|9 Nov 2020|
I cannot tell you how sad I am to have to pass on the news of the death of Colin Parker, who was deputy head of Lawrence Sheriff from 1999 - 2004. Colin was the first deputy that I worked with after I was appointed as headteacher in January 1999. The governors suggested that Gareth Redd, who had recently retired as Senior Deputy, should do an initial sift of applications in order to steer me through what was to be my first senior appointment. I remember Gareth rushing over to my office to tell me that he had just read an application from ‘an absolute gem’ who he was confident ‘would be a perfect fit in the school’. Gareth rarely got things wrong and his initial description of Colin proved to be both perceptive and accurate.
In the five years that I worked with Colin I came to value all that made him such an ‘absolute gem’- his integrity, loyalty, shrewd advice, quiet authority and wonderfully dry sense of humour. Colin was a fine academic who captivated students with his teaching of history and who also introduced A level Politics to the school. He was a skilful timetabler and had a wonderful grasp of what the strategic direction for the school should be. However, it was his qualities as a person, his concern for other people and willingness to make time for them regardless of who they were that made the deepest impression upon me.
Colin left us in September 2004 to become headteacher of King Edward VI Aston in Birmingham. He brought to them all of the qualities that made him such a wonderful deputy of LSS. Over the following years his combination of thoughtful leadership, clear strategic thinking and care for each individual in his school made him one of the leading headteachers of his generation. I was recently contacted by an educational researcher who asked me to nominate a leader who combined a long track record of success with moral integrity and a determination to do the right thing. I suggested that they speak to Colin before they had even finished asking their question.
Happily our links with the Parker family continued after Colin left us. Mrs Parker worked at the school first as examinations officer and then as a teacher of mathematics until 2019. We were extremely fortunate to be able to call on Mrs Parker’s skills as a very talented Head of Mathematics and our loss was the Church of England’s gain when Jo left us in 2019 to begin ordination training.
Since Colin left LSS we have remained close friends and normally met for breakfast at the start of each holiday to exchange stories, swap footballing rivalries (we forgave one another long ago for supporting two arch rivals - Liverpool and Arsenal) and generally put the world to rights. I will miss Colin more than I can say.
All of us send our love, prayers and deepest sympathy to Jo Parker and to their children Henry, Ellie and Tom.