Isola native making a name for himself in the classroom


De’Ryan Shanklin’s advice to young people is “Don’t limit yourself.”

The Isola native and 2011 Humphreys County High School graduate certainly has not done that.

With aspirations of someday being a movie or television star, Shanklin will have to settle for star teacher for now.

The six-year teaching veteran was recently nominated for the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year award, which comes with a $10,000 award.

Shanklin, who has taught just about every subject except language arts in his young teaching career, is a graduate of Mississippi Valley State University (communications) and he is currently working on a graduate degree in business, with an emphasis in human resources.

The son of a single mother, Shanklin said his mom was the first person in her family to gain a high school diploma.

“My mother was always pushing,” Shanklin said. “She pushed me to go get more.”

When he graduated from high school as class president almost a decade ago, Shanklin wanted to try his hand at acting right out of the gate.

“My mother said, ‘No, you go get you something behind your name,’” Shanklin said. “So, she pushed me to go to college. Once I got my college degree, she said, ‘Nobody can take that away from you but the man upstairs.’”

Shanklin finished his communications degree in three years at MVSU, and he moved on to Jackson, where he started his career in teaching.

But he did get an opportunity to work on a movie set.

He worked as an assistant on the set of the 2014 James Brown biopic Get On Up.

“It was an amazing experience,” Shanklin said. “I couldn’t believe I was on set with these stars. It was awesome.”

Shanklin said he’s hoping to get more chances to work on films and television shows in the future, but his No. 1 priority right now is his students.

Shanklin said that he did not know after college what he wanted to do with his degree. He knew he did not want to be on the local news, in front of the camera, and he eventually had a chance to try out teaching.

The first time he saw the “lightbulb” go off for a student, he knew that was his calling.

“That’s what told me this is where I need to be,” Shanklin said. “That’s what makes me want to come to work.”

He’s spent the past half-decade or so building relationships inside the Jackson Public School district with students he has taught.

His main message to his students is to not give up and to push themselves like he was pushed years ago.

“Push yourself to do things you’ve never done before, that you’ve always dreamed of doing,” Shanklin said. “Do not limit yourself. You can do whatever you set your mind, your heart and your soul on doing.”


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