Biography: Tyrone E. Winfrey Sr.
Tyrone Earl Winfrey Sr. was born on June 6, 1959 to Earl and Doris Winfrey in southwest Detroit, Michigan. Tyrone, his sister, Gail Winfrey, and the family lived in southwest Detroit until the mid-1960s, when the family moved to the Bagley neighborhood on the northwest side of Detroit.
Tyrone attended Hampton before matriculating to Cass Technical High School. At Cass, Tyrone played varsity football, helping lead the Technicians to three, undefeated records. Cass was also the first place where Tyrone met the love of his life, Janice Marie Floyd (Winfrey). Tyrone’s life was forever transformed when he was baptized in Jesus’ name on January 25, 1976 at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan. He received the gift of the Holy Ghost on July 24, 1977. Tyrone became a member and served as Deacon at Greater Grace Temple for the remainder of his life.
Tyrone graduated from Cass in 1977 and went on to study Organizational Communication and play football at the University of Wyoming. Tyrone graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1982.
Tyrone’s foundational purpose to help others began with his work as a Probation Counselor, serving youth who were in the juvenile justice system. After launching his career, Tyrone and Janice wed on April 11, 1987 at Greater Grace Temple. Tyrone and Janice went on to have 3 children, Tyrone Jr., Lauren and Chad. With all of the love, energy and passion that Tyrone dedicated to young people across our country, he went even further for his wife and children. He was the consummate husband and father.
Tyrone continued his career at Michigan State University, where he rose to the role of Admissions Counselor. At Michigan State, Tyrone leveraged his position to expose Detroit area youth to higher education with relatable and authentic experiences. On any given fall Saturday, Tyrone would lead busloads of Detroit youth to East Lansing for a tour of the campus and a football game. He tirelessly worked to “take the university to the people” and relay to youth, parents and families that there was a world-class education available, 1.5 hours from Detroit.
Over the next 14 years, Tyrone worked in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Michigan, rising to Associate Director and Detroit Admissions Office Director. Tyrone’s time at Michigan was transformative for countless youth, families and the university. According to application numbers, Tyrone recruited, evaluated, helped or admitted approximately 15,000 potential undergraduate students during his time at Michigan. Many former students have mentioned their encounters with him in the halls of their high schools, remembering his passion for Michigan and his interest in their future. While at Michigan, Tyrone doubled down on his efforts to better education in Detroit, serving as an elected official on the Detroit Board of Education from 2006 to 2011. Tyrone rose to become the President of the Detroit Board of Education.
Tyrone left the University of Michigan in 2011 to serve as Chief of Staff and Ombudsman/Director of Community and Parent Engagement at the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan. Tyrone worked towards the vision of a statewide “system of schools” in Michigan, redesigning public education in Michigan’s lowest performing schools. In his final act, Tyrone joined the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) in 2019, serving as the Executive Director of Community Affairs. At DPSCD, Tyrone’s love for youth and community were at the forefront of everything that he did. His crowning achievement was the inaugural “Come Home” Alumni Hall of Fame Gala, a now annual celebration for DPSCD alumni to re-connect with each other, their schools, the school district and the City of Detroit.