Recognized for her prowess in education and administration, Felicia O. Parker has excelled in her career endeavors starting with her honorable military service. From 1993 to 2002, she served in the United States Army, having been the only female private enlisted at the time. Notably, she was responsible for aiding in the passage of a law through the United States Congress, which stipulates that all active members of the military must complete a financial course every six years. She recounts this act of legislation as one of the greatest accomplishments of her career.
Toward the end of her military service, Ms. Parker went on to earn an associate degree from Kansas City Kansas Community College in Kansas City, Kansas, in 2001, followed by a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York, in 2002. She subsequently commenced her career in the education sector, serving the New York City Department of Education in the Bronx, New York, as a teacher and department head between 2003 and 2007.
Ms. Parker transitioned out of teaching for public schools upon her relocation to Florida, at which time she discovered Floridian public educators made significantly less than their counterparts in New York. Seeking another way to continue influencing students, she chose the route of vocational education, as it offered her more financial stability yet a similar profession. In 2007, Ms. Parker was hired as the regional registrar of operations and director of compliance for Beauty Schools of America, which she did successfully until 2016.
Today, Ms. Parker excels in her role as director of education for the Florida Barber Academy. Located in Broward County, Florida, in the town of Plantation, the Florida Barber Academy has become recognized as an elite vocational school that is committed to establishing successful, licensed beauty professionals via hands-on training for more than 15 years. Since 2016, Ms. Parker’s responsibilities have included ensuring that all students receive proper educational services, along with overseeing the curriculum and making necessary revisions, providing oversight for instructors, and conducting audits for accrediting agencies, among other duties.
Ms. Parker feels grateful to enjoy such a rewarding career, and she is most proud to have seen so many of her pupils graduate and become successful in their own right. Despite the challenges she has encountered since becoming a vocational school administrator, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to virtual learning, she feels confident in her hard work and skillsets that she will continue to experience continued growth and success. In addition, she hopes to serve as a role model for young Hispanic women, empowering them to realize that “education is power” and to further develop themselves as confident and vital contributing members of society.
To attest to her professional success, Ms. Parker was honored to receive a Valuable Employee Award. She attributes much of her good fortune to her perseverance and work ethic, which stems from her military background, attention to detail and dedication to teamwork. Outside of her primary work, Ms. Parker offers free haircuts to the underprivileged community through the Florida Barber Academy. As a retired veteran, she is also an active member of the Disabled American Veterans.
Looking ahead, Ms. Parker plans to become a certified paralegal, as she is currently conducting coursework on the subject. She also plans to dedicate more time to traveling. In her spare time, she enjoys gourmet cooking and spending time with her family. Fueled by her life mottos, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” and “Preparation leads to confidence, and confidence leads to success,” she envisions a long and fulfilling career in vocational education.