HANFORD — Darin Parson, the new principal at Sierra Pacific High School, wants to build a culture of inclusivity.
“I’m working hard to know who the kids are,” said Parson. “You can decide to make an impact on kids’ lives in the community and in our school if you choose to. I think it’s those times that you're able to make a difference, and you're able to guide people through the good times, and the bad.”
Sierra Pacific students have had to deal with a lot of changes in the last year.
After the unexpected death of the school's former principal Greg Henry last year, Tim Smith took over as an interim principal for the remainder of the school year.
Parson has now taken over and plans to move the school in a direction of inclusion where teachers, students, staff and community members feel like they belong and feel safe.
Parson grew up in Long Beach and started his career there, earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and once moving to Hanford, acquired his master’s in education administration from California State University, Bakersfield.
He got his first start early on in positions of leadership roles when he was asked to coach by his former head football coach.
“So then my focus was that, it happened really quickly after high school that I realized this was the path that I wanted to take,” said Parson. “I was a head football coach, a learning director, I always aspired to be in those leadership roles, felt like I could add to people's lives and things like that.”
Parson has not coached since moving on to tackle more administrative roles.
"I miss it though, I miss it a lot,” said Parson. “I’m a coach in my heart and a teacher every day, but I do miss it.”
After coaching and teaching, Parson went on to work in administrative school settings. He served 11 years working in the Long Beach Unified School District before moving to Hanford and serving 12 years in Hanford Joint Union School District.
He taught English at Hanford High School before jumping to the role of learning director and then leaving to become learning director at Hanford West High School, and ultimately serving as principal there for five years.
“I love what we do in our district. I have spent 12 years in it, it’s a good community,” said Parson.