Meet Zachary Parker
Zachary Parker is an educator and public servant. He was elected in 2018 by Ward 5 neighbors to serve as their representative on the DC State Board of Education and served as President of the State Board after his colleagues unanimously selected him in January 2021.
Zachary taught 7th-grade math in New Orleans, post-Katrina, with Teach For America, and he has spent the last eight years supporting DC school administrators at Ward 5 schools like Dunbar High School and Mundo Verde PCS.
Zachary sees firsthand the human impact of a system that leaves our most vulnerable behind. He grew up watching his oldest brother struggle with a one-size-fits-all school system that did not have the resources to support him, and now sees the challenges he faces in life because of it.
And Zachary suffered alongside his middle brother through a long and exhaustive battle with a healthcare system that treated him more like a problem than a patient before he ultimately passed away at 36 from kidney failure. These shouldn’t be the experiences families have when interacting with our public institutions. Zachary has dedicated his life's work to transforming the systems that failed his brothers and so many like them.
Though Zachary grew up on the South Side of Chicago, DC is his home. He is committed to serving this community that has been home to extended family members for decades.
He graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders and from Columbia University, Teachers College with his Master of Arts in Policy and Leadership. Zachary is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and board member of Love to Langa, a U.S.-based non-profit expanding educational opportunities in Langa, South Africa.
Zachary’s Track Record of Service:
Community Work and Successes
★ Coordinated volunteers to knock on 3,000+ doors during the pandemic to help Ward 5 neighbors make a plan to get vaccinated and take advantage of rental assistance programs
★ Provided Ward 5 seniors over 1,000 meals and care packages with gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer throughout the pandemic
★ Established the Ward 5 Education Equity Committee — after years of inactivity and gridlock with the Ward 5 Council on Education — to give Ward 5 families and educators a voice in citywide education policy debates
★ Established the Ward 5 Education Collaborative to raise and disperse funding to Ward 5 school communities to advance equity and support student outcomes
★ Established the Ward 5 Back-to-School Supplies Giveaway Event which has provided nearly $20,000 in school supplies to Ward 5 students
★ Helped block proposed cuts to transportation plan for homeless youth in Ward 5
★ Led community walks and provided neighbors information on coordinated government resources to address increase in violent crime
★ Donated wifi hotspots and other school supplies to Ward 5 education communities during the pandemic to support distance learning
State Board of Education
★ Co-authored Resolution 21-8, calling for traffic safety measures around all DC public schools, which informed in part the Safe Routes to School Expansion Regulation Amendment Act of 2021, unanimously introduced by DC Council
★ Selected unanimously by his colleagues as President in January 2021
★ Led the State Board in introducing legislation in 2021 to the DC Council to make critical teacher data public to help combat DC’s teacher turnover crisis
★ Developed the State Board’s Equity Framework to support students, diversify DC’s teacher workforce, and expand culturally responsive instruction
★ Voted in favor of Resolution 20-10, calling to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline and remove police from DC’s public schools
★ Authored Resolution 20-8, calling on the Office of the State Superintendent to make a central resource hub available to parents of students with learning disabilities, which now exists for families
★ Authored Resolution 20-1, calling for the full funding of the Birth-to-Three Act
★ Served on the State Board’s Social Studies Committee, responsible for informing the process to update DC’s social studies standards
★ Advocated for the full renovation of the old Crummell School in Ivy City ($20 million allocated during 2021 budget cycle)
★ Advocated for a greener Brentwood community and against the proposed W Street Bus Terminal
★ Advocated for increased safe passage and Vision Zero resources to keep community members safe
★ Advocated for increased funding for school-based and community-based mental health resources (fully funded during 2021 budget cycle)
★ Advocated for the full renovation of the old Spingarn High School building ($52 million allocated during 2020 budget cycle)
★ Partnered with ANCs, Civic Associations, and community leaders to secure long-denied building repairs for Ward 5 neighborhood schools
★ Partnered with ANCs, Civic Associations, and community leaders to pass resolutions and advocate for fully funding the Birth-to-Three Act