LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Derek Rankins

Position: World Geography/African American History Teacher
School: New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School
School District: New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School
City, State: New Orleans, LA

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Derek Rankins was nominated by his assistant principal, Christina Hull.

Mr. Rankins is a LifeChanger in his community. He has proven the ability to make a beneficial difference in the lives of students by creating an African American History program through World Geography. This program gives students insight and hands-on, project-based experiences through history, current events, and future planning with efforts to improve the lives of generations to come.

Mr. Rankins adds to the development of his school community by influencing stakeholders to embrace diversity and strengthen the bonds of unity. He created a coalition for colleagues to unify, formed a Sci High Alumni federation, and sponsored his school's first Black History Club. Mr. Rankins displays leadership in the community by being a liaison between the school board, school community, alumni, parents, and students.

His commitment to producing a nurturing atmosphere is beyond words. He is the go-to for all of his students. He is often seen greeting students as they arrive at school, providing encouraging words as students transition between classes, and eating lunch with a group of students in the cafeteria. Mr. Rankins is always on the go for teachers and students. He demonstrates an in-depth knowledge of content. Additionally, he shares his research findings and experiences to ensure students receive a well-rounded learning experience.

As the Black History Club sponsor, he collaborated with students and families to organize a Black Culture Trip that was set to take students on a Black Historical journey around the United States. However, the trip did not take place because of COVID-19 school closures. He uses an interdisciplinary approach and immerses in thought-provoking visuals of student-produced artifacts. He has a passion for teaching that electrifies the classroom and invigorates students! His adherence to high moral and ethical standards is without measure.

During school closures, Mr. Rankins continued to provide instruction and social-emotional support to his students and colleagues. In fact, Mr. Rankins' students and Black History Club members are planning a trip to Africa!  Outside of Sci High, Mr. Rankins is an activist concerning equity in education and a trainer for Undoing Racism. Mr. Rankins is considered to be "Mr. Sci High." As a former student who returned to become an educator at his Alma Mater, he is determined to let the world know that New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School is the greatest institution on the planet.