When a desire runs deep, it never dies out even when the going gets tough. After 48 years in education Sharon Parker can’t see herself in any other career field. “I don’t think there was anything else I wanted to do rather than go to college and teach.” Parker is a magnet facilitator at Marrs Middle School and has been with the Omaha Public Schools since 1968. She’s a south Omaha girl who grew up on 15th and U St. As a child, Parker attended Brown Park for elementary and middle school, once located at 19th & U St. and then Omaha South High Magnet School.
Parker is the first generation in her family to attend college and her career jumped off soon after she completed her studies. She graduated from the University of Omaha and obtained her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and master’s degree in school administration and technology. When she graduated in 1968 she began teaching at the Lincoln School, once located near 13th and Center St. She taught there until 1974. Her next journey took her to Spring Lake Magnet School where she taught kindergarten and fourth grade. Parker stayed at Spring Lake for more than 20 years before moving to Marrs Magnet in 1996, to help run their technology program. It was in 1998 Parker moved into an instructional facilitator role and then became the Marrs magnet facilitator. Today, Parker also handles data research, works with teachers on classroom instruction and coordinates testing.
Parker’s commitment to education started as a child. Her Mom always read to her and that’s when her love for books developed. “I was just one of those that I went to school and I liked the structure of school. I came home and I had a school desk in the basement, played school as I grew up” says Parker. Her love for books eventually launched into a lifelong career in education.
Anytime Parker needs to dig deep for some inspiration all she has to do is look into the eyes of one her students and recall teaching their parent as a fourth grader. “I want to ensure kids value education and get a good education here. That keeps me going. Every year I say I should think about retiring but I think maybe I could help one more kid.”
It’s clear Parker is determined to impact as many generations as she can reach. “The joy I get is when I see these kids leave and you get a graduation notice. The connection with families and kids is awesome” says Parker. Parker also attributes her unyielding commitment to education to family and positive school leadership. “My husband was really helpful in knowing that you can always make it better, it’s all about your attitude” says Parker.
If you’re ever feeling the blues about your path in education just remember “whether you see it or not, you do make a difference” says Parker.