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Cedar Lee Principal selected as Lancaster County Public Schools superintendent

Tuesday, May. 13 | By Hannah Dellinger
Steven the Parker receiving Washington Post Educational Leadership Award in 2013.
Fauquier Times Staff Photo
Cedar Lee Principal Steven Parker will leave his post in Fauquier at the end of the school year to fill the role of superintendent of the Lancaster County Public School system.

LCPS, located in Virginia’s Northern Neck, announced the decision at their school board meeting on Monday night. Parker was chosen over the other final candidate Jack McKinley, principal of Belle Heth Elementary School in Radford.

Interim superintendent of LCPS Sandy Spears said over the phone that she is very pleased with the school board’s selection.

“We’re excited about him coming,” she said. “As the acting superintendent I’m looking forward to meeting with him and helping him get off to a good start. I think he’s a great selection.”

Parker has an outstanding reputation in the within the Fauquier County school system for taking over Cedar Lee, the only unaccredited school in the county in 2005, and working hard to attain accreditation in 2007.

Parker began his career serving in the military for eight years. During that time he served in the Army criminal investigations. He said that he loved serving his country, but the dark realities of what he saw on the job were startling.

“There were so many things that broke my heart about being a policeman that I really wanted to be in a position where I could be a positive influence on children,” said Parker in a press release. “I wanted to make a difference in the lives of kids before they go to the point where I was seeing them as a police office.”

Parker received a bachelor of science in national security and public affairs from West Point University in 1986.
He left the military in 1994, anxious to get a job in the education system. Since he was discharged in October, Parker had to serve as a substitute teacher in a Culpeper elementary school until finding full-time employment the next school year as a seventh-grade math teacher at a middle school in Culpeper.

“I fell in love with middle school,” he said. “It takes somebody really crazy to do that, but then [in the military] I jumped out of airplanes for a living too.”

He said that it takes a special kind of person to be able work with middle school students in an effective and caring manner.

“Middle school is a calling; it truly is,” he said. “You have to have a sense of humor and be serious about what you do but not about yourself.”

As a teacher Parker coached football and helped guide the Culpeper County High School football team to a state championship in 1999.

Parker became the assistant principal of Warren County Middle School in 2003, before coming to Cedar Lee to serve as principal two years later.

In 2013 Parker received the Washington Post Educational Leadership Award for Fauquier County for his efforts to better the quality of Cedar Lee.

While at Cedar Lee he helped to form a Parent Teacher Organization where none existed. He instituted a Focus and Recovery room in order to give students a time out to reflect on any disruptive behavior. He formed a leadership team of parents, students, faculty members and any staff members who wished to attend. He organized a discipline team and promoted a positive behavior intervention and support program.

Parker says that he gets great results because he simply expects them.

“I have high expectations for everyone,” he said. “People will live up or down to our expectations. You get what you ask for.”

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