‘A sense of community’

Former Puster principal Kevin Parker leaves district after 12 years

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‘A sense of community’

Kevin Parker reads a children's book to Puster elementary students.

Kevin Parker reads a children's book to Puster elementary students.

Courtesy of Allison Smithwick

Kevin Parker reads a children's book to Puster elementary students.

Courtesy of Allison Smithwick

Courtesy of Allison Smithwick

Kevin Parker reads a children's book to Puster elementary students.

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Being taped to a wall, singing during an assembly, and going up in a hot air balloon despite his fear of heights along with a number of other activities are all things Principal of Puster Elementary School, Kevin Parker, has done to make Puster a fun place of learning.

“I wanted to create a culture here where kids were taken care of and kids were the focal point of everything that we did.” Kevin said. “Whatever was best for the kids was what drove the decision that we made.”

Courtesy of Allison Smithwick
Former Puster Principal Kevin Parker poses with elementary school students prior to his hot air balloon ride. Every summer the librarian, Alison Smithwick, puts together a reading goal, so if the kids read for so many minutes or so many books at the end of the school year, she promises the kids I will do something,” Parker said. “…This year, I am terrified of heights, so I went up in a hot air balloon.”

Kevin left his position as principal on Friday, March 29 to obtain his job at Enseo. There, Kevin has been offered a positions as Director of Education Solutions.

Enseo has installed the emergency buttons at the High School. Worn by every teacher, these buttons alert Madesafe Base Stations who are able to get help immediately when the button is pushed. 

“Vanessa Ogle, who is the Founder and CEO of Enseo, wanted to introduce it to education and schools,” Kevin said. “She wanted to put [the badges] around teachers necks just because of the safety aspect of it. Of course Lovejoy was her first school and now she wants to try to go nation-wide with it and that is why she has asked me to come on.”

In his latest email, Kevin explained that “ensuring your child’s safety is the most important thing we do as a school.” Working with Enseo, will allow Kenvin to “work with a broader range of schools and take care of students across the country.”

I wanted to create a culture here where kids were taken care of and kids were the focal point of everything that we did. Whatever was best for the kids was what drove the decision that we made.”

— Kevin Parker

Holly Haynes has obtained the position as Interim Principal to fill in for Kevin. She has been in the district for 7 years and is trying to continue on the strong culture Kevin has created for the kids.

“As Puster’s new principal, my goal first and foremost is to finish this 2018-2019 school year strong,” Haynes said. “Moving forward into the summer and into next year, I want to continue to build relationships within our community and to ensure that I am clearing the pathway for teachers to do their best work so our kids can do their best work.”

Kevin’s family has been in the district for 12 years and will still be around. His wife, Carla Parker teaches second grade at Lovejoy Elementary School and his kids will continue to grow up in the district.

This will be a big change for our family because for the last 12 years we have taught in the same district,” Carla said. “We have had the privilege of getting to know many wonderful Lovejoy families. Lovejoy is such a big part of our lives. We have been fortunate enough to have our older daughters go through Lovejoy and our youngest is still in elementary school so this is not goodbye to Lovejoy.”

Kevin has made Puster a community based around the kids. Over the last four years, he has strived to create “a sense of community” around the campus.

“I wanted to create a culture here where kids were taken care of and kids were the focal point of everything that we did,” Kevin said. “Whatever was best for the kids was what drove the decision that we made.”

Junior Carsen Mcfadden grew up in the district and remembers having Kevin as assistant principal at Puster. Kevin has been at Puster since 2009, but has been in the district for longer.

“I was lucky enough to have Mr. Parker,” Mcfadden said. “He was always friendly and very supportive of all student and he was so fun to be around.”

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