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Questions for the candidates: Concord School Board District B, David Parker

Published: 10/25/2019 2:06:28 PM

David Parker is facing Max Schultz in Concord School Board District B, which includes wards 5, 6 and 7. Nancy Kane is not running for re-election.

David Parker

How long have I lived in Concord? I was born here. I went to public school and graduated from Concord High School. Since then I have lived in a variety of places, but started my education practice here 33 years ago and have lived in Concord for the past 22 years.

Profession: I am an educational administrator and the founder of Parker Education; a private special needs school, consulting and tutoring service.

Other experience: I started my career as an environmental educator in the North Country. I ran wilderness and cultural travel programs with students all over the country. I also worked in student life at the college level and taught eighth-grade earth science at Rundlett Middle School. I have sat on numerous boards and supported the arts and other charitable causes. Prior to that, I worked in restaurants.

What two issues are most important to you, and what would you do to address them?

Leadership: In my opinion, the problems that are surfacing this year are a result of the lack of strong leadership. This goes for the school board and the administration. The current situation exposed a lack of a skill set for solving problems and an unwillingness to take responsibility. Healthy organizations encourage the flow of information at all levels. Apparently, the teachers in the classroom are not encouraged to voice their opinions. Students do not feel listened to. Parents walk away frustrated that their complaints are not heard or followed through on. Changing that culture will take time. It will also take the determination to change things and this starts with defining the real problems and admitting mistakes. Unfortunately, it also means replacing certain people so that we can have new and fresh ideas. As a school board member, I would hope to work collaboratively with other board members to help facilitate those changes.

Mental health: We are seeing an increasing number of students who are experiencing anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. This is happening at all income levels. Teachers are often asked to educate students without the skills or training to help. Student absences are on a precipitous rise. There is not a simple answer but I would try to use my experience in this area to try to collaborate more with local and state agencies to share in the responsibility and costs of treating this increasing population of students. I would also look at our professional development programming. New treatment models that bring cutting edge research to this problem exist. We need to start using them.

What voice/skills would you add to city government?

I speak my mind. I have strong leadership skills having been in leadership positions most of my life. I listen carefully and scrutinize deliberately. I’ve also worked in the trenches and appreciate the hard work our teachers and staff perform. I understand budgets and fiscal responsibility having run my own business for over 30 years. I have a great deal of experience with special education and mental health issues. As a lifelong educator in public and private education, from middle schools to colleges, I appreciate the challenges and the rewards.

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