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Crestwood Elementary P.E. Instructor Is Missouri Teacher Of The Year

Darrion Cockrell is a P.E. teacher at Crestwood Elementary.
August Jennewein
Darrion Cockrell is a P.E. teacher at Crestwood Elementary.

Crestwood Elementary School physical education teacher Darrion Cockrell hasn’t just overhauled his school’s fitness program. His creative virtual education videos have also caught the attention of influencers such as Chance the Rapper and Ellen DeGeneres.

In the videos, Cockrell and his 3-year-old son dress up as superheroes, as Santa and “his little helper,” and for one workout, they each dressed up as 1980s fitness instructor Richard Simmons.

“COVID brought a lot of people down, and the moods were not as high as they normally are, as far as you know, people being happy and doing fun stuff,” Cockrell said. “So I just figured if they see that video of me just being silly and being goofy, and seeing how happy my son was as well, it would bring joy to them. That was my goal.”

Due, in no small part, to Cockrell’s creativity and engaging style of learning, he has now been awarded the distinction of 2021 Missouri Teacher of the Year. He spoke with Sarah Fenske on Thursday's St. Louis on the Air.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.