Jennifer Parker

According to her supervisor, the hallmark of Principal Jennifer Parker’s leadership is her keen emotional intelligence, which she leverages to motivate stakeholders to join her in making change. In the two schools where she has served as principal, this skill has allowed her to move “recalcitrant, set-in-their-ways faculties” and “economically and culturally diverse parent groups” to embrace initiatives that have allowed her to affect “large-scale change in complex environments.” As founding principal of Purple Heart Elementary School (PHES), a pre-K-5 school that opened in 2015, Parker has played an instrumental role in developing a unique, 21st Century learning environment—the first of its kind in the El Paso area. Designed to promote flexibility and collaboration, PHES emphasizes college-readiness, lifelong learning, and critical and creative thinking skills through technology-supported and interdisciplinary, project-based learning. To meet the needs of PHES’s highly mobile community of military families, Parker has strived to create a high-impact experience by hiring, retaining, and cultivating teachers who are curious, creative, and eager to hone their practice to meet the learning needs of students living in a global society. As Parker says, “we are teaching the students of the future, so we had to leave some teaching practices in the past.” She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education, a Master of Education, and a Principal Certification all from the University of Texas at El Paso.