Derek McCracken, Raytown High School, Class of 1986
Derek McCracken graduated from Raytown High in 1986. He received his Bachelors and Masters Degree at University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) in creative and professional writing. At UMKC he received the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award and the award for Outstanding Service from the English department, and also received the Curator’s and Chancellor’s scholarships. In 1991 Derek worked as a communication editor at H&R Block, Kansas City. While there he wrote and edited articles for internal and external publications, and he created training videos and marketing projects. He also taught seminars on writing and client services.
From 1993-1995 he was copy editor of UMKC’s University News. He edited the weekly campus newspaper and wrote articles for various sections. His publications include Blockletters Magazine, Emerging Science and Technology, and American Theater. Since 1996 Derek has worked for Hallmark Cards as Creative Director, Greetings Commercialization where he oversees the creative strategy and development of greeting cards for multiple brands and channels. He collaborates with teams of writers, editors, artists, and photographers to research trends in the market place to fulfill Hallmark’s mission: To help create an emotionally connected world everyday.
From 1997 to present, Derek has been active in the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault as men’s group facilitator and was also a Speakers Bureau advocate. He was Volunteer of the Year in 1999 and again in 2010. He was president of SAVE, Inc., Kansas City’s nonprofit agency providing AIDS housing from 2000 to 2006. He participated in Team-in-Training Triathlon supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He has also been a volunteer, team captain, and family partner for Habitat for Humanity. He is a freelance writer in magazine journalism, theater commentary, and nonprofit blog posts.
Derek currently resides in Leawood, Kansas with his adopted daughter, Elizabeth. His hobbies include swimming, reading historical nonfi ction, writing poetry, and planning class reunions.