Founder and CEO
Dr. Darian Marcel Parker graduated from Yale University with a PhD, M.Phil. and MA in sociocultural anthropology, and earned BAs in English literature and anthropology with Highest Honors from UCLA's College of Honors. In addition to being a test prep expert, Dr. Parker teaches at three different colleges. He is an adjunct professor in NYU's School of Professional Studies, where he teaches cultural anthropology, he is on faculty at the Juilliard School, where he teaches West African dance, and he is an adjunct professor at the New School, where he teaches West African dance and anthropology. He is the author of Sartre and No Child Left Behind: An Existential Psychoanalytic Anthropology of Urban Schooling (Rowman and Littlefield Press, 2015), and "The Haze", which appears in Pedagogies in the Flesh: Case Studies on the Embodiment of Sociocultural Difference (Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2017). Fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming an astrophysicist, he returned to school in 2021 to pursue a double major in astrophysics and mathematics at Columbia University in the School of General Studies. An active member of the Yale Alumni Association, Dr. Parker also volunteers as an interviewer for prospective Yale admits. Additionally, he has previously served on the boards of both Anthropology of Consciousness, and of Y-Apply, a nonprofit organization that helps high-achieving public school students from diverse backgrounds apply to top-tier colleges and universities.
Dr. Parker's academic and professional successes are the direct results of his mother’s wise admonitions. Having less than modest financial resources and having resided in a section of Winston-Salem, NC compromised by crime, Parker’s mother knew that she had to take a clever approach to ensuring her son’s future. As a child, Parker would frequently ask his mother questions, to which the perennial response would be: “Figure it out.” The young Parker soon became accustomed to confronting challenging intellectual puzzles with an unusual sense of determination, autonomy and enjoyment. It was his mother’s words that propelled him to master the SAT and the most difficult high school course material. "Figuring it out" eventually led Parker to earn the title of class salutatorian of his high school, the senior award for “Superior Achievement in Mathematics”, AP Scholar, and many other high school distinctions. As a college undergraduate and graduate student, Parker continued to merit numerous prestigious prizes and distinctions, including national awards for writing, cum laude, English Departmental Highest Honors, College Honors and several doctoral research fellowships.
Parker began his career in education as a college sophomore, tutoring undergraduate and graduate courses in composition and literature. From the very start, his methods bore the signature of his mother’s wisdom. For, he knew that if he could train students to remain thoughtful, strategic and fearless in the face of even the most daunting of problems, then they would not only receive high marks in a particular class or on a given assignment, but they would also acquire the personal and intellectual resources to overcome any type of difficulty: academic, professional or personal. It was this approach that ultimately led him to tutor hundreds of students as an undergraduate. His educational leadership garnered him several awards, one of which was the Dean’s Award for “Tutor of the Year”.
In 2005, Dr. Parker entered the field of test preparation in New York City, becoming a much requested tutor throughout New York State, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Parents often remarked that, as a result of working with him, their children had become smarter or miraculously acquired natural brilliance in subjects that had always been areas of weakness. His track-record of effectiveness garnered him positions as a lead tutor and lead teacher at some of New York City’s most exclusive test preparation firms, where he specialized in all sections of the SAT and ACT, writing and high school math. Many of his students have gained admission to top institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Wesleyan. Dr. Parker continued to gain repute as a teacher and tutor for high school and private/independent school entrance examinations such as the Hunter Admissions Test, SSAT, ISEE and SHSAT. His students consistently received admission to institutions such as Hunter College High School, Stuyvesant, Horace Mann, Poly Prep, Choate and other prestigious private schools throughout the northeast.
What continues to inform the pedagogy of Parker Academics is Dr. Parker’s own scholarly interest in both educational philosophy and the composite operations of the mind. As a phenomenological anthropologist, Parker developed a novel method of inquiry, “existential psychoanalytic anthropology”, which combines the philosophical ideas of Jean-Paul Sartre, symbolic anthropology and phenomenology to study the contours of human experience. He is the author of "The Haze", which appears in Pedagogies in the Flesh: Case Studies on the Embodiment of Sociocultural Difference (Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2017) and Sartre and No Child Left Behind: An Existential Psychoanalytic Anthropology of Urban Schooling (Rowman and Littlefield Press, 2015). In the latter, he studies students’ mental and emotional experiences of educational rituals in a New York City public school. One of the defining premises of the book is simple: children succeed in educational environments where the teachers, administrators and aesthetic landscape all communicate the message, “I care about you and your prospects in life”. This very message is at the heart of Parker Academics, living inside of every tutor, animating each session.