Dr. John W. Parker: Devoted to District’s Early Success

  • If there were a Mount Rushmore of Rush-Henrietta leaders, John Parker would have a strong case for his likeness to appear.

    Parker, for whom our administration building is named, was one of the Rush-Henrietta Central School District’s founding fathers. A central figure in the district’s formative years, the one-time vice principal and principal was one of the most recognizable, respected Rush-Henrietta figures of his time. He also taught English, math, and social studies, and coached baseball and soccer.

    Born in Rochester, Parker graduated from Monroe High School in 1929. He graduated four years later from Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., and received his master’s degree from the University of Rochester. He began his teaching career at independent schoolhouses before our district was formed. He eventually became a principal in the building that is home to the Rush Post Office. He also served as principal at Henrietta High School, in the building that originally was called Monroe Academy.

    In 1947, Parker and George Yackel were selected to lead the newly established Rush-Henrietta Central School District. At the time, the Honeoye Falls Times newspaper described Parker as someone who was “continually working for the betterment of his school and community.” He held the title of supervising principal.

    The Rush-Henrietta Central School District opened July 1, 1947. Students from many one-room schoolhouses in Rush and Henrietta were brought together for the first time. Soon after, families began moving to the suburbs at an unprecedented rate. Parker likened the population explosion to a brush fire. He served as an administrator during a challenging time when Rush-Henrietta was building a new school each year or two. It was a stressful time in a growing district.

    For its first two decades, Rush-Henrietta was a supervisory district under the supervision of the Monroe One BOCES superintendent. The Rush-Henrietta administrator was referred to as a district principal. Once Rush-Henrietta reached a certain threshold of students, it was able to apply to the local district superintendent of schools to have its own superintendent.

    Parker led Rush-Henrietta for 15 years and served as the district’s first official superintendent between 1966 and 1968. He retired at the age of 58. It was a fitting conclusion to a long and productive career during which he helped shape the successful school district we know and appreciate.

    When Parker announced his retirement, Assemblyman Donald W. Cook publicly mused: “I wonder if they are going to be able to replace him with someone as capable.”

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