Derrick Cornell Choice was born in Tyler, Texas and grew up in Winona, Texas. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Tyler. He also attended Tyler Junior College and Sam Houston State University on a football scholarship. After a career ending football injury, Derrick returned to East Texas to pursue his degree.
Derrick became a Smith County Juvenile Probation Officer in 1986. This position opened the door for Derrick to become involved in community organizations and activities. He was assigned to a special unit to supervise local gang members in the juvenile system. This involved working with the Tyler Police Department, Smith County Sheriff Department and other area law enforcement agencies. Derrick began to speak at schools and organizations in the East Texas area.
In 1992, Derrick accepted a position as Community Affairs Director for KLTV (Tyler/Longview). There he began organizing events for the local TV station and participated in many community-based activities and nonprofit organization, representing KLTV. He became involved with organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of East Texas, American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, United Way, PATH, Salvation Army and many more area/local agencies.
Derrick was elected to the Tyler City Council in May 2001, where he served in that capacity for 6 years. This expanded his role as a community leader. He worked with organizations such as the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce, Tyler Black Metro Chamber of Commerce, East Texas Council of Governments, Tyler Economic Development Council and other municipalities throughout East Texas.
In 2003, he started a new position for the Texas Department of State Health Services. He was promoted to Regional Program Manager for the Northeast Texas Region. In this position, he supervised and monitored several Community Health Programs in the Northeast Texas area. His responsibilities include: analyzing data to determine the health status of communities, establishing community led coalitions (to address health needs), working with county and city elected officials (presenting data to collaborate and address health needs) and organizing focus groups to address causes for traffic fatalities on major highways and roads in the Northeast Texas Region.
Currently, Derrick is President of the Tyler Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Rose City Civitan Club, Juneteenth Association of Tyler, the East Texas Minority Council and Fit City Tyler.
Derrick is a member of Starrville Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church in Winona. He serves as Chairman of the Steward Board, Trustee, Men’s Sunday School teacher and a member of the Choirs. Derrick is married to Vanessa Choice. They have three adult children: Melanie (Antoine) Bush, Derrick II (Allysha) and Breanna. Currently, they have one grandchild (Maliyah).