Ferguson-Florissant music teacher is Missouri's teacher of the year

James Young of the Ferguson-Florissant School District has won the 2022 Missouri Teacher of the Year award, the state education department said Tuesday.

Young teaches musical theater, vocal music and guitar at Johnson-Wabash Sixth Grade Center. He is the first teacher from the north St. Louis County school district to win the award, which is voted on by a committee of teachers and education leaders.

Young's commitment to music education over a 14-year career includes partnerships with groups like St. Louis Dancing Classrooms, St. Louis Classical Guitar, Strings Attached and LIFE Arts Inc.

Young also teaches group lessons at Suzuki Harmony STL, where he is a member of the nonprofit's board.

“As the nation and world are still battling with a pandemic, we need to be sure that we are supporting students with the tools necessary for them to be healthy citizens while lifting them up to become the problem solvers of the future,” Young said, in a statement. “We must take the challenge before us, answering the call to help create classrooms and communities where our students can learn and grow, with a sense of love, acceptance, and belonging.”

Young, of Ferguson, served in the U.S. Army and sang with the U.S. Army Chorus during his tour in South Korea. He and his wife have seven children.

Young will go on to compete in the National Teacher of the Year program.

Last year's winner was also from St. Louis County — Darrion Cockrell, a P.E. teacher in the Lindbergh School District.

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