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Parkhurst Named Exemplary New Principal of the Year

Dr. Joseph Parkhurst, Holden High School principal, and winner of the 2021 exemplary new principal of the year award.

The Holden R-III School District is very proud to announce that one of its administrators was recently the recipient of a very prestigious award.

Dr. Joseph Parkhurst, Holden High School principal, was named the Exemplary New Principal of the Year on Friday, April 16.

The award was given by The Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals (MoASSP), Central Region.

Dr. Parkhurst was both humbled and surprised by the honor.

The Central Region encompasses more than 70 school districts, so to be selected is indeed an honor.

The Exemplary New Principal Award is a peer nominated and voted award that celebrates a new principal who has shown leadership qualities of a veteran administrator.

The mission of MoASSP is to improve secondary education through positive leadership and the enhancement of student performance.

Dr. Parkhurst has been the principal at Holden High School for one year and loves the job, the students, and the staff he works with.

Prior to his current position, Dr. Parkhurst served for two years as the R-III Activities Director, and three years as HHS assistant principal.

He has 10 years of experience in the education field, having taught social studies at Sherwood and Belton schools.

He also coached football, wrestling and track at both schools.

Prior to beginning his career in education, Dr. Parkhurst spent one year at Avila University as an assistant football coach.

Originally from Pleasant Hill and a graduate of Pleasant Hill High School, he now lives in Harrisonville with his wife Kristine and twin four-year-old sons, Jaxon and Finnegan.

On his educational journey, Dr. Parkhurst attended Avila University, earning a B.A. in history; William Woods University, where he earned a M.A. in Educational Leadership; and Baker University, receiving an Ed.D in Educational Leadership.

He came to the career in education through a personal experience that led him in that direction. “I started college as a marketing major, but realized early on that I was positively impacted by many of the teachers and coaches that I had,” Dr. Parkhurst explained. “I wanted to be someone who would have the same impact on students that I experienced as a student. So I switched my major to education.”

Dr. Parkhurst has certainly made an impact on the students he works with, as well as the staff members at Holden High School.

Grant Guevel, high school assistant principal, said of his experiences with Dr. Parkhurst, “Working with Dr. Parkhurst has afforded me an opportunity to learn from an outstanding administrator and building leader. “Dr. Parkhurst works to serve the students, staff, and community here at Holden each and every day. He invests himself personally and works to help each member of the HHS family find success and he embodies everything this Principal of the Year award is about.”

When speaking about the enjoyment and fulfillment he gets from the job, Dr. Parkhurst says, “My favorite things about being in education are the students we have and the staff I am fortunate to work with. Our students are a long-term investment, and a very important one.”

He went on to talk about the prestigious award he won and modestly said, “This award is a reflection of our teachers, students, and community. I am fortunate through this experience to represent our school and community. “This is an opportunity to bring positive attention to the amazing things our kids and staff are doing and to show how outstanding our community is.”

Always quick to give credit to others for helping him achieve his many accomplishments, he added, “I credit the success of the students at HHS to the dedication and work ethic of our teachers and the positive support we receive from the community and parents of our district.”

He brags on the students at HHS and you can tell he has a sincere pride in their accomplishments and actions. “Our students are consistently complimented by other school districts and from members of other communities,” Dr Parkhurst said.  “I am proud to work for these students and to be a partner in their learning.”

Due to the pandemic, this last year has been a challenging year for everyone, including members of the district administration team, teachers and students. Dr. Parkhurst addressed the COVID year by saying, “The staff and teachers at Holden High School are the best there is. This year has been maybe the hardest year ever in education and our teachers have rallied around our school family and our kids. “We have all had to lean on each other to face and to embrace the challenges. This could not have been possible without community support, leadership from the Central Office, and an amazing Board of Education. We are all lucky to be a part of Holden!”

Holden is fortunate to have an administrator of the caliber of Dr. Parkhurst. His leadership qualities and his drive for excellence is an asset to the district and the community. He strives to be there to support the students and staff of HHS and that will lead to the success of everyone who has the privilege of working with him.

Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Mike Hough, shared the following comments regarding the phenomenal achievement of Dr. Parkhurst and the well-deserved recognition of The Exemplary New Principal of the Year Award. “The Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals recognizes a new principal each year,” said Dr. Hough. “To receive the award, a principal must be first nominated, and then voted on by their administrative colleagues in the Central Missouri Region, which encompasses around 70 school districts. “When others who have similar responsibilities in their school districts recognize the outstanding work you are doing and the high level of professionalism in which that work is carried out, it is a great honor. “The Holden R-III School District is fortunate to have Dr. Parkhurst at the helm of Holden High School to lead us into the future and to continue to provide a quality educational environment for our students.”

Dr. Parkhurst will be recognized at an awards ceremony in the fall at the annual Principals Conference. Congratulations on this remarkable honor Dr. Parkhurst! You are most deserving of this recognition!

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