In the classic film The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy clicks her heels together three times and declares, “There’s no place like home.”
While he doesn’t wear anything resembling ruby red slippers, the new principal of Tucker High School can understand where Dorothy’s coming from.
“I’m excited to be home. Tucker High School is a special place for me,” says Dr. Eric Parker, a 1994 graduate of Tucker High.
The Tucker native – he says he looks forward to reconnecting with old Main Street haunts Matthews Cafeteria and Cofer Bros. Hardware – takes the leadership role at his alma mater at a crucial moment, when he has a chance to build on some of the great academic successes achieved under longtime THS Principal James Jackson.
If you haven’t met Dr. Parker, here are five facts to help you get to know him.
1. LOCAL BOY
Dr. Parker’s Tucker roots run deep. Before he ever set foot on the Tucker High campus, a young Eric Parker attended Smoke Rise Elementary School.
“The support that the Tucker community provided to me just made me at an early age want to go into education.”
Now a father, Dr. Parker hopes to instill that same sense of community in his children, as well as in the students he’ll be leading at THS.2.
2. FAMILY MAN
Dr. Parker lives with his wife and three daughters (ages 15, 13 and 9) in a home where he readily admits he’s in the minority.
“It’s a house full of women. Between my wife and the three girls, I am well-managed and well-supervised. They’re keeping me straight.”
Dr. and Mrs. Parker actually met during their days as students at Tucker High.
3. HOOPS HERO
When you meet Dr. Parker, the first thing you’ll notice is his height. At 6’9”, he towers above the crowd in the hallways…and on the basketball court.
Parker was a letterwinner during his time at Tucker High, catching the eye of college coaches and eventually signing to play at Division 1 Radford. During his senior season, he led the Hilltoppers to the first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. A 16 seed, Radford was subsequently thumped 99-63 by top-seeded Duke.
4. SAFETY FIRST
With multiple school shootings leading the news this year, any principal can expect questions from students, parents and faculty about how school can be safer. Dr. Parker says he comes in prepared to lead on the issue of school safety.
“While I was working at Eastern Kentucky University, I worked with the Kentucky Center for School Safety,” Parker remembers. “We had the opportunity to do learning opportunities and provide professional safety audits. [You] definitely focus on school culture, on school safety…and that’s where the bullying comes in, the cyber security comes in.”
He says he’s got three children at home and considers himself the “School Dad” of another 1,800 children.
5. GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
Not only does Dr. Parker have experience leading at the middle school, high school and collegiate levels, he’s also taken to studying how countries educate their children around the world.
“Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to spend three weeks and visit schools in China. I went to Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing. I visited about 15 schools and it was amazing to see how education looks different,” Parker says. “The students in China are very serious. Seeing that first-hand, we have a lot of work to do and a lot of catching up to do.”
You can contact Dr. Parker by calling (678) 874-3702 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.