All of Eric Parish's research pointed to the Cherry Creek School District.
When Parish and his wife were considering a move from Arizona to Colorado in 2003, they used their children's education as a real estate guide. They knew they wanted to come to the Denver metro area, and they knew they only wanted to move once. It was the prospect of schools that offered a more detailed view of their future home.
"We didn't know anyone or anything about where we wanted to live except that we wanted to live in the Cherry Creek School District," Parish said. "Our oldest son was 2 years old at the time, and school districts were a priority. Our research said Cherry Creek, and we chose a neighborhood based on the school."
Eleven years later, Parish now has two children in the district. He says he's heard a similar story "hundreds of times" from parents across the district whose current living situations were determined by their proximity to Cherry Creek schools. As one of the newest members of the Cherry Creek School District Board of Education, Parish says he wants to maintain that reputation for generations of students and families to come.
"Choosing to run for the board and my experience in the district for the past 11 years are interrelated," said Parish, who was elected to the District A Director seat in 2015. "I was able to see through my kids and through my own experiences as a volunteer how the reputation of the district is well deserved. I realize that I want that to continue for my kids, but I also want it to continue for all the kids who come after them."
With 25 years of experience in management consulting and a master's degree in management, Parish felt that he could help the district's status persist through service on the Board of Education. In addition to his professional experience, Parish has worked hard to build a firsthand knowledge of the day-to-day operations in the district, volunteering at Willow Creek Elementary School and taking part in other district events and activities.
Serving on the board is a much bigger commitment, but Parish is eager to get to the tough work of keeping up Cherry Creek's commitment to excellence.
"I want to continue to advance the excellence found throughout our neighborhood schools. What that means to me is a process of continuous improvement that I've seen through my kids and my experiences in the schools," Parish said. "Cherry Creek is a high performing district, but at no time can the district stop and say, 'That's good enough.' My number-one goal is to continue to advance and continue to press forward."
For Parish, that means dealing with some of the most challenging issues in K-12 education, from testing to curriculum to stances on school funding. In finding the most effective ways to tackle some of the most difficult issues of the day, Parish said he'll draw on the expertise and support of fellow board members who are committed to students.
"The Cherry Creek Board of Education differentiates itself through the engagement and the presence of board members. It's a culture that's been passed down … and that culture is they're present, they're active and they're accessible," Parish said. "There is no agenda. It's about kids. Maintaining that culture is very important to me."