A Troy University alum has been named to one of the top education positions in the country.
Dr. Earl Franks was recently named executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the nation’s largest association of elementary and middle school principals.
Franks, who received Bachelor of Music Education, Master of Science in Education and Educational Specialist degrees from TROY, has served as executive director of the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS) for the last nine years.
“I was extremely honored and humbled to be selected for the opportunity of a lifetime – to lead one of America’s most important and iconic organizations for education: NAESP,” Franks said. “I am very appreciative and grateful to the NAESP Board of Directors for placing their trust in me to lead this tradition-rich organization.”
Franks’ passion for education, which dates back to his seventh-grade year, fuels his goals for the new position.
“This position will allow me the opportunity to take my experiences, over a 31-year educational career as a teacher, principal, and state association executive director, to the national and international level,” he said. “I will be able to build on the tradition of the great NAESP organization and expand the reach of my passion for education and school leader improvement. Being able to help school leaders refine skills in their job and profession, through exposure to high-quality services, will ultimately improve educational opportunities for students, which is something that is very personal and important to me.”
NAESP’s mission statement is “to lead in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle-level principals and other education leaders and their commitment to children.” Franks plans to further that mission through the duration of his tenure as executive director.
His achievements with CLAS include growing the membership to record levels, pioneering a groundbreaking Certified Instructional Leader program and instituting the CLAS Volunteer Program, among others.
Franks said he’ll miss the relationships he had with CLAS members and staff, but he’s grateful for the time spent with the group.
“I will be eternally grateful for having had the opportunity to lead CLAS as the executive director,” he said.
TROY is near and dear to Franks’ heart.
“I made lifelong friendships, especially as a member of the Sound of the South Marching Band, Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity and other musical organizations, that are enduring,” he said. “Many practical skills, especially from Dr. John M. Long, related to teaching music education and dealing with people, have helped me achieve success personally and professionally. In fact, the skills and life lessons that I learned at TROY have enabled me to advance from teacher (to) school principal to the leadership of a state and now national/international education administrator association executive.”
Franks’ wife, Carol, is an associate professor in the John M. Long School of Music, and her support has been essential.
“Carol, as she has been in all my other previous personal and professional endeavors, has been very supportive and encouraging,” he said. “She sees this as a wonderful opportunity for me to expand my scope of influence and help improve educational opportunities for all students, not just those in Alabama.”
While the new position can be considered a job, Franks doesn’t call it work.
“Mr. Bill Belcher, also a Troy University graduate, started me in band (my) seventh grade year, and I thought he had the greatest job in the world,” he said. “I vividly remember thinking that he got paid to teach my favorite subject in school, (and) what’s not to like about that – getting paid to do what you love. Honestly, after graduating from TROY, I never worked a day in my life.”