Professor X: Leader of the New School

There are many factors that may differentiate your average scholar from the next: GPA, socioeconomic status, school district, etc. But the one thing that most successful graduates typically have in common is a teacher that motivated, encouraged, and challenged them to be better tomorrow than they currently are today. This mantra is at the very core of Xavier Shackelford, affectionately known as Professor X, and his teachings.

Xavier is a native of Marianna, AR and a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a degree in Biology. In addition to having a propensity to teach the brilliant young minds at KIPP Nashville, Xavier also boasts a wealth of knowledge gained from working in a laboratory setting as a cancer research assistant at Vanderbilt University prior to beginning his career as an educator.


“I do this work to be a mirror for and beacon of hope for my students. My desire is to fulfill my purpose, by leveraging my lessons, both the hardships and misfortunes and the blessings, to empower the dreams of everyone that I encounter no matter their background, associations, experiences or beliefs prior. Our students deserve access to their most ambitious goals and dreams. I’ll do whatever I can to help them get there.”

Very few may truly understand the vantage point of an instructor that has spent time in industry/research and the breadth of knowledge that they have the advantage of speaking with. Xavier can not only motivate students broadly on a macro scale, but he can also speak very definitively to what a lot of careers/industries currently look like and where they are headed. This information is especially true in the case of emerging markets in areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Shackelford is also responsible for the founding and development of a youth fraternity, Mu Phi Gamma, that is dedicated to helping their young boys develop into men academically, socially, and professionally as well. Their Spring 2018 cohort consisted of 25 young men that are taught principles of both brotherhood and service in addition to their studies.

We are extremely proud to have Professor X as a positive image and role model for the KIPP family and as an ambassador for STEM Is The New Black.

For more information, follow Xavier Shackelford @co1d_phront on social media platforms and make sure to check the video below!