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Following an extensive search and several rounds of interviews, the Flossmoor School District 161 Board of Education on February 28 announced the hiring of Ursula Parris as Parker Junior High School’s new principal. Parris will join the administrative team at Parker Junior High on July 1, 2022, replacing current principal Amabel Crawford, who will return to the District Office as Director of Learning and Instruction.

“Our principal interview process involved multiple rounds with our Board President, parents, administrators, teachers, there was a student component, a coaching demonstration and presentation. When we hire a building principal, we know that it’s going to impact thousands and thousands of kids. It’s a decision that we don’t take lightly and I’m very pleased to recommend Ursula to join not only Parker, but our District,” said Dr. Dana Smith, Superintendent. “Parker Junior High is a special place with incredible children and amazing staff members, so it is important that we find the right fit. Through this inclusive, community driven process, I believe we have found a great leader in Ms. Parris.”

Parris joins District 161 with an impressive administrative resume, including a number of professional certifications and nearly 30 years in public education. Parris’ career in education ranges from her beginning as a science and mathematics teacher, to eventually serving as Principal of Pinellas County Schools’ Meadowlawn Middle School in Largo, Florida, a role she has served in since 2017. Prior to that, Parris worked as the Assistant Principal of Curriculum with Pinellas County Schools’ Seminole High School and Duval County Public Schools’ Andrew Jackson High School, prior to that.

Parris holds a Master’s of Science in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and a Bachelor of Science in Food Service Administration from Florida State University.

Though Crawford will resume her full-time position as Director of Learning and Instruction, she will also play a significant role in welcoming the new principal to Parker Junior High School to ensure a smooth transition of leadership.