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DPSCD's Soldier of Student Education: Tyrone E. Winfrey Sr.

Tyrone E. Winfrey Sr. was born on June 6, 1959, and little did we know he would become a lifelong advocate, leader, and liaison for Detroit's children. He graduated from Cass Technical High School in 1977, and went on to study Arts and Science, Corporate and Organizational Communications at the University of Wyoming. Mr. Winfrey also studied Education at Wayne State University and was pursuing his Ed.D. at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Mr. Winfrey was a lifelong learner and leader as admissions coordinator and director at both of Michigan's top universities. He often recounted how he helped thousands of Detroit students attend college at the University of Michigan and Michigan State. We have confirmation with countless stories from young people thanking him for helping to jumpstart their career.    

Mr. Winfrey served as a Detroit Public School Board Member as the President, and Vice President from 2006 -2011. He also worked in various roles at the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan from 2011-2017. He launched Le Tour Detroit in 2017 and then returned to Detroit Public Schools Community District to serve in the Office of the Superintendent.   

If you have ever had the privilege and honor to get a daylong guided tour with Mr. Winfrey in his Cadillac, consider yourself lucky. He loved the City, he loved his family and his extended family - Detroit's children. He would pray fervently for their safety and, with that same strength, he would fight for their rights in and out of the classroom. He would often say, "For the children, repeat your name, we just gotta do it. Let's make it happen, y'all."   

And those of us who were given the distinct charge to act on behalf of the children, including the Superintendent, acted with urgency. We trusted his wisdom and counsel. He was always a beacon of light and a source of encouragement. Mr. Winfrey was once at Burton International classroom standing in for a teacher. He’d say we must serve in all roles to help students and support teachers. He served, he gave, he fought, and he loved all the students!   

He made us all better, he kept us positive and focused even during his battle with cancer, when he successfully organized and directed the inaugural DPSCD Come Home Alumni Weekend and Hall of Fame. We knew we were on borrowed time and everyone from across the nation came and made history!  

Mr. Winfrey held the line right up until his last days. Although his voice was growing weak, you could hear his conviction in his soul as he shared his disappointment in the upcoming election, he said we must do what's right for children. Hearing this, we all have a part to play, to ensure Tyrone's legacy lives on by our intentionality and unapologetic focus on the children and ensuring they have the best future possible under our watch. 

Mr. Winfrey loved his wife, three children and grandchildren. We as a DPSCD family share their great loss as we extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences.

For more, please watch a Special Tribute to Tyrone Winfrey (Video):