Parker prepares for final year as principal at WHS

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Parker prepares for final year as principal at WHS

Principal Anthony Parker, who has served for 13 years, answers his office telephone.

Principal Anthony Parker, who has served for 13 years, answers his office telephone.

Grazi Vezza

Principal Anthony Parker, who has served for 13 years, answers his office telephone.

Grazi Vezza

Grazi Vezza

Principal Anthony Parker, who has served for 13 years, answers his office telephone.

Adi Saligrama and Heather Lee

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After serving for 13 years at WHS, principal Anthony Parker announced his resignation in a letter to the school on August 23. In the letter, Parker explained his accomplishments in the past few years and his hopes for the future of the WHS community.

“I have few regrets,” Parker said. “We want[ed] to broaden horizons, show a different side of the world and give a global perspective. It’s been a great place to work and to grow.”

In the past 13 years, WHS has undergone many changes in curriculum and staff. Throughout it all, providing adequate opportunities for every student has been a main goal for the principal.

“Equity and access to programming and opportunities for all types of learners– that’s what I’m most proud of,” Parker said. “We had two special education teachers when we arrived here. Now we have 11 teachers and other specialists.”

Under Parker’s leadership, WHS gained a variety of educational support programs including The Learning Center (TEC), the advisory program, Compass, Access, and June Academy. Classes in different levels were also added, including Engineering, AP Psych, Honors English, and Honors Hispanic Literature.

The care and attention that Parker has put into WHS has inspired teachers, including science department head Steven Ribisi, who was hired last year.

“[Mr. Parker] cares deeply about the school, its students, and staff. As a second year administrator, he’s been my mentor and I’ve learned a lot about how to be an administrator from him, even in that short time,” Ribisi said.

Looking back, English teacher Henry Moon said he viewed Parker’s tenure as principal in a positive light overall.

“I’ve found him to be a contemplative thinker who really, really wanted to do things for the betterment of all the lives of students,” Moon said. “One of the things that really impressed me during his interview with faculty was that when he didn’t know the answer to a question immediately, he stopped for a good fifteen seconds and thought about it. That’s actually really stuck with me over a decade and a half of working with him.”

Having worked with Parker as a member of the Principal’s Advisory Council (PAC) and the school council for the past 13 years, health teacher Danielle Cooper acknowledged that Parker’s strengths lie in his ability to work collaboratively with the rest of the faculty.

“He is very thoughtful,” she said, “He always goes back and reviews how the decisions he’s made or his team has made impact students and faculty. He’s always willing to review and revise.”

In regards to the staff of WHS, Parker expressed gratitude for the support he has received from various leadership groups including the assistant principal, department heads and directors, PAC, and The School Council.

“A leader is as good as the team behind him or her,” Parker said. “I have a great leadership team that has supported me and that goes the extra mile. Even when we disagree, we are supportive. I think that is special.”

Although his stay has been long, Parker expressed that he has felt it is time to go.

“I think after 14 years, it’s time for someone new to come in,” he said, thoughtfully. “It’s time to go and seek other opportunities.”

Parker is looking for opportunities to work in central administrative education in particular after leaving WHS. This past fall, Parker was named an Influence 100 Fellow by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), a program that aims to support aspiring superintendents of color in the region.

“I am looking for a different kind of district where I can leverage what I’ve learned in the past 25 years in education in Weston,” Parker said. “I find that exciting and the opportunities that could open up.”