Mr. James Parker Credit: St. Mary's Ryken High School / St. Mary's Ryken High School

Leonardtown, MD- Mr. Parker was selected from among 20 applicants for the position.  He impressed the interview panel with his deep understanding of SMR as a Xaverian Catholic community, St. Mary’s Ryken’s expectations for our students and appreciation for our families, and his wisdom concerning the guidance students need in order to grow to be positive, intelligent, self-directing young men and women.  He has earned the trust and support of his colleagues who selected him as the 2019 Archdiocese of Washington novice teacher of the year for St. Mary’s Ryken.

“I am happy to have the opportunity to serve in this new role,” said Mr. Parker. “I spent copious amounts of time praying to discern God’s will. I feel called to serve but know I will miss my classroom tremendously. The hardest part about making this transition is no longer having daily interactions with my music students and fine arts colleagues. They mean the world to me!”

Mr. Parker has a master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting and for the past 3 years was the Director of Instrumental Music at St. Mary’s Ryken. As the director, he oversaw six performance ensembles and three academic classes. He also restructured the instrumental program to offer a variety of opportunities for student achievement and leadership. As a very active member of the SMR community, he also created and expanded programs to include a pep band and the Knights Musical Mentors (KMM) for 7th and 8th graders who are mentored and then participate in the SMR fine arts winter concert.  

Of his appointment, Dr. Bowes said, “Mr. Parker is an expert teacher, a skilled planner, a devout Catholic with a deep interest in working with young people and helping them meet their potential.  He has a true appreciation for the individuality of each child.  He has high standards for student achievement and engagement.  St. Mary’s Ryken is blessed that Mr. Parker has accepted this new role as part of the administrative team!”

About his new role, Mr. Parker said: “I am excited most about broadening my knowledge about the student body. As a teacher, especially in music, you tend to only interact with the students in the art circle. I am looking forward to interacting with all students. My immediate goal is to be present. I will spend time in the SMR community observing and learning about our students. It is important that I take to the time to listen and learn.  I will be meeting with students, parents, faculty, staff, and alumni in hopes that they will share their experiences in the SMR community. This will allow me to focus on my vision.”

Mr. Parker will remain in his role in our Fine Arts Department as the Director of Instrumental Music until a replacement can be identified. 

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