Skip To Main Content

Select a School

Washburn's Tracy Byrd is 2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Washburn's Tracy Byrd is 2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Tracy Byrd, a Washburn High School ninth grade English language arts teacher, has been honored as the 2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year!

Byrd is a graduate of Washburn High School and came to a career in education after he left the financial field in 2008. He worked in the Wayzata school district as a hall supervisor and a coach in football and track and field. During that time, he decided to pursue a teaching degree, 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.”

Byrd is the 60th recipient of this prestigious award and the third from Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) to receive this recognition.

Out of 159 candidates there were 11 finalists including Byrd’s Washburn colleague, social studies teacher Jason Jirsa.

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.

Check out these great features on Mr. Byrd:

Star Tribune

MPR News

Sahan Journal