New Frenship department head said move to Frenship is like coming home

For Kim Parker, moving to Frenship is almost like moving back home.

Parker, the new head of Frenship Independent School District’s special education department, started her job Monday. She last worked in Big Spring, but was raised in Dickens County.

“This is kind of home,” Parker said, noting that with just 70 miles separating her childhood home and Lubbock, her family came to this area for everything from shopping needs to dentistry. “When you live in a rural area, you come to Lubbock for everything.”

Another reason it seems like home is the presence of her son, Justin, and her three grandsons. Her daughter, Jayme, lives in Dallas.

Parker got a bachelor’s degree at West Texas State University and a master’s degree from Texas Women’s University in Denton.

She has been in education “in one form or fashion” for 33 years. She started her career as a speech therapist, but has even taught college-level courses in speech, theater and business speech.

Acknowledging that many people are afraid of public speaking, she said in her college courses, she tried to make the subject fun.

“I had a lot of fun activities to kind of take that fear factor away,” Parker said.

An aunt who was a speech therapist got her interested in the field when she started college, but Parker said it was two different special education coordinators at two different school districts who encouraged her to become a director of special education.

Although she admits to being detail oriented — a must for someone in charge of the enormous amounts of paperwork necessary in special education — she said that’s not the reason she was drawn to the job.

“It’s the love of kids and seeing them progress and excel to their potential,” she said.

Students in the special education department need a little extra help, she said, and those who work in the department must have the desire to serve people.

She enjoys getting out into classrooms as much as possible, she said. Sitting in an office, she hears many negatives, she said, but in the schools, she sees the positive impact of her job.

Parker said she sees no need to make a lot of changes at Frenship just yet, although she brings a lot of experience to the job.

“This was a well-managed department” in a progressive school district, Parker said.

Monday may have been her first day at Frenship, but Parker said she was eager to come to work. After three weeks of being home, she said, “It felt good to have an office to come to this morning. I was anxious to get in here, get started.”

Parker hit the ground running, and had already spoken to several parents by Monday afternoon. Special education, she said, never really stops during the summer. She said in some ways, it seems particularly busy because many 3-year-old children are referred to special education over the summer.

In her free time, Parker said she enjoys playing keyboard, listing all types of music except rap and heavy metal among her repertoire. At one time, she said she even taught piano lessons. She also is her grandsons’ No. 1 fan in his athletic endeavors.

Recently, Parker said she has started researching her family’s history. Her research recently led her to a picture of her great-great-great-great grandmother, she said.

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