Parsons wears many hats as CMR principal


Mackenzie George, Editor in Chief

Kerry Parsons’ days can be described in a single word: long.

CMR’s fifth principal, in the midst of his third year at the school’s helm, can be found at his desk by 7:20 each morning, usually with a pile of voicemails to sift through. His days often end with student activities, whether it be a choir concert, football game, or board meeting.

“There’s always something,” Parsons said with a chuckle.

This is his 29th year in education, so he is no stranger to the hustle and bustle of school. He started his career in Medicine Lake, Mont., working as a science and health enhancement teacher as well as a coach. Later, when he moved to Great Falls to teach biology at CMR, he continued to coach both boys and girls basketball for a number of years.

“I got into administration starting in 2005,” Parsons explained. “I was an associate principal until I became the principal of East Middle School for two years.”

Parsons then returned to CMR after being hired as principal in 2015, replacing Dick Kloppel.

“There are different challenges [transitioning from teacher to administrator],” Parsons said. “You become responsible for a greater portion of the student body, you become responsible for a lot of the procedures and processes that go on in the building, and then certainly the evaluation and management of the adults or staff, too.”

As the face of CMR, Parsons receives many calls and emails that must be sifted through first thing in the morning. A large portion of his schedule is dedicated to meetings — with associate principals, counselors, the school resource officer, and other officials.

Thanks to the passage of the bond last year, many of these appointments have to do with construction. Parsons said the logistics of both safety and how the work will affect the operation of CMR are often at the forefront of these meetings.

“Then I try to get out and get into classrooms, try to work with teachers on the supervision and evaluation of instruction,” he said.

Parsons’ desk looks neat and tidy, belying the amount of paperwork that crosses his desk. All the purchasing that goes on in the building must ultimately go through him, Parsons said.

“I’ll give approval for a teacher who wants to do something unique with their students. If there’s an accident report, if there’s a leave request…that paperwork has to come through me,” he said.

Not all of his duties relegate him to his desk, however. He oversees many student activities such as concerts or games.

“Going to activities and watching students perform in areas outside of the classroom is neat to see,” Parsons said.

Parsons has noticed that the little things around CMR are often the most worthwhile.

“I think some of the fun things are just watching people thrive at what they’re doing, whether it’s kids in the classroom, whether it’s teachers putting forth a good lesson, a lot of those subtle things are rewarding to me,” Parsons said. “Just to see people in an environment at your school where they can be successful is rewarding. Sometimes it’s not the big glamorous things of high notoriety, but it’s just the day-to-day successes that kind of motivate me.”