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Darren Morgan, 64 Delegate
Joplin School District

Greetings!  My name is Darren Morgan.  I am 38, married to my high school sweetheart, Whitney, for 18 years, and the father of three girls (14, 11, 6)...pray for me.  We enjoy hiking, camping, beaching, gaming, and spending quality time with our fur family (especially the two huskies, Santino and Giovanni).  When I’m not doing school or family time, I’m a singer-songwriter and Waffle House fan.  We live in the little southwest Missouri town of Carl Junction, MO, and I just finished my 15th year in public education--all as a part of Joplin R-8 Schools.  

Though my degree is in 9-12 social studies (history emphasis), my first job was teaching 7th-grade world history, where I quickly discovered my love for middle school too.  After the 2011 tornado in Joplin, I took a job at Joplin High School as a 21st Century Learning Coach as the teachers there transitioned to a 1:1 environment.  I aided teachers in that transformation for two years, but I missed the classroom greatly.  In 2013, I returned to the trenches to teach 8th-grade American history; things came full circle for me that year as I began teaching the same subject and grade level that inspired me to teach when I was sitting in Mrs. Riley's class in my own 8th-grade year of American history.  I've been there ever since--8th grade is the sweet spot of education.  

I graduated from Ozark Christian College and Missouri Southern State University in 2008 with my 9-12 teaching degree, and I have my M.A. in early American history from Pittsburg State University.  Last summer, I put my practice into theory--I taught a social studies methods course for preservice teachers at my alma mater, MSSU.  The course was perfectly designed for what I have done for the past 15 years, and I feel like at this point in my career I have something to give back and perhaps pass along to the next generation of teachers like Mrs. Riley and so many other great instructors did for me.  

This is my second year with MCSS as the 64 Delegate, and I enjoy networking with MCSS members more than anything else about the experience.  Serving alongside my comrades from across the state on the Legislative Committee, I am able to both stay on the offensive as a teacher facing very trying times and find mutual support amongst fellow educators who are going through the same trials.  Teachers know best what the classroom needs, not pundits and politicians.  

I also serve on the education team for George Washington National Monument and have a passion for local history.  My summer school courses always center on local histories, and I love to get students out into the field to make lifelong connections to places as they orient themselves within a complex past.  Additionally, I try to enrich my own teaching and learning every year, participating heavily in the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History's Summer Institute, as well as professional development opportunities from educational organizations like Facing History and the OER Project.

My long-term goals include teaching at the collegiate level both during and after my public education time, pursuing a Ph.D. in history, writing at least three books, producing a documentary, recording my music, and of course, touring Europe with my singer-songwriter gig.  In terms of philosophy, I am very passionate about the profession.  The past couple of years more than any others in my tenure have demonstrated the urgent need we have for quality social studies instructors.  Here are the three core tenets that drive my teaching:

  • History is an invaluable tool.

  • Hard work is the key to success.

  • We learn best from fixing our mistakes. 

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