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De'Rain Francine Irvin

De’Rain Francine Irvin

This is Who I AM! I AM ROYALTY!!

As the Fresh Prince of Bel Air would say, “In South Philadelphia born and raised……...”


I was born and raised in South Philadelphia. I was raised by a strong single mother who instilled in me a desire and hope that I could be anything that I wanted to be and that I could live a better life.  She also instilled in me discipline, much, much discipline.


At a very young age, I developed a desire not to let people down.  I wanted to please my Mother and to make her proud of me. I wanted to make my teachers and coaches proud of me.  I still have that desire for those who are in authority over me. 


My mindset that I would have a better life often caused me to be ridiculed by my friends. They were not trying to be mean; they just didn’t understand me. I would tell them that I was going to leave Philly and move to Florida and buy me a Mercedes. They would tell me, “No, you’re not! Nobody ever leaves South Philly, and you will never get a Mercedes because you can’t even pronounce it. You need to stop trying to be white.” In the culture that I grew up in, if you wanted to be better than your surroundings you were labeled as trying to be white. I didn’t quite understand that mentality because my mother instilled in me that you should give your children a better life than what you had. I always wanted to be better, and I was always labeled as trying to be white. I would say to myself, “Well, if being better is trying to be white, then I guess I must be a white girl.”  And then, I would laugh. I was often called an Oreo, black on the outside and white on the inside.  Well, I do like Oreos!!


I attended Philadelphia Pubic Schools. I went to Vare Junior High School. They took a small section from the black community and sent us to a white school in the Italian community, desegregation. Equal isn’t always fair! That’s another horrific story about how we were treated. You’ll have to get the book to read about that!


I went to Edward Bok Area Vocational Technical School, to get a business background, instead of going to the neighborhood high school. You gotta B-O-K to go to Bok!!  


Bok was my Plan B; in the event I didn’t get a scholarship. I knew we didn’t have the money to pay for college. I left Bok in March of my senior year to become a keypunch operator at Colonial Penn Insurance Company. When I graduated, I typed 100 words a minute and I took 80 words a minute in shorthand. The girl had skills!


I graduated from Edward Bok in 1978. The Lord blessed me with several scholarships. I attended Cheney State College on a full academic scholarship. Glory to God!!


The most horrific day of my life occurred on March 10, 1981, when my younger brother, Albert Kevin Irvin, was tragically shot and killed.  I struggled emotionally for several months, and I did not return to school. If it wasn’t for my professors calling me and encouraging me to come back to school, I’m not sure if I would have gone back. My family was devastated by the loss of my brother, he was he baby of the family.


God gave me the strength to go back to school in May and to make up all the work that’s I missed. I had to take midterms and finals. By the power of God, miraculously, I earned a 3.0 average.


I was a single mother with two children.  I commuted my last three years from South Philly to Cheyney, PA, Monday – Friday. I graduated in 1983, overcoming a lot of challenges.  God blessed me to graduate with a 3.48 cumulative average. I graduated Cum Laude, with distinction. Thank you, Jesus.


I got married in 1985 and moved to Florida!  Yes, I bought a Mercedes! We must speak those things that are not, as if they were!  My husband was in the Navy and contrary to popular belief, so was I. Throughout our marriage, we raised six children.  Our three and three from his first marriage. Life was challenging at times!  I felt like a single parent again as he was often out to sea. Now, I was a mother of six at 27. Help me, Jesus!


We moved from Florida to Virginia. Unfortunately, my career survived but after 12 years, my marriage did not. I remained in Virginia and attended Regent University to earn my Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration. Now that is truly another miraculous story!         


I have been in the education field for 37 years! I have been blessed to have worked in many amazing school systems along the east coast.


  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Pensacola, Florida

  • Milton, Florida

  • Portsmouth, Virginia

  • Norfolk, Virginia

  • Washington, DC (The War Zone, you will have to get the book to read about that adventure.)

  • Falls Church, Virginia

  • Alexandria, Virginia

  • Woodbridge, Virginia


God has taken me through many valleys and over many mountains to reach the level of being an administrator. There were ups and down!  Praise God, there were more triumphs than tears.  Lord, I am thankful, and I am grateful!


Today, I am truly blessed and living out my dream. I am blessed to be a Pastor and an Assistant Principal, for now. My Principalship is coming! I often say, if I can’t teach them, I will pray them through!


God has empowered me to uplift and encourage men, women, boys, and girls. People often say you’re living your best life, no I am living my BLESSED life. And God is just getting started! To God be the glory!


Love you much to the moon and back,


De’Rain F. Irvin, M. Ed.

The Blessing! The Lord bless you and keep you, make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. May His favor be upon you and a thousand generations and your family and your children and their children, and their children. May His presence go before you and behind you, and beside you, all around you, and within you. He is with you! He is with you!! Amen!!

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