Before he became a respected teacher in Atlantic City and groundbreaking politician in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, Andrew Parker III ’12, an MS in Education (MSEd) graduate, had a dream: He wanted to lift others to help contribute to the greater good.
Parker has done that—and more. Along with being named one of the top 50 math and science teachers in the U.S. and being the first African American elected to the Egg Harbor Township Committee, one of his proudest change achievements came closer to home. It was there he convinced his wife, Neysha Parker ’14, to pursue her MSEd at Walden, furthering the family’s focus on positively impacting the world around them.
I had my bachelor’s degree in business and was working in my father’s heating and air conditioning company, Parker Aire. I was supplementing my income by working as a substitute teacher and then an instructional aide in the Atlantic City School District. The principal of the school eventually offered me a full-time job, saying, “You’re here every day anyway, and the students like you.” I accepted it, of course, and that triggered my desire for a master’s degree. Of all the universities available, I chose Walden because of its passion and commitment to encouraging positive social change.
I was looking at different schools, and Andrew reminded me that since he’d already graduated from Walden, we knew how they worked, we had a relationship with them, and we knew the quality of the program. It was an easy decision. Before Walden, I was teaching special education and then was an elementary school teacher, but neither really felt right for me. Getting my MSEd allowed me to change my career path and get a position teaching English as a second language instead, and that’s my strength. I love what I do now.
There have been quite a few of our colleagues who have gotten their PhDs through Walden. We’re surrounded by a network of Walden graduates. I enjoyed every minute of my experience, and I would absolutely choose Walden again. There are so many good, hardworking alumni out there making positive changes in our community. I’m honored to be part of that community.
Absolutely. Walden gave me the freedom, organizational skills, and self-discipline to own each task and conquer them. I’m so glad Andrew led the way and referred me. I wouldn’t change it for a minute.