Parker named CMS Principal of the Year


Photo by Lucia Wallace

CMS Superintendent Clayton Wilcox presents CMS Principal of the Year to principal Rick Parker.

Story by Layna Hong, Managing Editor

The East Meck media center quiets down as principal Rick Parker approaches the front door. As he enters the room, he is greeted by a loud “surprise!” He had just been named Principal of the Year for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) about a month after being named the Central Learning Community Principal of the Year.

“[I was] humbled and overwhelmed,” Parker said. “To see you guys here, supporting me, it means the world to me.”

The media center was packed full of teachers and students, from student congress to Parker’s parents to the CMS Superintendent, Clayton Wilcox. For his announcement as Central Learning Community Principal of the Year, there was a similar set up. However, this new award covers all of CMS, not just the community that includes schools like Myers Park and Randolph Middle School. Wilcox said that it was an honor to present the award to Parker.  

“People believe in him, because he believes in them,” Wilcox said.

Parker said that this award was not possible without the help of the community at East.

“I could not do it without a group of people like this in my corner,” he said. “I’ve been at East for the last nineteen years, this is my family.”

He is proud to represent East and CMS. Wilcox agrees that East has become an impressive school.

“This is a school that has surpassed expectations for three consecutive years,” he said. “It is also one of our most diverse student bodies in the county.”

Parker said that the achievements of the students are what really make East great.

“When [students] do great things and get out there and get scholarships and do big projects and bring in people from the outside, [it’s] our brand and we want people to come see what you can do,” Parker said.

This is why he believes that the award isn’t just for him.

“It’s not just me that does it all,” Parker said. “It’s more [the school’s] award than it is mine and that’s just the way I feel.”

East was awarded the title of Global-Ready by the North Carolina State Board of Education this past November. Parker believes that the students and staff are the East brand, and that his new title will help people realize what East is really like.

“We’re being considered, a lot of the time, a diamond in the rough and I believe we’re a diamond,” he said.