Parker Liu is no stranger to the workings of Lowell Area Schools. Not only did he attend school in the district and graduate as a member of the Class of 2010, but he also spent time as a student representative to the Board of Education.
While the 30-year-old’s days as a student are in the past, Liu has kept tabs on the school board’s activities. “I have been watching the decisions the board had to make in the past two years,” he notes.
Now, with an open seat available, Liu would like to return to the Board of Education – this time as an elected member. He is one of eight candidates – two incumbents and six challengers – vying for three seats on the school board in the upcoming general election in November.
Growing Up as a Red Arrow
During high school, Liu was active in many organizations. As a cellist, he was one of about a dozen members in the district’s original orchestra program. And in addition to being a student representative to the Board of Education, he was president of the student body for his junior and senior years.
Outside of school, Liu participated in activities offered by the Lowell United Methodist Church and was a member of Boy Scout Troop 102. In 2009, he attained the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honor bestowed by that organization.
After graduation, Liu headed to Ferris State University and eventually earned a Doctor of Pharmacy, the professional degree held by pharmacists. After working for several years at a retail pharmacy, he recently moved to a position at a clinic that is largely limited to regular business hours. The change has made it possible for Liu to devote more time and energy to other endeavors.
“I’m looking for ways to jump in now,” he says. Being on the Board of Education is something that Liu believes would fit well with his natural leadership ability and past experiences. “I’ve found public education is something I feel very passionate about.”
Passionate About Public Education
Liu uses words like effective, flexible and adaptive to describe high-quality public education. “It helps to bring everyone up together,” he explains.
If elected to the school board, he wants to ensure that the district continues to meet the needs of all students, regardless of their background or educational requirements. For Liu, that means providing appropriate and adequate services to students receiving special education as well as those preparing for college, trade schools or the workforce.
According to Liu, whether the school district is successful can be answered with one question: “Are we seeing students leave and become productive members of the community?”
Looking to the future, Liu wants the district to be a welcoming place for all students. “I see Lowell as being the next place people will want to move after leaving Grand Rapids,” he says.
What’s more, he hopes that as students graduate from LHS, they will do what he did: return to Lowell and start a family here. While his son is only two years-old right now, Liu and his wife have every intention of sending him to Lowell Area Schools when he is old enough.
Would Bring Diversity to Board of Education
In a crowded field of candidates, Liu stands out as being the youngest person on the ballot. If elected, he would also be the youngest person, by far, on the Board of Education.
“We’ve had a lot of great, strong leaders, but I think it’s important to include new views and younger [people],” Liu says. “I believe I could be a voice for the next generation.”
Liu wouldn’t just bring age diversity to the board, but as a person with Asian heritage, he would add ethnic diversity as well. With so much discussion nowadays on diversity and inclusion programs, he could offer a new perspective to those conversations.
Ultimately, Liu’s motivation in running for the Board of Education is to keep area schools on the path to excellence. “My biggest goal for the district is to see Lowell continue to excel and be a leader in public education,” he says.
Voters have many choices on the ballot this November, and Liu says this election could have ramifications on the future of local schools. He notes: “This is truly an opportunity for the community to decide who is going to be in the leadership,” Liu says.
For more information about Parker Liu, visit his campaign Facebook page.
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