Connect with us


A Man’s Journey From Being A Gangster To Teacher Of The Year



  • Teachers have intervened in various stages of Darrion Cockrell’s life to save him.
  • The efforts by his teachers to make him stay in school and out of trouble has changed his views on education.
  • Now he is the recipient of Missouri’s Teacher of the Year.

Being saved by teachers in varied stages of Darrion Cockrell’s life has inspired him to take up the profession.  It transformed him from being a gangster to Missouri’s 2021 Teacher of the Year!

Darrion’s teen life was far from stable. Being a gangster was an escape. “I didn’t care about books. I had to go home and figure out what I was eating. I had to figure out if my lights were going to be on.”

His parents lost custody of him and his siblings and they had to be shuffled between his grandmother’s house and foster homes.  But his teachers intervened for him when he was about to be sent to a “boarding school for troubled youth.” One of his teachers drove him to school every morning for six months to ensure he came to class.

Photo Credit: @darrionc20 (Instagram)

The experience changed his view of education. And when he was in seventh grade, his football coach and his wife fostered him up unto his college years.

All the support that he got from his teachers made him develop a deep respect and admiration for educators.  It also expanded his love and talent for sports.

Now, 34-year-old Darrion is a physical education teacher at an elementary school.  Students and staff members love him.

Photo Credit: @darrionc20 (Instagram)

Darrion says, “Not only do I get to get a paycheck, but I get to get it by doing something that I actually, truly love.”

Not only does he teach physical education, he also created “Crest-Fit training.” Its workout classes after school for families of students and teachers.  There’s also a weekly “Dad’s Club Open Gym” event for fathers to play basketball together.

What a difference from being a gangster in his youth to a responsible and selfless educator now.  He is changing lives the way his life was changed by the teachers who believed and stood by him long ago.

Photo Credit: @darrionc20 (Instagram)

Congratulations for being Missouri’s top teacher this year, Darrion Cockrell!

Source: Inspire More