Kay Franklin was born the middle child of Curtis and Grace Smith in San Angelo, Texas during a time when a woman’s choice of career was more limited than today.
With a mother as a school teacher (and developing a love of reading at an early age), her career path was almost destined.
“My father often told me that a woman needed to be able to support herself,” Franklin said. “Then he proceeded to tell me that I could either be a teacher or a nurse, so since I’m not a big fan of shots, I guess the choice was an easy one.”
After graduating from San Angelo Central High School in San Angelo, Tex., she attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 1969. She later received her master’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
That same year, she landed her first teaching job at Cannon Elementary School in Grapevine ISD, teaching there for three years before moving to San Antonio. During her 36-year tenure at NISD, she served as a teacher at Scobee and Esparza elementary schools, vice principal of Elrod Elementary, and principal of Fernandez Elementary before moving to Central Office as Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Administration in 2000.
While she was at Scobee Elementary School, then-Gov. W. George Bush and his wife personally presented Franklin with a state award in 1996 for an innovative reading program she created. The Morning Reading Program is now used across the District to offer enrichment and support in math and reading.
Also during her time at Scobee, Franklin and then-Principal Sharon Barnard piloted a program that split the school into two master schedules with the Vice Principal responsible for half of the school. That program is now used all over the District with great success.
When Dr. John Folks arrived in Northside in 2002 as the new Superintendent for the District, he tapped Franklin to be Deputy Superintendent for Administration, a position she held until her retirement in 2008.
As Deputy Superintendent, Franklin was responsible for the District’s policies and procedures; almost 100 school principals; the Administrative Internship Management (AIM) program which mentored future leaders in the District, the School Boundary Advisory Committee, which worked with Northside parents on changes in school attendance zones; and she served as the lead person on maintaining the District’s Crisis Resource Manual and planned responses. She also led administration, pupil personnel, resource planning, athletics, police, and transportation departments.
“Kay Franklin was an inspiring leader,” says Superintendent Dr. Brian T. Woods, who worked with Franklin as a fellow principal and Central Office administrator. “She had the uncanny ability to listen and motivate at the same time. Her knowledge of the District’s people and programs made her absolutely invaluable to the good decisions we made in Northside for many years.”
In March of 2012, the NISD Board of Trustees voted to name the “FM 471 North area #2” Elementary School after a woman who has impacted the lives of thousands of students and hundreds of campus leaders.
Franklin has two sons, Tim and John, both graduates of Clark High School; two stepdaughters; and three grandchildren.
Since retiring, she and her husband John have enjoyed spending time with family, volunteering, and traveling.