From Chicago to California

Piercy Leaves Parker after Seven Years of Teaching

Kiley+Piercy+smiles+for+a+photo+in+between+teaching+classes+of+all+ages.+Photo+by+Zach+Joseph.%0A

Kiley Piercy smiles for a photo in between teaching classes of all ages. Photo by Zach Joseph.

Outside the fourth floor art office there’s a bulletin board featuring seven photos of art teachers, each creatively edited. On the bottom row, in the middle, you’ll see a black and white photo of a man staring at the camera with a calm expression–with what appears to be plaster on his face, hair, and beard. This man is Art and Photography teacher Kiley Piercy, and today, June 9, is his second to last day at Parker.

Piercy, who has taught at Parker for seven years, including fourth and fifth grade Woodworking, sixth and seventh grade Photography, and Upper School Photography, is leaving Parker for the Brentwood School in Los Angeles, where he will teach Photo 1-4 and an AP Photo/2D Design class.

“My wife has family out in California,” Piercy said, “but I told her, ‘Hey, if I can find a school very similar to Parker, because I love Parker so much, then I’m totally down to investigate out west.”   

Piercy found Parker indirectly.  “My background is in photography,” he said, “and I needed observation hours, and I found Parker, and I was like, ‘Oh, I can do my observations’ because it was right around the corner from where I lived, and I came here to do observation hours, and then there was a Photo department, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can actually teach Photo as well.’”

The hours Piercy needed were requirements for his Masters in Art Education at Depaul University in Chicago.

Piercy was passionate about photography, but he did not want to be a freelance photographer. “You’re always having to market for yourself, working with art directors, and traveling a lot with late days,” Piercy said. “It’s not a very stable career, and it’s a competitive business here in Chicago.”

Piercy will be missed by Upper School Visual Arts and Graphic Design teacher Travis Chandler, who has known Piercy for all of Chandler’s six years at Parker.

They’ve become close.  “Geographically, incredibly close,” Chandler said. “He’s the room next door–we’ve been good buddies.” The two have not collaborated on any photo projects or on a class, but they do occasionally pop into each other’s classroom to say hello.

I think just introducing the students to something that hopefully they will enjoy,” he recalled. “And for those students who might not be great at painting or drawing or other mediums, or maybe they’re just an average student, if I’m introducing them to photography and they enjoy it and they love it, and it’s something they become passionate about, that’s what I love about being a teacher.”

— Kiley Piercy

Piercy loves kindling passion in his students. “I think just introducing the students to something that hopefully they will enjoy,” he said. “And for those students who might not be great at painting or drawing or other mediums, or maybe they’re just an average student, if I’m introducing them to photography and they enjoy it and they love it, and it’s something they become passionate about, that’s what I love about being a teacher.”

Sophomore Jenna Ehrhart had Piercy as a teacher for her first two years of high school, and has learned a lot from him. “Before entering Mr. Piercy’s Photo 1 class, I did not consider myself a photographer by any means and took pictures solely on my phone,” Ehrhart said. “Mr. Piercy has taught me everything I know from numerous camera functions to how to edit photos to make them reach their highest potential.”

Chandler has observed and appreciated Piercy’s teaching style over the years. “I know that he’s a very caring and effective teacher,” Chandler said. “The pieces that his class have produced are wonderful, and I think he’s got a great talent for helping students.”

Ehrhart also enjoys Piercy’s teaching style. “Mr. Piercy takes his job seriously yet always has a smile on his face,” Ehrhart said. “He is not only responsible for teaching camera functions and grading projects, but he decorates the walls around the school with his students’ work for everyone to admire.”

Chandler was recently made aware of Piercy’s departure. “I just found out a couple weeks ago,” Chandler said. “I think I found out just before everybody else did–and of course was as sad as anybody.”

Piercy, too, is sad to be leaving the Parker community, including the students he has seen grow up over the past seven years.  “They’re so selfmotivated, super positive, hardworking,” he said. “They always blow me away with their creativity.”

Piercy is looking forward to “new opportunities” and “to grow as a teacher, new challenges.”

As Piercy leaves Parker, his contributions will remain. “We talk about the old days in the Art Department sometimes,” Chandler said, “and we’ve always enjoyed very much what he’s brought to the photography program here, and thought it’s just been a wonderful change.”

One of Piercy’s contributions is a socially conscious photo project in which students have to find a cause and create it on a poster board.

Ehrhart recalled a different Piercy project. “My ultimate favorite was the Then and Now Project,she said. “Finding old photos, sharing them with the class, then recreating them was simply awesome.”

Piercy’s job in California will differ slightly from his job at Parker. “Here at Parker I teach cross-divisional,” he said. At Brentwood I will just be teaching upper school Photography.”

Piercy will miss Parker, but he is looking forward to the future. “I’ve been here for seven years, and I’ve loved all seven years,” he said, but now I’m kind of ready for a new chapter in my life.”