnificent art of musical performance," said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran in announcing Graham’s selection as one of the five finalists. "He possesses many qualities that make him an excellent role model, and it is a pleasure to recognize him.”

Graham, 34, serves as the Director of Instrumental Studies at his alma mater, King High School, where he has been an educator for 10 years. He founded the Eastern Coalition of Music Educators; serves as president of the Hillsborough Secondary Music Council; and is a member of the Florida Music Educators Association, Florida Bandmasters Association, Florida Orchestra Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Inc. and the Collegiate Music Educator’s National Conference. In his community, according to the state.

Graham also serves on the board of Instruments of Change, a non-profit organization that works to infuse music education programs into Title I elementary schools; as worship leader and choir instructor at CityLife Church; and as an instructor at two martial arts centers.

Graham holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Music Education from the University of Florida, a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Concordia University and a PhD in Music Education from the University of South Florida.