Home Press Release Minneapolis educator Tracy Byrd is 2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Minneapolis educator Tracy Byrd is 2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. May 5, 2024 – Tracy Byrd, a ninth-grade English language arts teacher at Washburn High School in the Minneapolis school district, is the 2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Tracy Byrd

Byrd is the 60th recipient of the prestigious award, and the third from the Minneapolis district to be named Minnesota Teacher of the Year. An independent selection committee representing Minnesota leaders in education, business and government chooses the Teacher of the Year from individuals who are nominated and who then choose to become a candidate.

Byrd, a graduate of Washburn, came to a career in education later in life. In 2008, he left a career in the financial field to work in the Wayzata school district, first as a hall supervisor and a coach in football and track and field. During that time, he decided to pursue a teaching degree. He enrolled in a teacher licensure program and took a position as an achievement specialist to prepare him for full-time teaching.

Upon receiving his teaching credentials from Metropolitan State University in 2017, Byrd chose to return to his alma mater to teach.

Providing fair access to education for all students, something Byrd found lacking in his own experience, is his teaching goal. “True access to education can change the trajectory of a student,” he said. “It could be the spark that ignites the flame for a young student into a field they didn’t know existed. To me, that is the purpose of education: Not to give them something they already know, but to show them something new and authentic so they can learn and grow.”

“Tracy Byrd is the epitome of excellence and integrity in public education,” said Katie Murphy-Olsen, an English as an additional language teacher at Minneapolis Edison High School, in her nomination letter for Byrd. “His dedication to the students at Washburn through educating, coaching, advocating and leading is palpable in his work. He exudes a dynamic energy, a kindness to all, and he is incredibly supportive to fellow educators and the Minneapolis community.”

Education Minnesota, the 84,000-member statewide educators union, organizes and underwrites the Teacher of the Year program. Candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers, ECFE and ABE teachers from public or private schools. The Minnesota Teacher of the Year Program also receives support from the following organizations: Aviben, Education Minnesota ESI, Educators Lifetime Solutions, EFS Advisors, Harvard Club of Minnesota Foundation, Tradition Mortgage and Expedition Credit Union.

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