Theodore Parker, (M.A., Private School Leadership) | Teachers College Columbia University

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Theodore Parker, (M.A., Private School Leadership)

Theodore Parker, (M.A., Private School Leadership)
Life before TC
Ted Parker learned to love literature and history as a student at the Moses Brown School, a private Quaker institution in Providence, Rhode Island which he attended from kindergarten through eighth grade. Though he graduated from a public high school, he was determined to teach literature at a private school because he believed he’d have more freedom to innovate – particularly by incorporating technology into his teaching. 

After earning his B.A. from Middlebury College, Parker taught briefly at Portsmouth Abbey, a Catholic Benedictine boarding school in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, before moving on to the King Low Heywood Thomas School in Connecticut. There, he explored technology’s potential for transforming classroom teaching. For example, he kept digital portfolios of of his writing students’ work – including his comments -- so that at yearend, students could reflect on their progress. As word got around about his paperless writing class, Parker, the youngest member of the faculty and perhaps the only true Internet native, serendipitously became an informal consultant for less tech-savvy faculty and staff.

Why TC
Parker attended the Klingenstein Center’s Summer Institute for Early Career Leaders in 2010 and then applied and was accepted to the two-semester, full-time master’s program. “I really wanted to be able to come at my teaching and school leadership from a more informed perspective,” he says.  

TC Takeaway
“This is the best professional development I’ve ever done in my life. It’s been a transformative year to live, breathe and research education.” 

What’s Next
Parker returns to King Low Heywood Thomas in the newly created position of Director of Digital Literacy and Innovation, charged with helping teachers incorporate new digital tools into their classrooms. He plans to create a professional learning community of teachers who will pilot new technologies—“a hotbed of innovation that can spread the word” to other teachers, he says.

“If I can help teachers to learn how to teach their students better, then I can connect to more students,” he says. “I hope my next step will be away from technology leadership, but for the moment, it’s a really exciting place to be in our school, because, for the moment, it’s a really great excuse to do things differently.”  

Published Tuesday, Jun. 17, 2014