As you may know, our Middle School Director of these past four years, Dr. Zak Cohen, is leaving us in July to move to Chennai, India, where he has a thrilling opportunity to work in another international school (he came to Francis Parker from an international school in Johannesburg). As he and his family embark on the next phase of their journey, we wish them much success and happiness. Thank you, Zak, for all that you have given to the School – our students and faculty have been the beneficiaries of your talent and dedication. We look forward to celebrating you before you depart in July and to hearing of your contributions at your new school and in the broader world of education!

In our comprehensive search for a new Francis Parker Middle School Director, we found ourselves in the extremely fortunate position of having many strong candidates from across the country and from here in Kentucky, too. We are thrilled to share with you that Chaka Cummings will join the Francis Parker community this summer as our new Middle School Director!

Chaka would like to introduce himself to you in this video!

Chaka is a native of Harlem (NYC). He earned his BA from Berea College in Educational Studies and has worked in several different Independent Schools in various states, beginning in 2002. Chaka has continued to come back to Kentucky in his post-college life, furthering his education at the University of Kentucky, first earning an MBA and now pursuing his Ph.D. as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Specialist, which he anticipates completing this spring.

Chaka has nearly 20 years of teaching experience, mostly as a Middle School History and Social Studies teacher. He has also served in a variety of other roles in Independent Schools, including working as Assistant Director of Admissions, Assistant Middle School Director, Learning Services Coordinator, and Middle School Director at the Blake School in Minneapolis. After living in Texas, Ohio, Florida, and Minnesota, he returned to the Commonwealth to teach MS Social Studies and serve as the MS Co-Chair of DEI at the Sayre School in Lexington for two years. He then moved into the nonprofit educational world and worked for the Prichard Committee as Director of K-12 and Post-Secondary Equity and Policy Practice. His most recent position has been as the inaugural Executive Director of the Association for Teaching Black History in Kentucky. He also volunteers as Secretary of the Board of Trustees at Redwood Cooperative School, a PS – 8th grade Progressive school in Lexington, and is a huge proponent of Progressive education. Chaka and his wife Bobbie have two children, Kinsley and Bennett, who will be in Kindergarten and 3rd grade at Francis Parker next year.

In Chaka’s words: “I’m a foodie, a rabid sports fan, a comic book nerd, a bit of a fashionista, and someone that loves Disney vacations a bit too much, admittedly. I am also a leader, equity practitioner, communicator, collaborator, and educational innovator” who has committed to “serving the Francis Parker School of Louisville for the long term. I truly hope to help cultivate a joyful, compassionate, intellectual community that celebrates individuality and inspires independent thinking for life.

Meet-and-Greet with Chaka Cummings – Friday, April 26 at 8:50 a.m.
We are excited for you to meet Chaka and to that end, we have arranged a meet-and-greet on Friday, April 26 from 8:50 – 9:50 a.m., following our Middle School Morning Meeting where he will be introduced to our students. Please join us for coffee and refreshments and take the opportunity to welcome him to the Wyvern community. We are asking for RSVPs for this event to decide where on the Goshen Campus we will host it, so please RSVP here. You’re welcome to visit the Middle School Morning Meeting at 8:30 a.m. if you’d like, before the meet-and-greet.