Jimmy Lee Day II, an African American educator from Aurora, Colorado who has been teaching for over 13 years, has made history as the first Black male to ever be awarded the state’s Teacher of the Year Award.
As part of the celebrations for his achievement, Day was recently given special recognition by Colorado State Senator Rhonda Fields at the state Capitol. It comes a few months after he was honored during a surprise ceremony at East Middle School in Aurora, where he currently teaches, last October.
Since 2017, he has taught at the school, serving as its band director and instrumental music teacher. In his 13 years of teaching experience, he has rebuilt 3 struggling band programs, developing them into award-winning programs that achieved top ratings at district music festivals.
Day said his simple formula for effective transformative teaching just includes consistency and connection to his students.
“From classroom management to how I rehearse my students to how I want my expectations — it’s consistent, it doesn’t change, it’s unbending and then my connection — me making myself human just like you and we make connections,” Day told CBS News.
Moving forward, Day intends to continue giving his students valuable lessons, highlighting the importance of music to them.