Profile: Assistant Superintendent Parry Graham


Credit: Kyle Chen

WSPN recently sat down with Parry Graham, the new assistant superintendent of Wayland Public Schools. “If you wanted to boil down my job to one line, it would be to support [Dr. Unobskey] in executing his vision for the school system,” Graham said.

Kyle Chen

Following the departure of Dr. Brad Crozier at the end of the 2017-2018 school year, Wayland Public Schools welcomed its new assistant superintendent, Parry Graham. Hailing from the south, Graham grew up in Nashville, North Carolina, and remains to this day a self-proclaimed, die-hard University of North Carolina Tar Heels basketball fan.

Graham first came to New England to study German at Williams College, after which he began his career in education as a German teacher at North Andover High School. After a period of time working in North Andover and the Boston area, however, Graham went back to North Carolina, where he received his doctorate in educational administration at UNC Chapel Hill and became an assistant principal at an elementary school. He then returned to Massachusetts and assumed the role of principal at Nashoba Regional High School in Bolton, his last post before arriving in Wayland.

At the end of his tenure at Nashoba Regional, Graham traveled to France for a year, where he developed his book and spent more time with his family. After his brief hiatus, Graham decided to return to public education, which led him to his current role at the Wayland Public Schools.

“I’d been able to work in school administration at the elementary, middle and high school level[s], and I loved doing that,” Graham said. “That was tons of fun, but I was at a point where I was interested in thinking about what happens across a whole district, not just in one individual school. And so I was really interested in the idea of finding a district position.”

One of the biggest things Graham has noticed in his new role is that his daily routine now varies much more than in his previous positions.

“As a classroom teacher, my job tended to be more typical from day to day. But [in my new role], there’s no such thing as a typical day,” Graham said. “When you’re a principal, there are very specific things that define the day. In central office, it’s different because you’re not tied to the school’s daily rhythm.”

In addition, Graham’s responsibilities as assistant superintendent are quite different from his former duties as a teacher and principal.

“My responsibilities are in two pretty specific areas – Human Resources and Curriculum and Instruction,” Graham said. “There are lots of different functions that happen within each of those.”

In Human Resources, which is commonly referred to as HR, Graham is in charge of a variety of issues ranging from teacher licensing to employee payment and hiring.

“For HR, my part of the job isn’t necessarily exciting, but it’s incredibly important,” Graham said. “The most important thing you have in school is the quality of the people who work there. If you’ve got really good teachers and a really good support staff, then everything else is kind of secondary.”

Curriculum and Instruction, which Graham describes as the more exciting part of the role, also involves a variety of responsibilities, most of which relate to classroom support for the teachers in the district.

“My job [within Curriculum and Instruction] is to help teachers and principals think through what should they focus on and to try to support them with things that they need,” Graham said.

As assistant superintendent, Graham works very closely with Wayland Public Schools Superintendent Arthur Unobskey. The two work in neighboring offices in the Wayland Town Building and meet often to review progress.

“If you wanted to boil down my job to one line, it would be to support [Dr. Unobskey] in executing his vision for the school system,” Graham said. “At the end of the day, he’s responsible for absolutely everything. He’s got the big, broad picture, and I’m trying to go deep on certain individual things.”

Within the past two years, WPS has experienced numerous changes in members of central office with the new appointments of Unobskey, Graham and Director of Student Services Richard Whitehead. Graham noted that for most, the change in personnel would not produce a very drastic effect.

“I think for most people in the district, in terms of their day-to-day work, they probably won’t really feel a change,” Graham said. “I hope that what people will feel from me and the rest of the central office team is continued high levels of support. That has been the most important thing we do – support people who are in the schools. I hope that we’re able to all continue the great work that was done by the people who were in positions before us.”