Wilshire Park School principal retires after 33 years of service

| July 2, 2014 | 0 Comments
wilshire park principal

HE IS THE KIND OF PERSON everybody loves, said PTA president Kat Becker of retiring principal Enrique Franco.

Enrique Franco has gained loads of admirers in his 33- year career with the L.A. Unified School District. So it was no surprise that they came out in droves, along with family and friends—and even the family dog, Dino—to bid him farewell at a recent ceremony at Wilshire Park Elementary School marking his retirement. Franco has served as the school’s principal since it opened in 2006.

“Mr. Franco is the kind of person that everybody loves,” said PTA president Kat Becker. “He’s left an imprint and an everlasting influence on not just the kids but on everyone he has come across.”

Deflecting the praise, Franco asks, “How can any principal not be happy to come to work every day when you’ve got excited teachers, students who want to learn and the support of a wonderful group of parents?”

At the ceremony, Wilshire Park’s drill and hip-hop teams performed and proclamations were presented from the school district, the governor, senator and city Council. Parents and teachers weighed in, too, on the leader whose efforts reached the entire community.
“I was proud to be a part of opening this new school, and very proud of the accomplishments we’ve made over the past eight years,” said Franco. “Our test scores have increased, as have the number of students in the gifted program. We have technology throughout the school with iPads and smartboards in every classroom,” he added. “And one of the hallmarks I’m especially proud of is the collaboration between grade levels and teachers.”

The part he says he will miss the most is “the wonderful things the kids are doing. I walk into a classroom and see kindergarten students manipulating a smart board and that makes me proud.” He’ll also miss performances, like the school’s L.A. Best drill team, chorus and science fairs.
But, at 58, he is looking forward to the next chapter of his life, “even though people tell me I’m too young to retire. “I’m ready, and I think the school is ready for the next step,” said Franco, who is moving to Honduras where he and Milton Giron, his partner of 28 years, have a home.

“My early retirement will stretch a bit more over there, plus I’m ready for some traveling to get to know Central America a little better,” he said.

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