2023 Women Trailblazer: Ms. Kathleen M. Parker

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Kathleen Parker has dedicated her life to service and leadership in her community. She was born and raised in Albany, New York, and has one brother. Kathleen graduated from the State University of New York College at Geneseo in May of 1974, where she earned a BS in Education. She taught Elementary Education in New York for four years before moving to Calvert County, Maryland in 1979.

In 1982, Kathleen received her Master of Science degree from Russell Sage College in Troy, New York. She moved to Bowie, Maryland in November 1990 and has been a resident ever since. Kathleen is a devout Catholic and has been serving as an Usher and Eucharistic Minister at St. Edward's Church in Bowie since moving here.

Kathleen's passion for the arts led her to become involved with the City of Bowie Arts Committee in November 1994 and has been a member since then. She served as the secretary of the committee from September 1996 to June 1997. Kathleen was appointed Arts Committee Chair in July 2020 and still holds that position. Kathleen also played a crucial role in organizing the first Bowie International Festival in June 2003 and has continued to serve as the Chairman of the City of Bowie International Festival Committee ever since.

Kathleen's commitment to community service extends beyond the arts. She has been a volunteer at the Avon Breast Cancer Walks and Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walks for Breast Cancer since 2001 and 2005 respectively, participating in events across the United States. Additionally, Kathleen has volunteered for two Out of Darkness overnight walks for suicide prevention in Washington, DC and Chicago. Kathleen also volunteers with the National Ballet Company as a Costume Mistress and Costume Designer and serves on the Board of the National Ballet Company and the Board of Directors of the Creative and Performing Arts Center of South County located in Edgewater, MD since September 2014.

Kathleen retired from teaching in 2016 after a 40-year career that saw her teach Grades 1, 2, and 4. She spent 28 years teaching Grade 1. She joined the BRAVA Board of Directors in February 2017 and helped to form the Old Town Bowie Arts and Heritage Festival Steering Committee in January 2020. The committee has since changed its name to the Old Bowie Arts and Heritage Committee, and Kathleen now serves as Co-Chair of the Old Bowie Celebrates Festival Steering Committee.

Kathleen's commitment to service extends even further, as she has served as an Election Judge for both the 2020 and 2022 Presidential Primaries and Elections, serving as a Chief Election Judge in 2022.

When she's not volunteering or serving her community, Kathleen enjoys sewing, needlework, gardening, and travel.

(This biography was provided by the honoree.) 

District 1 Councilmember Michael Esteve had this to say about Ms. Parker:

"Through a lifetime of dedication to education, community involvement, and volunteer leadership, Kathleen Parker exemplifies the spirit of service and community building. Kathleen is among those community pillars without which Bowie would not be the vibrant place it is today."