John Parr is director of E|E’s Teacher Professional Practice Project following a career in organized labor that has spanned four decades – as a steward, bargaining committee member, local union president, staff representative and both assistant director and director of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) AFL-CIO District Council 48 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where John now lives. During those years, John was also responsible for lobbying and political activity for AFSCME. During his time with AFSCME, he developed a keen interest in the health insurance industry and healthcare delivery system and gained a significant amount of knowledge about healthcare delivery systems and health insurance during his participation on the Board of Directors of two Wisconsin healthcare cooperatives.
John became involved with the development of teacher cooperative/teacher professional practices in early 2000 when a number of parents approached a group of teachers at a Milwaukee elementary school about providing an educational program that was built on the concept of individually guided education. One of the teachers was John’s daughter, Cris Parr. During the summer of 2000 eight teachers and ten parents developed a petition to become an instrumentality charter school of Milwaukee Public Schools. John, his daughter and two other teachers then visited Minnesota New Country School in Henderson, Minnesota. This school was operated and staffed by a teacher cooperative. Based on discussions with Minnesota New Country John and his daughter drafted the framework for the articles of incorporation and bylaws of a teacher cooperative run school. In the fall of 2001 a new K-8 elementary school, in which Cris Parr was a teacher, and a new high school were opened as charters of Milwaukee Public Schools. Since 2001 John has worked with Milwaukee Public School teachers who have opened seven new schools.
Since joining Education|Evolving in early 2005, John has worked with teachers unions in California; Denver, Colorado; Minneapolis; St. Paul; New York City; and Portland, Maine; to help unionized public school teachers develop teacher professional practices using the “Milwaukee Model” for developing teacher led schools as chartered schools.
John has a Bachelors of Business Administration, Industrial Relations; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.