Darius Yorel Nix, best known as Dee Nix, is the ultimate example of possibility. For this reason, he understands the plights that seek to threaten the communities that Nix grew up in and the same ones where he has served as an educator for the past 18 years. Running for the 1st Congressional District of Illinois is anchored in his compassion to see the youth of those vulnerable neighborhoods, who are often overlooked, have access to the same tools as their counterparts so that they can compete on global levels. Bridging the gap between the charter school and public school models remains at the top of Nix’ educational initiatives. Nix is also committed to bringing necessary funding to the most underserved communities to impact issues such as food deserts, small business vitality and lack of employment and training.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nix has also forged a partnership with a major healthcare provider to ensure that vaccinations are being administered to the elderly population across the city. His team has worked diligently to create task forces dedicated solely to providing support and fundamental resources to homeless LGBTQ youth, as well as mental health services and education to young people who otherwise lack access.
The combination of his personal and professional experiences are what drives his passion to effect change across the 1st Congressional District of Illinois. Nix was born to two teenage parents in the Abla Projects on the westside of Chicago. Abla was a poverty-stricken area where predominantly Black Americans resided. Much like other low-income communities, drugs, violence and gangs plagued the area. Nix witnessed firsthand the devastating effects that the sale and use of illicit drugs had on his family. He was determined to change the narrative for his generation and beyond. That trajectory shift would come courtesy of education, youth development and community improvement.
Nix graduated from Roosevelt University with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, as well as an MBA and Graduate Certificate in Education Management and Leadership from Keller Graduate School. During his professional tenure, Nix has worked as an educator at American Quality Schools, UNO Charter Schools and Chicago Jewish Day School, in Chicago. He also worked as a school administrator for Tech International Charter School in New York City and as an educator at Excelsior Classical Academy in Durham, North Carolina.
After moving back to Chicago, Nix joined the LEARN Charter School network as a middle school math teacher and 4th grade teacher. Nix then had the privilege to work for City Year Chicago, gaining another layer of experience as an Education Impact Manager. Nix currently serves as a middle school math teacher and culture and teacher development leader at KIPP Chicago (ASCEND) while simultaneously leading Friends in the City Foundation.
Founded by Nix in 2014, Friends in the City Foundation (FITCF) has provided after-school mentoring programs for Chicago Public School District and Robbins-Posen School District. In addition to providing mentoring programs, FITCF has awarded scholarships and grants to high school seniors over the last five years. Most recently, Nix and his team successfully launched the ChiSTEM Summer Academy, providing STEM education for primary and middle school students on Chicago’s southside. His educational and professional background coupled with his history of being a product of public education makes him uniquely qualified to curate high performing classrooms and lead a group of individuals that are pioneering for education excellence.
The example of possibilities is not just a catchy campaign slogan. Nix has truly lived the statement. Growing up under the tutelage of his hero Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Nix learned what it meant to be unashamedly Black and unapologetically Christian. As a result, it trained him to be unrelenting is his pursuit of fully embracing the true Darius Yorel Nix.
Raised by a muslim stepfather and a devout Christian mom, the religion in Nix’ home was LOVE. That is where he began to understand that various religions had more in common than they differed. Nix stands on the notion that religion is like transportation.
We all are traveling to the promised land but some are going by foot, boat, car, or even airplane. Yet, we all have the same goal. Although his mom has since remarried, the lessons learned from that union makes Nix a master of diversification, inclusion and love.
Nix married Dr. Anthony G. Chalmers on June 21, 2014, after dating for 10 years. The two were wed in Chicago, marking one of the first legal gay marriages in Illinois just a few days after it became legal. After five years of marriage, the two separated but remain great friends today.