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Parrish named new Hobbs High School principal

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Andy Brosig/News-Sun

A changing of the guard is in the works at Hobbs High School.

Alfredo Turrubiates, who’s been in school administration for 18 years — the last five at HHS with three years in the big office — announced his plans to retire earlier this year. Last week, school administrators announce Jason Parrish — a former teacher, coach, administrator and, most recently, assistant athletic director for Hobbs Municipal Schools — was named to take over the helm at HHS.

“I can bring people together. I’ve done it before,” Parrish told the News-Sun. “You look at tasks people maybe don’t want to accomplish (because) they’re afraid they’ll fail. But I’ll be behind the teachers and the kids, saying we can move to the next step, we can get there.”

Parrish will confer and meet with Turrubiates through the remainder of the school year as they both transition to their new roles. Turrubiates will finish out the school year through graduation with the teachers and seniors who would have been sophomores when he was named HHS principal.

Parrish started his career in education coaching girls basketball at the then-Houston Junior High in Hobbs. Parrish coached a total of 11 years between Hobbs, Lovington and Loving, he said. Coaching was all he wanted to do.
Parrish coached the Lovington girls to a state championship during the 2012-2013 season. And he credited with the most wins in a season in Loving, at 18, he said.

“And I think I have the record for the most wins in one season in Lovington,” Parrish said. “Somebody told me that but I never checked on it.

“I always coached the girls. I didn’t mean to get into that. I was going to coach boys but my first job was coaching girls.”

In addition to coaching, Parrish taught U.S. History and World History, first at Houston and later at the high school level. When he first got hired, he’d wanted to teach physical education, but there were no jobs available, Parrish said.

“Luckily, I had a minor in history,” he said. “I was able to switch over and teach history.”

Parrish had stayed local throughout his educational career. After graduating from Hobbs High School in 1998, he attended New Mexico Junior College before heading across the road to what was then College of the Southwest to finish both his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree.

History was always a favorite subject, Parrish said, so it wasn’t a stretch for him to share that interest with students. On the World History stage, his interest centered on ancient Egypt, spawned by Bible classes he took at the now-closed New Life school in Hobbs. When it came to U.S. History, Parrish was drawn to the stories surrounding the Civil War — any American war, really, he said — and the sacrifices and actions of the people involved.

“We were always talking about Moses” in the Bible classes, Parrish said. “I wanted to take it further — who were the people? That got me interested in that geographic area.”

Eventually, while he was teaching and coaching in Loving, he got a call from Hobbs Municipal School Athletic Director Brenda Wilson, asking him to apply for an open assistant principal position at HHS. His family — wife, Elizabeth and children Ryan, who just turned 21, and Luke, who’s now 14 — were still in Hobbs, with Parrish making the 150-mile round trip daily to his job.

“That’s a long drive,” Parrish said. Still, he said he told Wilson “I don’t know if I’m done coaching.

“I’d been thinking about it but I wasn’t sure. But my wife said yes, I was. And I absolutely loved it.”

While comparisons can be made between coaching and being a principal, there are also vast differences, Parrish said. A big one is the closer relationships a coach has with their players that just aren’t possible in a larger school leadership setting, he said.

“You get to know your kids when you’re coaching,” Parrish said. “You’ve got your 14 or 15 girls or boys and that’s your group. That’s all you worry about.

“In administration you’re worrying about 650 kids you’re in charge of. You don’t get as personal with them. You do with some but not all of them. There’s no way to.”

While Parrish acknowledges he misses coaching a team — watching them start practice at the beginning of the season and seeing them improve as the season progresses — he’s looking forward to the new challenge of leading Hobbs High School. He’s a big supporter of Hobbs Schools, he said. Even when he was teaching in Loving and in Lovington, his children still attended school here, Parrish said.

Parrish thinks not being able to get as close to students as an administrator as he could as a coach will be difficult. There will be some students he’ll be able to develop closer relationships with, he said. But it won’t be the same as the coach-player relationships he enjoyed before, Parrish said.

“You have to take a different role when you’re talking to kids” as a principal rather than a coach, he said. “First you have to (discipline) them and be stern. But at the end, they’ll understand this guy cared. He wanted me to succeed in life.

“The highlight of my career is one of my (former) players is not a teacher and a coach. And I’ve got a lot of Hobbs kids I coached…who I see quite a lot. That’s my biggest accomplishment — making those connections with those kids and they still want to have a connection with me as an adult.”

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