Dear Parker Community,
This week, we began mailing out letters inviting you to join the Honorary Committee for our 2022 Spring Virtual Benefit, Parker Explorers: Celebrating 30 years of curiosity-driven learning.

In honor of Parker’s 30th Anniversary, we are thrilled to announce that this year’s Honorary Committee will be co-chaired by Meg Taylor and Susie Merrett. Meg and Susie both have an incredibly long history of leadership and service at Parker. We are honored that they have agreed to join us in this exciting effort to raise money in support of Parker Play Spaces, a campaign to build new and improve existing play structures throughout our campus. 
Read on to learn more about Meg and Susie’s histories with Parker, and please consider joining our Honorary Committee as soon as possible!
Meg Taylor became Head at Parker in 2003, after moving to the area from Pittsburgh where she was Director of the Lower School at Winchester Thurston School. She immediately fell in love with Parker. The culture of kindness and respect drew her in, and the promise of the undeveloped, 77-acre campus was so exciting!  
Meg quickly got to work, gathering parents, teachers and the Board to identify that developing the campus for student learning was a primary goal. In the ensuing years, with the generosity of volunteers and our steadfast donors, Parker built the 5K trail system, the low ropes course elements, a greenhouse and the pond. They welcomed Cornell Cooperative Extension gardeners as they created 8 demonstration gardens. They supported a student project to keep bees. All these things - and many more - were integrated into the science, social studies and physical education curriculum. At the same time, Meg extended science and Spanish with specialist teachers onto the lower grades and formed a study abroad partnership with St. Peter’s School in Spain.
Many wonderful projects were incorporated into the school curriculum during Meg’s ensuing years. The expertise and creativity of our teachers and their desire to bring learning alive for students spawned excitement and innovation. In 2014 our community conceived a Capital Campaign to expand our building with a science and performing wing. Substantial funds were raised, and the Discovery Center was completed with a ribbon cutting in 2017. 

Meg shares, “There is so much I feel proud that we accomplished during my 14 years at Parker - and all of it is due to the wonderful group of students, teachers, administrators, parents, trustees, donors and alumni. They faced all challenges together, never wavering from the school’s mission and motto. Parker is in my blood and bones! I am so grateful for what the school has given me - what it gives to all our students and faculty - the opportunity and challenge to learn and grow in a safe, supporting, inclusive and innovative place.” 

Meg is now retired and lives with her husband on an island in the Florida gulf. She has 8 little grandchildren and another one on the way. To this day, Meg still cherishes the fun and friends that shaped her life at Parker.
Susie Merrett holds the esteemed title as one of Parker’s founding parents and administrators. Susie was one of a group of parents who got together in the late 1980's looking for a progressive school for their children who were graduating from the Children's School at Emma Willard. After months of looking and meeting, the group decided to start the school they had envisioned. That was Parker's beginning. 

After years of teaching art in both public and private schools, Susie stepped into the role of the founding director of Parker, along with the myriad other roles that materialized in the first years of a new school. She continued to be a part of Parker's administrative team, as an associate director as well as a beloved art teacher, for the next twenty-five years. Susie retired in 2016, but she lives on in the memory of almost every Parker alumni, who often ask about her first whenever they reconnect with the school.
Susie is also the proud mother of two exemplary Parker alumni. Her son Sam promotes sailing freight on the Hudson River as the Founder and Captain of the Schooner Apollonia, featured HERE in the New York Times. Her daughter Molly, meanwhile, took her experiences of outdoor learning at Parker forward into a study of agriculture; she is now the Prepared Foods Manager at Atlas Farm, an organic farm in Deerfield, MA. 

Susie feels great joy that the dream of many years back has become the reality of today's thriving Parker School, which will always hold a special place in her heart.