Jimmy Lee Day II, the band’s manager and instrumental music teacher at East Middle School at Aurora Public Schools, was named Colorado’s 2023 Teacher of the Year in a surprise ceremony Friday, according to a statement. release from the Colorado Department of Education.
As Teacher of the Year, Day will represent the entire profession in Colorado and be the public face of Colorado teachers. He will be entered as a Colorado nominee for the National Teacher of the Year program competition. Day, along with the nation’s other teachers of the year, will be honored at a special ceremony at the White House and have the opportunity to attend NASA Space Camp. He would also become a member of the Colorado Commissioner of Education’s Teacher Cabinet.
“Jimmy stands out for his commitment to his students and his willingness to teach music to all students, even if they are not initially inclined to learn an instrument,” said Jacquelyn Brown, Acting Principal of East Middle School in a press release from the Colorado Department of Education. “He knows that students need to have something they are passionate about in their education. His zeal for music is contagious and helps ignite a spark in students that he continues to rely on to keep them engaged. It’s very clear that what he instills in them, what he teaches, goes beyond the music.
Day has taught at East Middle School since 2017. Over 13 years as an educator, Day has rebuilt three band programs, turning them into award-winning programs that have earned top marks from district music festivals. Through his effective teaching, Day has become a highly recommended educator to participate in the Public Education & Business Coalition and the Aurora Public School Mentoring Community of Practice.
He received his Bachelor of Science in Music from Tennessee State University and his Master of Arts and Education from Trevecca Nazarene University.
Day was one of seven finalists for the award, and the others included Scott Wheeler of Poudre School District RE-1, a choir and drama teacher at Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School in Fort Collins.