Parker: I Resigned to Avoid Conflict
The Bartow County school board member, whose resignation is effective at the end of the year, hopes to be involved with the proposed Career Academy.
Larry Parker’s resignation is effective Dec. 31. Parker, who works for the Chattooga County School System, said he resigned because he wants to pursue an opportunity at the Career Academy, which is proposed for the old Cass High School. Applying for that position while sitting on the board would be a conflict of interest, Parker said.
“I wish it hadn't because I loved being a part of that board,” Parker said. “They have children in their hearts. That's all they care about, the kids in Bartow County.”
The Bartow County school board is a fantastic group, Parker said.
“It breaks my heart, as far as resigning from the board,” he said. “The board was a group of people that could look into the future and see things that needed to be done. They care. They care about kids and making sure they have advantages and all the things necessary to make it a great school system.”
The Career Academy is one way the school system hopes to target students who have dropped out of school or are being homeschooled as an alternative to attending a traditional high school. Being involved in such a program would be a dream come true to Parker, who spent part of his 43 years in education as a career transitional specialist at Coosa Valley Technical College.
“To be able to guide people in that direction was one of the best jobs I ever had,” he said.
Board Chairman Davis Nelson was the school’s system’s superintendent when Parker was hired as principal at Adairsville High School, and Nelson said Parker has been a big advocate of students who don’t want to go the traditional education route.
“He has a big interest in doing some work for that type child,” Nelson said.
Nelson said Parker had been mulling over his options, so his resignation didn’t come as a surprise.
“I've known him forever,” Nelson said. “I knew that fire was still burning in him to still be involved. It wasn't a big shock to me.”
Board member Wanda Cagle Gray said that Parker’s announcement on Monday night made her sad for the children of Bartow County.
“He was a great guy to work with,” she said. “His heart was always right, and I’m going to miss him. I’m going to miss him a bunch.”
The board will appoint someone to fill Parker’s District 5 seat until his term expires at the end of next year. Qualifying for his seat will be in July, and the election will be held in November. Nelson said he’s already had several people express their interest in the post.
“We would hope that whoever would want to be considered for that seat would run for re-election,” he said.
The goal is to appoint the new board member at the school board’s Feburary meeting, Nelson said.
“I don't know if we could pull it off quick enough for the January board meeting,” he said. “We're trying to put things together.”
Anyone interested in being appointed to Parker’s seat can contact any of the school board members. Their contact information is on the school system’s website.