Alumni Success Story: Derrick King ’09

Fifteen years ago, if you were to ask Derrick King ‘09 if he would be where he is today, he would say “no way.”

“But lucky for me, Davenport gave me chance,” he said.

Derrick King wasn’t in a good place fifteen years ago. He had a lot of challenges. But, he knew he had to make a better life for himself and family.

At the age of 19 with his wife by his side, Derrick challenged himself to earn a college degree and reach higher for his family.

After starting his collegiate career at Northwood University as a walk-on basketball player, Derrick transferred to Davenport University and started as a point guard for the Panthers for two years.

“Davenport made a huge difference in my life,” Derrick said. “They gave me a chance and opportunity to succeed in and out of the classroom.”

Derrick graduated in 2009 with a bachelor degree in business management. His first job out of college was working as an enrollment counselor at the University of Phoenix, where he earned his MBA.

Derrick pursued his next career as an substitute teacher while coaching. “I really enjoy mentoring and working with kids, so working as substitute teacher for two years was a perfect springboard for my non-traditional business career.”

His substitute teaching job and experience as a college enrollment counselor equipped him with the skills and experiences he needed for his next job at National Heritage Academies (NHA) as a Campus Relations Specialist in Talent Acquisition. In this role, Derrick travelled the United States, building relationships with college and university leaders to build a pipeline of future teachers for NHA.

Now, he’s inspired everyday by young students in his job as the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) Education Executive at the Boy Scouts of America of Grand Rapids. He relates to these children because he says, “I am raising three children of my own. To know that I am making a difference in the lives of children because of the innovative programs I implement and partnerships that I build is extremely fulfilling. I help give young Boy Scouts the opportunity to gain insight and knowledge in the S.T.E.M. field.  I am able to work with kids that were just like me to build better opportunities for them.”

In his spare time, Derrick enjoys spending time with his family and coaching basketball at Catholic Central High School. Derrick is also a budding entrepreneur. He recently started a West Michigan scouting company called West Side Report with the goal of helping high school student athletes get recruited by colleges easier.

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