David Byrd is a seventh generation Florida native who grew up in Lake and Polk Counties. He was born near Polk City on February 9, 1953. His father, Cephas Byrd, worked in area citrus groves, on ranches, and at a sawmill. His mother, Avylois Beach Byrd, worked in the school lunchroom and later as a school custodian.
David attended Davis Elementary School in Groveland, Auburndale Junior High, and Auburndale High School. He is a 1971 graduate of Auburndale High School and Travis Technical College (then Polk Vocational School). After high school, David enlisted in the United States Air Force where he achieved the rank of Sergeant (E-4), worked in the communications field, and attended the University of Tampa on a part-time basis.
After being discharged from the Air Force, David earned an associate of arts degree from Polk State College and a bachelor of science degree in agricultural education from the University of Florida. He later completed a Master of Agriculture degree from UF.
David began his teaching career at Plant City High School in the spring of 1978. He transferred to Polk County during the summer of 1978 and taught at Ridge Technical College, Lakeland High School, and Doris Sanders Learning Center. A teaching position opened at Auburndale High School in 1985 so David returned to his alma mater and taught there until 2001.
While teaching high school, David served as an FFA Advisor, Senior Class Sponsor, and worked on several school committees including the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation committee, the Faculty Advisory Committee, and the Library Book Review committee. He also served on the Historical Committee which helped restore the Historical Baynard House in Auburndale.
In January of 2001, David was hired as a Teacher Resource Specialist/Trainer in the Workforce Education Department at the Polk County Schools district office. His duties included managing the local budget for agricultural education, industrial education, teacher assisting, criminal justice, and firefighting programs. He was instrumental in helping develop many of Polk County’s Career Academies.
Numerous awards and recognitions have been presented to David for his service to the field of education. He has been recognized as the Doris Sanders Learning Center Teacher of the Year, Polk County Vocational Teacher of the Year, Polk County Agriculture Teacher of the Year, Florida FFA Honorary State FFA Degree, National FFA Honorary American Degree, Florida Association of Agricultural Educator’s Lifetime Achievement award, and Polk County Farm Bureau’s Lifetime Service award. He was recently inducted into the Florida FFA Hall of Fame.
After retiring from the Polk County School District in 2013, David taught a GED preparation class for East Area Adult School and currently teaches as an adjunct instructor at Warner University and the Hunger Education and Resource Training (HEART) Institute.
David Byrd decided to run for elected office to Polk County School Board because he is concerned about the future of education in Polk County. He has school aged grandchildren and he wants them to have the best possible educational opportunities. David also believes that most teachers and support staff are over-worked, under-paid, and under-appreciated. There is currently an acute shortage of teachers and bus drivers in Polk County Schools. David Byrd will emphasize recruiting, retaining, and respecting school employees.