Wayde Byard: Mild Mannered Public Information Officer, or Legend? You decide.

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Written by Adeline Furlow

The man, the myth, the legend: LCPS Public Information officer Wayde Byard. Famous across Loudoun County for his early morning phone calls alerting students and their families of snow days and other important occurrences, Byard has become a mascot of sorts to students throughout the county. Although he’s been the subject of countless memes and is a beloved symbol of the school system, people know surprisingly little about the man behind the legendary baritone voice.

Byard had many experiences before leading up to his work for the Loudoun County Public School system. Byard was raised in New York and New Jersey and had two other siblings. He attended Westminster College and even studied abroad for a semester in Vienna, Austria. While studying there, he worked at a concert arena and helped set up the stage for acts such as David Bowie, Queen, and Billy Joel. He later went on to the University of Missouri and studied journalism.

Byard accomplished a great deal in the field of journalism before becoming the school system’s Public Information Officer in June of 2000. “I was in print journalism for more than 20 years. I covered crimes and court, government, sports, wrote obituaries and edited copy. I was the sports editor and assistant managing editor at the Winchester Star before coming here,” said Byard.

Byard has many duties as the Public Information Officer. In addition to recording the infamous phone messages for LCPS snow days, Byard also takes care of video and internet content, media relations, and crisis management for the school system. He says that his favorite part of his job is interacting with students and staff, and he is always awed by how dedicated the LCPS faculty is to their jobs and their students.

Byard has gained legendary status in recent years, especially during the many snow storms that have affected operations throughout Loudoun County. Students and staff alike look forward to hearing Byard’s voice on the robo-call they receive announcing school cancellations. Freshman Ryan Maad suggests that people love Wayde Byard because “he represents a break from the constant workload that school delivers.”

Outside of school, Byard is a screenwriter and author, saying, “I have a separate life away from my job.”

When asked what has been the most surprising way that families in Loudoun have embraced his role in their lives, Byard answered, “The fact that they treat me like a celebrity. I’ve been around a lot of celebrities, and I certainly don’t merit that kind of treatment.

Mr. Byard thinks that the memes made about him and snow days in Loudoun are fine as long as they aren’t mean or offensive.

“As long as they’re funny and people get a laugh out of them, I have no problem with the memes.”

Junior Rozlan Basha admires Byard because of the hope that he brings to students and their families. “It’s his voice and the message he bestows across Loudoun County. The tenor in his voice brings a soothing, yet joyful emotion to everyone that picks up the phone and hears his ‘Good morning, this is Wayde Byard from Loudoun County public schools…’ He’s the one who can either make your day, or make it miserable all from one phone call or the absence of such.”