First Lady invites Newport father, educator to State of the Union Address

Among the group were two Tennesseans, including Maurice “Dion” Dykes.
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 11:36 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - First Lady Jill Biden invited more than a dozen guests to join her in the viewing box for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday. Among the group were two Tennesseans, including Maurice “Dion” Dykes.

Before working as an educator for Knox County Schools for the last 15 years, Dykes, of Newport, spent three decades as a graphic designer. He told WVLT News, he got to a point in his art career where he wanted to do more.

“In my spirit, I felt there was more that I wanted to pursue,” Dykes said.

He is currently enrolled at Lincoln Memorial to earn his Masters of Education degree to transition into a teacher through a Registered Apprenticeship program. The opportunity is by way of one of the pathways funded by Tennessee’s Grow Your Own plan. The U.S. Department of Labor approved the program, which has welcomed individuals to further their education for free.

Last year, the First Lady met Dykes during her visit to Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Academy to learn how states and school districts were recruiting and hiring qualified educators.

Dykes said his introduction to the program and the First Lady changed his life forever.

“It has changed my outlook on life and it has taught me so much about being an educator,” said Dykes. “I want to give back, at this part of my life, to young kids.”

Dykes is set to graduate in August and said he plans to retire with KCS when it is his time.