Beloved Wilshire Park School Principal Enrique Franco Retires

xxxx
Second grade teacher Alex Dia (l) with retiring cafeteria manager Maria Quezada, and Principal Enrique Franco at the ceremony on Wilshire Park Elementary School campus. Photo courtesy of David Donely.

Hundreds came out to Wilshire Park Elementary School to wish Principal Enrique Franco goodbye after 33 years of service, even the family dog.

Following a rousing “We Are Rockets” school song and performances by Wilshire Park’s award-winning hip-hop and drill teams, Franco was given accolade after accolade in a tremendous ceremony on campus on June 2nd.

Dance.1
The combined drill and dance teams performed. Photo courtesy of David Donely.

Always the inspiring leader, in his own remarks, Franco advised the children “Principals come and go, your teachers change every year, but this school will always be yours.”  He attributes his interest in education to his own 6th grade teacher who made learning fun and exciting.

Students especially enjoyed having Mr. Franco’s dog “Dino” in attendance.  Franco explained that the beautiful big white dog seated on a VIP chair in the front row, had even helped check the premises for belongings the children had forgotten in the halls, when the dog came in over the weekend with Enrique.  “Sad . . .,” “bad . . . “ is how the early level students described their feelings about Mr. Franco’s departure.

Enrique-w-dog
Mr Franco’s dog Dino was in the audience.

Letters, certificates and official proclamations of congratulations and appreciation flooded in from LAUSD, California Assemblyman John A. Perez, Governor Jerry Brown, and from Senator Dianne Feinstein which commented how one person can make a “profound difference in the lives of others”  and how Franco’s “hard work has not gone unnoticed.” Sam Joo, Director of Family Services of the Korean Youth and Community Center praised Franco’s support of the larger community, beyond the Wilshire Park School.  Franco was also presented with an outstanding administrator award by Willie Leach, President of the PTA’s Los Angeles Council, and was thanked by City Councilman Tom LaBonge and Carolyn Ramsay, Candidate for City Council District 4 office.  Praise from the school’s own teacher and parent community was tearful and heartfelt.

A San Fernando Valley native, Franco attended Notre Dame High School, then USC and Pepperdine Universities, graduating with a BA and MA from Pepperdine.  In 1981 he began his career as a classroom teacher at Magnolia Elementary School, before serving as a Coordinator opening Leo Politi Elementary School.  From there he became the Match Coach Coordinator for Local District 4 and F, working with several schools and Match Coaches implementing math instructional change over a 5-6 year period.  Franco started as the Principal of the brand new Wilshire Park School on Wilshire Blvd. at Norton Avenue in 2006.

Also lauded was Ms. Maria Quezada, Cafeteria Manager who is retiring after 24 years.  Quezada was warmly praised for always creating a positive environment and greeting children with a smile while serving breakfast and lunch daily.

ccccc
Carolyn Ramsay of Council District 4 with Quezada and Franco, sharing awards from the City of Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of David Donely.

 

 

vvv
Kat Becker, outgoing PTA President at Wilshire Park Elementary, has worked closely with Principal Franco. Photo courtesy of David Donely.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Renee Montgomery

Renee Montgomery began researching historic men's waistcoats at LACMA in 1979 as an intern, and is still at the museum as an Assistant Director in administration. She's written for various local media and museum publications, focusing on 'small town pockets' in urban L.A. She resides in Lafayette Square and has one daughter, a professional ballet dancer. Having never lost her zeal for her 'aggie' San Gabriel Valley/Riverside upbringing, Renee currently sells citrus and homegrown produce to support dog rescue efforts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *