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Longtime Parkway Volunteer Retires After Twenty Years

Karen OBrien has been a member of the Parkway community since 1964. She graduated from Central High in 1973, and has spent the last 20 years volunteering for the district. She was the first PTO president at the Early Childhood Center and within a few months, it become the largest parent-teacher organization in the district. Karen was also the first PTO president to serve at the early childhood, elementary, middle and high school levels and the first Parkway Alumnus to be elected to the school board. This year marked the graduation of her third child from Central High and the end of her volunteering career for Parkway, as she recently resigned from a six year stint on the board of education. "Ive been a director of the board of education for six years, having first been elected to complete an unexpired term in 2000," OBrien said when announcing her resignation during a board meeting. "Getting re-elected by a huge margin in 2002 and again in 2005 was humbling and gratifying, to be sure. I appreciate the support Ive received and the friendships I have made throughout Parkway. Parkway has obviously been a very important part of my life." OBrien, who has a degree in education from the University of Missouri-Columbia, has volunteered on hundreds of committees, study groups, and activities in her 20 years. "Karen was not swayed by politics or personal agendas," says Linda Hamberg, former director of Parkways Early Childhood Center and current professor at St. Louis Community College. "Her focus was always based upon what was best for all children and how to support teachers and staff so that they could effectively do their jobs." Former Parkway superintendent Don Senti echoes those comments, "Parkway was lucky to have Karen as an important part of its history." OBrien will be recognized at the August 9 board meeting for her volunteer efforts in the district.