Marshall special education paraprofessional Troy Dean earns Crystal Apple award

For the past seven years, Troy Dean has been a special education paraprofessional educator.
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 6:38 PM CDT|Updated: May. 10, 2023 at 7:00 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - More than 50 nominations were submitted for NBC15′s third Crystal Apple recipient because of the way he shows up not just for all students in the Marshall Public School District, but also for his community.

For the past seven years, Troy Dean has been a special education paraprofessional educator.

“I’ve worked at every school in the district at one point or another, but high school’s my home,” Dean said.

Troy Dean
Troy Dean(Troy Dean)

Dean works with students one-on-one, including students like Senior Jack Schuster’s brother, Wyatt.

“Having a special needs brother, seeing the way that [Dean] can make my brother’s face shine is incredible,” Jack said.

Dean explained that he works in the school with students of all abilities. His reach is evident by the many notes stuck to his door.

“I myself or any student can come and pop in his office if we need support, and so a lot of it just comes down to caring for us and wanting us to be successful,” Jack Schuster said.

Junior Olivia Ackah explained that she grew up in Marshall and felt that there was a lack in representation of teachers of color in her schools.

“Having [Dean] here has had a very big impact because I have someone to look up to, I feel like I have someone to relate to my personal struggles and to my stories,” Ackah said.

“I know being the only black educator in the whole school district, there’s a certain responsibility that I have,” Dean said. “And there’s just some situations where I know how they’re feeling, I know what they’re going through, just because I’ve been there myself.”

Jack Schuster noted how Dean does a lot for the school and the community. Through Dean’s team Daze Entertainment basketball, he has worked with many groups and nonprofits. This includes the MS Society, Boys and Girls Club, American Family Children’s Hospital, and most recently, he created the Marcos Dominguez Scholarship Game. Dominguez was a local firefighter who passed away a few years ago.

“I said to myself, I want to take things further,” Dean said. “I want to do a scholarship in his honor.”

Troy Dean
Troy Dean(Troy Dean)

Dean said the event isn’t just a game, it brings the community together.

“You get to see your educator, or your local firefighter on a basketball court, having some fun, having some laughs, you bring the whole family and that’s what it’s all about.”

Dean is turning the little moments into big successes, in and out of the classroom. He’s also the quarterback coach at Madison La Follete High School.

He models a lot of his behaviors on one of his mentors, the late Milt McPike, who was principal of Madison East High School for many years.

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