Dr. Rakes taught mathematics for ten years (eight in secondary; two in postsecondary) in both urban and rural settings, where he concentrated on helping at-risk students succeed in mathematics. For two years (2010-2012), he coordinated the peer review of grant proposals on the Mathematics and Science panel at the Institute of Education Sciences. He also edited reports from the National Center of Education Statistics and a Practice Guide on mathematics problem solving from the National Center of Education Evaluation.
He currently serves as the program coordinator for secondary mathematics education at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. His scholarly work focuses on the use of technology for teaching mathematics, mathematics misconceptions, and professional development of mathematics and science teachers.