Tireless Educator: Vidrale Franklin
By Lou Fancher
Do you remember a teacher whose wide, welcoming smile warmed every classroom she entered? Or the no-nonsense principal who changed your life by expecting you to achieve beyond your wildest dreams?
Operating as Head of School at Roses in Concrete Community School, a K-8 charter school in East Oakland with wrap-around health, housing, education, and job services, Vidrale Franklin is that gifted educational leader. With a B.A. in Social Welfare and M.A. in Educational Leadership from U.C. Berkeley, plus an Ed.D. degree from San Francisco State University, Franklin carries a hefty suitcase of credentials. But it's the washing machines, school gardens, and food pantries for students and ten-minute massages for overstressed teachers that she implemented during her four years at Bret Harte Elementary School in San Francisco that distinguish her track record. Reductions in suspensions and expulsions, increases in API scores, parent satisfaction and teacher retention extend her legacy. A life-long passion for public education and deep dedication to the well-being of children and families position Franklin as a builder of not just strong schools but connected communities.
Like most education warriors, Franklin's contributions extend beyond the four walls of a classroom. She served in 2012 as Executive Director of 826 Valencia, a nonprofit that develops the writing skills of underserved students. Franklin works extensively as a consultant, implementing and advising on initiatives aimed at improving teacher effectiveness and student learning. Invested in urban schools and critical, contemporary educational issues while remaining aware of whole-life realities, she cuts a heroic profile. Franklin's the caring adult who can touch a child's life, change a school's future, or transform a system — and do it with an unforgettable smile.