Lynn Parsons, Director
Lynn Parsons has had more than 40 years of experience in public education in a wide variety of settings. She worked at the district level with long-range strategic planning, school board policy development, and coordination of community and school services. After her first retirement, she provided consultation and training for school leadership teams and non-profits about leadership development and restructuring schools and the education system. Before her second retirement, she also worked with the George W. Bush Institute on a national project to improve principal preparation.
In her current position—with no immediate plans for a third retirement—she is directing a ministry of the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church aimed at eradicating poverty in zip codes in two communities by 2025—75215 in urban south Dallas and 75426 in rural Red River County. Looking at systemic community transformation requires a focus on the immediate impacts of poverty on individuals, the root causes of poverty, and the laws and systems that keep people in poverty—all of which are intertwined with issues in public education.
She holds a BA and MEd from Trinity University in San Antonio and a doctorate in School Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. She and her husband Jim are proud parents of Emily Bass and her husband Eric, and even prouder grandparents of Joey, Maddie, and Danny.
Rev. George Battle iii, Connections Director for South Dallas Fair Park
Throughout his career, he has performed in areas of management and assistant to directors for organizations including Dallas Bethlehem Center and CitySquare. As Relationship Director at the Dallas Bethlehem Center, he served as liaison between surrounding churches and the community within the service area of the center. He worked closely with churches and for-profit institutions to support the child care and community center in any way they could. Prior to joining Dallas Bethlehem Center, he worked for two and a half years as an AmeriCorps member- working in direct case management services and as a volunteer coordinator. He also worked closely with the manager of CitySquare Community Life team providing self-sufficiency and recreational activities to a population of previously homeless and at-risk of homeless persons.
In his current role as the Director for South Dallas Fair Park, he oversees the development of programs and connecting groups and organizations with one another in the South Dallas zip code of 75215 to push the mission and vision of Zip Code Connection forward.
He holds a BA and a dual MA from Southern Methodist University and University of Texas at Arlington as well as certification in Meditation and Pastoral licensing through the North Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
Melinda Watters, Connections Director for Red River County
“I’m not a big shot, but I am a little shot that keeps shooting,” was a principle of perseverance passed on to her by my Granddaddy Carter. As a person who is small in size, with a modest upbringing - having a lot of heart and hustle have been her best tools in trying to curate a life of meaning and friendship. Jesus captured her heart and passion while in college at Texas Tech. He gives her hope worth the hustle.
Trying to follow Him and make outposts for His kingdom has altered the landscape of her soul and fitted her a beautiful band of diverse comrades. She got her feet wet as a Young Life leader at Tech, stinted a year in Russia, staffed with Cru, helped build an arts based ministry in New York City, and for five years made weekly fires and carne asada with neighbors in east Austin.
Her life came almost full circle, when in March of 2012, she was doing a week long artist-in-residence program in Clarksville/Red River County when she encountered the vision and work of the Zip Code Connection. Have generational roots in the area, Clarksville had been in the back of her mind as a place that God might be calling her to serve, though she was unsure of the ministry or means. Within the year, her husband Ryan, baby daughter Ava joined her in migrating from Denver to see what God was up to in one of the oldest settlements in Texas. The work of the Zip Code Connection and faith-based community development is a mash-up of two things she believes whole-heartedly in for change: relationally driven ministry and cultural production.