Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on May 4th 2021
Darrion Cockrell: The 2021 Missouri Teacher of the Year.

Darrion Cockrell named Missouri Teacher of the Year for 2021
Darrion Cockrell named Missouri Teacher of the Year for 2021 photo: callnewspapers.com

From the start, Darrion had everything going against him.

"I was born to a drug-addicted mother who had 2 of her 6 kids by the age of 16."

"My father [a drug dealer] was murdered when I was 4, and I began my journey in and out of the foster care system not long after my 6th birthday."

(Story continues from "Read More")

As a 10-year-old, Darrion joined a gang and hated school.

Finally, in middle school, the state sent him to a home for troubled boys where he lived for a year.

There one supervisor, Ken, "a big black guy," was someone Darrion could relate to.

"He taught me the importance of having discipline. He made sure I did my chores."

"[And] he taught me - it's okay to be tough, but at the same time it's still okay to have compassion and empathy for people."

Darrion's life began to turn around.

Upon returning to middle school, he met a life changing teacher and mentor who believed in him: Maureen Huneker.

"Miss Huneker was the most outgoing, most empathetic, most loving, caring, supportive, enthusiastic - she could find that thing in any student that's gonna allow them to be successful."

In another wonderful turn of events Darrion's football coach and his wife saw something special in him as well and adopted him.

With their love and support, he later graduated from the University of Missouri - St. Louis.

Today, Darrion teaches physical education at Lindbergh Schools' Crestwood Elementary, where his students lovingly call him, "Mr. DC."

"Mr. DC is loved by all," said the school principal, Dr. Jodi Oliver who described him as having an outgoing personality who connects well with his students and whom they rely on for guidance.

It has been a remarkable journey for 34-year-old Darrion, Missouri's Teacher of the Year who is also a devoted husband and father to their 3-year-old boy.

Darrion Cockrell
photo: kmov.com

Editor's Note: To learn more, click here, here and here.

In the next KazanToday: Billy Adams: Beautifying his community wherever he goes.

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