Parker tapped for Haywood Community College president

By Vicki Hyatt | Mar 28, 2013

Haywood County native Barbara Sue Messer Parker has been named the new Haywood Community College president.

Parker has worked in education administration for the past 15 years, most recently at Rutherford County Schools where she is the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. She previously worked in Buncombe County for seven years as the A.C. Reynolds Middle School principal, director of secondary education and director of middle schools.

Parker said she is excited to once again work in in the county where she was raised and where she and her husband, Greg, currently live. She not only is a product of Haywood County Schools, but worked in the local school system for 20 years where she taught and served as principal of both Jonathan Valley Elementary and Waynesville Middle School.
"For me, I've done K-12," Parker said. "It's exciting to be at Haywood Community College where I'm in another level of education."

Parker said her administrative experience in education will serve her well in her new post.

"The learning curve is learning the community college practices, policies and curriculum," she said.

When she assumes her new post on July 1, Parker promised she would "hit the ground learning. I'll be spending a lot of time becoming acquainted with the college staff and courses. There will be no abrupt changes, she said in describing her management style.

"I learn. I talk with people, and I ask a lot of questions so I can understand the culture and why things are done they way they are," she said.

Parker said she considered applying for the post the first time it was advertised but didn't. Then when the board didn't make a selection, she decided to throw her name in the mix.

"This was always something I had an interest in," she said.

As for her vision for the future, Parker said she is interested in helping grow an already excellent college by serving students, the community and serving as a vital piece of the economic development for Haywood County.

As distance learning becomes a larger component of education in the nation, Parker said it is important to be open about new forms of education.

"We need to think about education in different ways and how we provide it," she said. "We also need to think about our learners, students who have grown up with technology their entire lives."

Parker obtained her bachelor of arts and master's degree in special education. She also holds a master's degree in school administration and has a doctorate in educational leadership.

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