Polly Parker, Ph.D.

Polly Parker, Ph.D.
Polly Parker, Ph.D.

ISM Consultant and Executive Coach

Polly is an educational pioneer and Head of School with over 15 years of national and international experience building educational programs and leading change initiatives. She also has experience leading Board/Governance retreats, supporting leadership team training, and creating leadership growth team models. Polly is known as a collaborative decision-maker, leveraging a strategic mindset to overcome adversity and challenges that include funding, curriculum evolution, and regional political and socioeconomic obstacles to success

In her current role as General Director at Escuela Americana in El Salvador, Polly led a traditional school and academic team through a successful contemporary strategy despite the political and economic challenges of the region. She increased enrollment, overcoming years of downward trends; raised over $800K in donations and grants; and navigated the school through the COVID-19 pandemic. She serves as the President of The Bilingual Association in El Salvador and is creating International Teams to support International students' needs.

Polly previously served as Head of School at Chase Collegiate School, Connecticut, where she was hired to lead and support a school in financial distress, to support the Board of Trustees in potential paths forward, and finalize the acquisition of the school. As Head of School for The Winston School, Texas, Polly was hired to lead an academic team in serving neurodiverse students. She revised the curriculum to better align with students’ needs and college/contemporary practice, and she created a sustainable economic model to ensure that this small school would thrive.

As an early adopter of virtual learning, Polly served as a Professor at Saint Leo University, Florida, where she designed group learning techniques adopted by the university that resulted in two publications. She also created distance learning internet-based courses standardized across the university. These methods have also been adapted to day and boarding schools throughout the country.

Early in her career, Polly held multiple administrative roles for several schools and institutions. 
She earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from California Southern University, a Master of Social Work in Clinical Social Work from the University of Maryland, and a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Southern Connecticut State University. She completed the Executive Leadership Program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Executive Head of School Program at Columbia University, New York.