Jimmy Lee Day II, an exceptional music teacher from Aurora, Colorado in the United States have made history after becoming the first-ever African-American man to win the Teacher of the Year Award of Colorado.
Jimmy Lee Day II was first recognized during a surprise ceremony where he teaches at East Middle School in Aurora in October 2022. Jimmy Lee Day who has been teaching for more than 13 years was however recognised by the Colorado State Senator, Rhodes Fields, in March 2023.
He was invited to the United States Capitol and was given special recognition on the Senate floor.
Jimmy Lee Day II has since 2017 taught at the East Middle School in Aurora, serving as its band director and instrumental music teacher. In his over 13 years of experience as a teacher, he has rebuilt 3 struggling band programs, developing them into award-winning programs that achieved top ratings at district music festivals.
Day said the keys to his transformative teaching have been simple – connection and consistency.
“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,” Jimmy Lee Day II told CBS News.
As the Colorado Teacher of the Year, Jimmy Lee Day said he will continue to emphasize the importance of music for his students this year and beyond.