Common Searches

Darrion Cockrell (BSEd ’13)

His name is Darrion Cockrell. But for the kids at Crestwood Elementary in St. Louis, he’s simply known as Mr. DC. For nearly a decade, the University of Missouri–St. Louis alumnus has been living the transformative life as an award-winning educator who is committed to providing the same kind of positive teacher-student experience that saved him from heading down the wrong path while growing up in St. Louis.

"I began my journey in and out of the foster care system not long after my sixth birthday,” he said. “I had a lot of struggles and a lot of hurdles, and if not for my childhood educators, I would not be where I am today."

After entering a boys’ home at age 14, Darrion was soon adopted by his middle school football coach and spent his remaining teenage years in Chesterfield. After high school, he played college football at Millikin University until suffering a shoulder injury. Darrion then returned home to finish his undergraduate studies at UMSL, earning a BS in education/physical education and a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. Darrion is forever grateful to UMSL for setting his feet firmly along a career path in education.

Darrion Cockrell

“It was one of the greatest decisions I ever made,” he said. “Although my educational journey was very tough, I am forever grateful for the love, support, patience, flexibility, accountability, and knowledge that UMSL provided.“

Since joining Crestwood Elementary in 2015, Mr. DC has been committed to repaying the educational experiences that changed his life, inspiring his students to prioritize healthy bodies and compassionate minds. Darrion’s commitment to teaching excellence has been recognized at the state and national levels. In 2021, he became the first black male educator to receive the Missouri Teacher of the Year award and was honored the same year with the National Education Association Horace Mann Friend of Education award.