(AUDIO) Meet Missouri’s Teacher of the Year 2022


A music teacher who says he’s been called an educator is Missouri’s 2022 Teacher of the Year.

James Young, a musical theater, vocal music and guitar teacher at the Johnson-Wabash Grade 6 Center in the Ferguson-Florissant School District was selected by a committee as Missouri’s 53rd Teacher of the Year. He is the first recipient of his district and graduated from the Ferguson-Florissant School District in 1995.

James Young, Photo courtesy of Ferguson-Florissant School District

Young was chosen from six other finalists for the top prize.

Reality is still sinking for him.

“It’s a little unreal,” he told Missourinet. “This is something I never would have imagined. I, like many teachers, do my best and work hard. There are so many teachers doing their best and working hard. There are amazing teachers, administrators, professionals doing it every day. I am really excited and honored to represent the profession. A lot of good things are happening. I feel blessed and give glory and honor to God.

Young says he didn’t plan to teach at the time. He loved music. His main goal was to be part of a band, to make records and to go on tour.

“But I really felt like there was a bigger plan for my life,” Young says.

It was Young’s grandmother who noticed he had what it takes to be a great educator.

“She told me years ago, before I knew what I was going to do, she said, ‘You have the patience to be a teacher.'”

And the rest is history.

Fifteen years after beginning his teaching career, Young has impressed the Missouri educational community with his musical and educational talents. He has established partnerships to collaborate with organizations and provide high quality arts education to his students and the school community.

He has worked with organizations such as St. Louis Dancing Classrooms, St. Louis Classical Guitar, Strings Attached, and LIFE Arts Inc. Young teaches group classes and is a member of the board of directors of the non-profit organization Suzuki. Harmony STL, and he’s a young leader in his church.

“As the nation and the world continues to grapple with a pandemic, we must make sure that we support students with the tools necessary to be healthy citizens while also uplifting them to be problem solvers of the future, ”Young said. “We must rise to the challenge that lies ahead, answer the call to help create classrooms and communities where our students can learn and grow, with a sense of love, acceptance and belonging. “

Over the year he wants to tell the world how great things can come out of Ferguson.

“Great things can come out of our surrounding communities. Unfortunately, a lot of times I’ll just be honest, there is a stigma. There is often a stigma around public education. Not everything is perfect all the time like most things, but there are some great teachers here. There are great students doing amazing things. There are great organizations ready to support and help students and build community, ”he says.

Young will represent Missouri in the National Teacher of the Year program.

To hear the interview with James Young, 2022 Missouri Teacher of the Year, click below.

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