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Press release from Haywood Community College, shared March 28:
The Haywood Community College Board of Trustees announced the selection of Barbara Sue Messer Parker, Ph.D., as the new president of Haywood Community College contingent upon approval of the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges. The announcement was made at a special called board meeting on March 28. Parker currently is the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Rutherford County Schools in Forest City, N.C. She will assume her new position as HCC president on July 1, 2013.
Parker brings to the presidency over 30 years of experience in education. “My perspective is unique,” she said. “Every encounter I’ve had, every position I’ve held has broadened my knowledge and made me a better leader.”
Parker describes herself as a native of Haywood County and a product of Haywood County Schools. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in special education K-12 from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Parker earned both a Master of Arts in special education and a Master of Arts in school administration from Western Carolina University. She earned a Doctorate in educational leadership from Western Carolina University as well.
In the course of her career, Parker was employed for 20 years by Haywood County Schools where she served in various roles including principal of Jonathan Valley Elementary School and principal of Waynesville Middle School. Parker then worked for Buncombe County Schools as principal of A.C. Reynolds Middle School, director of secondary education and director of middle schools and 21st Century Professional Teaching Standards. While in Buncombe County, Parker worked closely with Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College to implement a middle college program as well as an early college high school program on the A-B Tech campus. As project liaison for the school system, she continued to work closely with the college even after the programs were established. “I gained foundational knowledge with regard to the structure and operation of a community college,” she said.
She assumed her current position for Rutherford County Schools in July 2010. In this role, Parker also works with Isothermal Community College through collaborative partnerships such as early college and career and college promise.
Having worked in three different counties, Parker has an expanded understanding of the region, communities and people of Western North Carolina.
“As president of HCC, this personal knowledge of our locale will enable me to work more effectively with local industries and county leaders to meet the educational and workforce needs of our county and region,” she said.
Parker is excited to be returning to Haywood County to work. “I look forward to working with people I know and have respected all of my life,” she said, “ My leadership style has been influenced by my experiences as an educator, as well as my life experiences and upbringing in a supportive, close-knit community. Effective leaders build strong relationships with their constituents and create an environment of high expectations, professionalism and respect.”
Parker grew up in the Crabtree community of Haywood County and continues to make her home there. She is married to Greg Parker, who recently retired as principal of Riverbend Elementary School. They have one daughter, Blane, who lives with her husband in Wilson, N.C.
“Growing up in Haywood County, I have had the opportunity to watch Haywood Community College transform into the institution it is today. I am excited to be a part of the college and recognize the critical impact the college has on our county’s economic development. I look forward to giving back to my community by becoming more involved with local organizations and community events.”
William H. Aiken is currently serving as interim president of Haywood Community College and will remain until Parker assumes the position in July.