When DeAndre Nixon, a proud military veteran turned entrepreneur, launched iN Education in 2006, he made it a reality through hard work, ambition and most importantly, love for helping others. Leveraging his background as an educator with an MBA in Entrepreneurship, DeAndre has surrounded himself with passionate professionals and volunteers that work to collectively make a difference in the lives of students in Northeast Ohio.
And they make a significant difference in student’s lives by following this mantra: your journey, your impact, our future.
The organization utilizes dynamic programming to prepare and equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in college or the workforce. They do this through “offering career-awareness/training programs and art-focused activities and events, along with our original e-publications on educational topics.”
One activity that has become a pillar of the organization is the Battle of the Teal. The program, started in 2016, runs year-round. Its goal is to provide a platform for youth and emerging artists to develop their chosen art form and boost their confidence through both myriad activities, events and even showcase events with scholarships and other prizes attached.
“We look at developing artists and seek to address those things that may or may not exist in their confidence,” exclaimed DeAndre Nixon, founder, president and board chair of iN Education. “It’s about believing in yourself, while benefiting the community. I want artists to be as passionate about the arts as I was about serving my country.”
The 2021 Battle of the Teal spring/summer showcase had roughly 30 contestants in the showcase across the visual and performing arts spectrums. The categories include Junior and Senior Divisions in visual and performing arts, as well as a Best in Show. The showcases have awarded more than $30,000, impacting more than 10,000 artists across the seven counties they serve. The winners of the spring/summer showcase receive a blend of actual scholarship funds, coupled with cash and other donations; the fall showcase is crowdsourced with no scholarship attached to it.
DeAndre added about the Battle of the Teal participants, “We have mentors ready for them if they’re comfortable and interested. You can be part of the Art Network without doing any official projects. It’s about the power of the people! We’re more than just a showcase. It’s both educational and social emotional learning that we focus on.”
The future looks even brighter for iN Education. The organization plans to focus on growing relationships and partnerships, as well as making sure they can continually add resources and overall value to those who they serve. And DeAndre certainly has the zeal and underlying passion to make those future ambitions a reality.
To learn more about iN Education, visit https://ineducationonline.org/, and for Battle of the Teal, visit https://battleoftheteal.org/.