Mike Parker Becomes the Dean of Students


Mike Parker poses for a school photo

 Mike Parker took the student body by surprise. Parker has ascended from his classroom to the main office to replace Stephen Moorman as the Dean of Students at FHN, a move that has secretly been in the works for months.

“Here’s what you don’t know: I’ve applied to be in administration. I’ve been trying for like 10 years,” Parker said. “So I was super excited, nervous, more so excited because I had tried for so long and I finally got a chance to take the job and see what I could do with that. It was extremely gratifying.”

The interview process was rigorous. It started at the “building-screening level.” It involved three FHN administrators and a FHC administrator, Marletha Davis, all of which watched Parker to see if he was admin material. The second step is the “panel level” composed of students, parents, teachers and administrators. The final step was the “central office level.” Parker had to meet with a panel of some influential people: Nathen Hostetler and the superintendent,  Mary Hendricks Harris. It all paid off and Parker was the man for the job.

“I immediately thought, ‘Oh man, I can’t mess this up,’ and I had to keep it secret for quite a long time,” Parker said. “I couldn’t tell any of the people that I’ve known for so long and I’ve taught with because it has to be, it had to be board approved before I could go public with it.”

For 18 years Parker taught freshman U.S History, contemporary issues and success classes. Now, however, Parker has a new job description. 

“I handle problems and try to fix issues that are going on. Literally that’s it. Day In and day out,” Parker said. “If something happens, if a student has a complaint, a student has a question, if the student needs something, if a student has an issue with another student, if a student has an issue with a teacher, if a parent has an issue with something that’s going on at school, all of this is stuff that gets dealt with. If a student decides to make a poor choice, I have to deal with that. So everything, every, every day, everything is different. In the classroom, you kind of know what’s going on day in and day out. This job you show up, you have no idea what’s going to happen.

It’s solving problems that originally drew Parker’s attention to becoming an administrator. While Parker loved the interactions with his students, the predictability of planned lessons conflicted with Parker’s true nature.

“I really do like solving problem,” Parker said. “So the fact that every day is different and I get to solve different problems at different times? Fantastic.” 

It doesn’t stop at the dean of students. Parker has ambitions for further career growth in the broad world of administration. Dean of students is just one milestone in Parker’s marathon.

“In Francis Howell School District, the dean of students is like the pathway to becoming an assistant principal,” Parker said. “Like it opens up the door. Even though you’re taking on assistant principal duties and roles, it’s really the stepping stone into becoming that assistant principal job, I think my dream job as an administrator would be to be an athletic director or activities director like Mr. Janice.” 

Senior Oliver Palmer, a former student of Parker in his contemporary issues class, was optimistic about Parker’s new promotion to the spot of dean of students.

I’m excited for Parker and his new position at FHN,” Palmer said. “He’s really good with kids and I’m sure he’ll do just as good a job as dean as he did as a teacher.

Don’t expect too many drastic changes this year. Status quo is currently the policy in place. Right now, big changes aren’t Parker’s main priority.

“I’m not going to lie. It’s all about learning, learning the job, learning what is expected. Learning how to handle different situations that arise,” Parker said. “It’s about learning how to talk to parents, even though I know how to talk to parents, but it’s a different role. So right now everything is learning. I think ultimately there are things that I will want to change eventually; however, right now it’s all about just learning the job. I’ll change some things that we do differently with open house and parent teacher conferences, but right now I’m gonna keep stuff the same because it’s right now it’s all about me learning. And once I get a little bit more comfortable, then I could come in and change.”