Kamehameha Schools Maui Po‘o Kula Dr. Scott Parker has seen the world, including much of it from 30,000 feet up, as a member of the Hawai‘i Air National Guard.
“I have always had a love for planes and flying,” said SSgt. Parker, who will make 19 years of military service this month. “I got to see places many only read about in books and experience how other people live – even if it was just for a quick mission.”
A 1992 graduate of Maui High School, Parker enlisted in his junior year to help pay for his college education.
“Being able to serve while stationed in Hawai‘i was enticing for me, and the guard also provided tuition support to pursue an education at UH Mānoa,” said Parker.
The Maui native served for six years, while also earning a bachelor’s degree in secondary physical education (PE).
Parker’s career as an educator immediately took flight after finishing his enlistment. He was hired as a PE and health teacher at Hāna High & Elementary School in 1998 where he worked for two years prior to joining KS Maui in a similar role.
His time as a kumu at KS inspired him to pursue his master’s degree in education administration at UH – a move he felt would impact students on a larger scale.
From there, Parker went on to become vice principal at Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary School in Lahaina, where he worked for seven years before being encouraged to re-enlist by a friend in the Air Guard.
“Senator Kai Kahele, who I knew from UH and was a pilot, called and asked if I would consider serving again,” said Parker.
Recalling his love for flying, Parker re-enlisted at the age of 34 as a loadmaster: kuleana that includes managing the transport of passengers and cargo around the world. With the new role requiring him to be stationed at Hickam Air Force Base, he made the move to O‘ahu and was able to find a principal position at Jefferson Elementary.
In his current role at KS as Po‘o Kula of the Maui campus, Parker has one year left before hanging up his “wings.” Looking back at his time of service, he can’t help but feel blessed for the experiences that have helped shape the way he serves haumāna and their ʻohana.
“From moving people and cargo for disaster relief to returning the remains of soldiers to their families, I’ve seen both good and bad,” said Parker, who has completed an-around-the-world mission in seven days. “My experiences have allowed me to empathize with humanity, which motivates me to work better with our students and help them better their lives through education.”