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District Judge Nancy Parrish to retire June 24

TOPEKA—District Judge Nancy Parrish will retire June 24 after serving 27 years in the 3rd Judicial District. 

The 3rd Judicial District is Shawnee County. 

“As a judge, I always have tried to respect all the parties who appeared in my court and to make thoughtful and fair decisions,” Parrish said. “I have been privileged to preside in over 100 jury trials, mostly criminal. This work is challenging, eye-opening, and often heartbreaking--but rarely boring. I have a special respect for the many individuals who have served as jurors in these trials.”  

Parrish graduated from Kansas State University cum laude, from the University of Kansas with a master’s degree in special education, and from Washburn University School of Law magna cum laude.

She was appointed district judge in 1994 and served as chief judge from 2005 to 2013.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my 27 years as a judge and I will cherish the friendships I have with the judges, the staff, and the attorneys who have appeared in my court,” said Parrish.

Her career began as a public school teacher in U.S.D. 501, first as an elementary school teacher and then as a special education teacher.  In 1980, she was elected to the Kansas Senate where she served until 1992 when she was appointed to the Board of Tax Appeals for a brief time and then to the Governor’s Cabinet as Secretary of the Kansas Department of Revenue. She also has served as an adjunct professor at Washburn University School of Law.

While in the Senate, she chaired the Advisory Commission on Juvenile Offender programs for 10 years.  As a judge, she was appointed to the Kansas Supreme Court’s Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee in 1997 and served as chairperson of the committee from 2001 to 2009. She is past president of the Kansas District Judges Association and is the current chair of the Kansas Judicial Council Pattern Instruction Advisory Committee.

Parrish recently received the 2022 Chief Justice Kay McFarland Attorney of Achievement Award from the Women Attorneys Association of Topeka.  In 2021 she was awarded a Washburn University School of Law Achievement Award.  She received the Kansas District Judges Association Award for Judicial Excellence in 2019 and the Topeka Bar Association Honorable E. Newton Vickers Professionalism Award in 2010.

Parrish currently serves on the board of directors for Kansas CASA, the Valeo Community Residence Program, and the Jayhawk Theatre. She also serves on advisory boards for CASA of Shawnee County, Kansas Legal Services, and the Washburn Institute of Technology legal office professional program.

Parrish and her husband have four adult sons, nine grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

District judges in the 3rd Judicial District are appointed through a merit selection process. State statute requires a nominating commission to accept nominations, interview nominees, and forward names of finalists to the governor, who appoints a replacement. After serving one year in office, the new judge must stand for a retention vote in the next general election to remain in the position. If retained, the incumbent will serve a four-year term.