The Tomahawk Interview – Assistant Principal Mr. Parker

Chyna Clark, Staff Writer

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The Tomahawk Interview features people of interest in our community.  This week, Sophomore Chyna Clark sits down with new Assistant Principal Mr. Parker.

C.C.  Thank you for sitting down with me Mr. Parker.  How has your experience been at Windsor High School so far?

Mr. Parker – It has been a blessing!  Always mindful of where I’ve come from,I’m in a place where I’m happy and very fortunate to be working with students who are future leaders. I had a job and the only school I put in a application for was Windsor High School. I was looking for a change and saw something in Windsor that really I wanted to be a part of.

C.C.  What are the most positive things you’ve seen in Windsor High School?

Mr. Parker – Windsor high school students are very respectful. Students repeatedly ask “how are you?”  Many students don’t really know me because I’ve only been here for since August.   For example I might ask a gentleman to pull up his pants –  they may not like what I ask but they respectfully comply what because they respect me.

C.C. As a school, what do you feel like we need to collectively work on?

Mr. Parker – Building positive mutual relationships between adults and students. Equal amounts of respect and understanding. We are influenced by things we see.

C.C.  How did you get to where you are now?

Mr. Parker – I graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1996 where I was fortunate enough to get an athletic scholarship to play football.  I started UMass as a psychology major but halfway through the program was encouraged by an advisor to go into education.  I always wanted to work with young people so this field allowed me to kind of do both (psychology and education) and have the ability to shape young lives.

    I tried teaching fresh out of college pretty much with younger kids and while it was very rewarding I knew it wasn’t the direction I wanted to go. So I left that position and went back home to New York when I got a call to try out an opportunity in Massachusetts at a residential treatment program for boys between 8-13. These kids had behavioral issues which was right in my wheelhouse. I got to utilize my education degree as a school liaison and still work with behavioral issues. I did that for about 5 years. After that I worked in an alternative school for almost another 5 years but I wanted a public school experience so I taught for a total of 7 years at a public middle school and went back to University of Massachusetts for grad school in 2004.

    I started taking a couple courses a semester and earned a Master’s Degree in Education Administration Policy and Research also known as EPRA. Then I went for a Masters in Education Leadership.

C.C. Describe a time you’ve made a difficult decision?

Mr. Parker – My mother had a brain aneurysm hemorrhage. As the oldest sibling the hardest part was signing paperwork to drill into her head as I knew that was her only chance she had to survive.  Here we are 16 years later and she’s still here!  

C.C. What do do you do for fun on your spare time?

Mr. Parker – I play golf though I don’t get to play a lot.and I play chess with my son.  It’s not just me being a dad, I have fun actually playing and hanging out .

C.C. How would students you’ve worked with describe you?

Mr. Parker – I think they would describe me as a good listener, fair, and clear with what I expect. I want them to be better today than yesterday, to do their best.  I don’t expect them to be perfect but I expect them to try. I believe in them and want them to work hard.

C.C. What advice would you give to a struggling students?

Mr. Parker – To understand the support around you. And remember your purpose.  I believe students struggle because of peer pressure and loss of purpose. Do things with a purpose of mind and love yourself!”

C.C. If you had 1 word to describe Windsor High School what would it be?

Mr. Parker – Immaculate.  I see it for what it is and can be. There’s no reason with the students and teachers in this building that Windsor High can’t be immaculate.

C.C. – One of the biggest issues in education today especially in Connecticut, is the Achievement Gap. What do you think educators should do to close the gap?

Mr. Parker – It’s not so much about the written word it’s letting the students trust you to close those gaps which is more important. Ultimately if you build a positive relationship –  meaning understanding students’ culture and where they come from. If students see that you care then they will put in that extra work. Positive relationships go both ways.

C.C. Tell me about one of your proudest professional achievements?

Mr. Parker – I recall a young man who had struggled as a student with motivation and relationships with people. One day when I saw him later on in life, clean cut with a family and all, he stopped me and said,”thank you for believing in me and telling me positive things.” I could care less if he gave me 1,000 dollars,  eventually it would be gone, but at least I knew that I helped someone. All i really want for students is to shine!

C.C. What motivated you as a student?

Mr. Parker – I really appreciated adults, especially my Mom, who believed in me before I believed in myself. Telling me to be myself everyday and believing in who I could be.

C.C. What do you like most about your job?

Mr. Parker – It’s an opportunity to be able to support young people’s lives in different  ways.  The single most reason I love my job is the access I have to build more bonds with teachers, students, and parents.“

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