Ready for Change

CORSICANA, TX — Even though he grew up and was educated in the big city, Eldon Franco loves the smaller setting a town like Corsicana provides. As the new principal of Corsicana High School, Eldon is a great proponent of vocational programs and the arts and aims to adapt his big-city ideas to bring success to his students.

Eldon and his wife, Carrie, who is currently serving as the nurse at Drane Intermediate School, have been married for 24 years. They have two children, Mason and Mariah. Both children attend Houston Baptist University, the school Eldon and Carrie attended, and where they met on a blind date. “We’ve been together ever since,” Eldon said. “It’s been an adventure, that’s for sure.” Eldon earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Houston Baptist University with majors in mathematics and biology.

215cor-feHe went on to earn his master’s in educational leadership from Sam Houston State University and is currently in the process of earning his doctorate degree from Lamar University. He has worked throughout East and Central Texas, including places like Deer Park, Huntsville and north Houston. As a teacher, Eldon taught all-level math and science, and his favorite subject is physical science. “After 12 years in the classroom, I felt like I needed a boost,” he said. “I wanted to go back to school and further my education.”

After Eldon became certified as a principal, his first position was in Giddings before he moved to Silsbee and served in the area for nine years. “Sometimes I miss teaching in the classroom, but my whole goal since getting into education has been to affect as many kids as I can in a positive manner,” Eldon said. “As a principal, that circle has expanded. I can’t develop a personal relationship with kids like I can in the classroom, but I think I can affect them on a grander scale.”

Since becoming a principal, he has served on the board for Texas Association of Secondary School Principals and is currently serving on the legislative committee for that organization. He has also led schools to exemplary status, which he considers a great honor. A career in education was not always the plan for Eldon. “When I was in college, I couldn’t decide a direction I wanted to go,” he admitted. “I just knew I didn’t want to do pre-med or engineering.” When a faculty member suggested Eldon consider a career in teaching, he wasn’t convinced.

It wasn’t until he took his first observation course that he fell in love with it. “I just knew that was where I needed to be,” Eldon said. “Just like on the third date with my wife when I knew that was the woman I was going to marry, during my first observation class, I knew that was the career I was going to marry.” Eldon was originally interested in working in Corsicana as a way to expand his horizons. “I had started looking for a new position, because I hope to one day be a superintendent. I feel like if that is going to happen, I will need experience with bigger schools,” he explained.

When the opportunity to work at Corsicana High School presented itself, he was excited about the prospect. “I felt like I could connect with the student population here,” Eldon said. “I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to grow professionally, and as a person, to work with different cultures. The students have been great so far.” Working at CHS has exceeded his expectations. “Never once did I hear bad things about this campus,” Eldon said. “Once I got here, I knew this was the right choice.”

He has a great team working with him who knows how to get the job done. “The staff here made it easy to come in and get going,” Eldon said. “My administration has also been wonderful and very supportive. I think the relationship we have built has put them at ease that this school is a priority.” Eldon’s professional philosophy is all about priorities. “Christ comes first. My family comes second, and this job comes third,” he declared. “That’s how things work for me personally. When that gets out of alignment, things start to fall apart.”

When interacting with the community, Eldon wants people to know how much he values open communication. “I’m going to treat people with civility, and I expect them to do the same,” he said. “I urge anyone who has a question or concern to come in and talk to me. The outcome might not be what they like, but I will listen and take everything into consideration.”

Eldon has big plans for Corsicana High School, and some of those plans have already begun to take effect. “I want to build a high-performing team of teachers and of students,” he said. “I subscribe to the ‘team’ concept as far as leadership goes. We are all pieces of the whole. The whole goal is to give the kids every opportunity for success.” In order to achieve success, Eldon plans to do everything he can to build up his school. “I’m going to support my teachers, and I’m going to support my students,” he said. “We have to do what’s in the best interest for all involved.” Outside of school, Eldon loves dove hunting, duck hunting and fishing. “There’s nothing like saltwater coastal fishing,” Eldon said.

He also enjoys woodworking and target shooting. His favorite team is the Green Bay Packers, and he will let everyone know it. “I’m a Packers fan through and through, which irritates a lot of people around here, but that’s OK,” Eldon laughed. “That’s been my team for many years.” Everyone knows Eldon’s car when it’s parked in the parking lot. “I drive a MINI Cooper. That’s probably the only car I’ll ever drive,” he said. “People sometimes make fun of me as a big guy in a little car, but I love it.”

The car was a Christmas present from his wife five years ago, and Eldon does all the work on the car himself. Since moving to Corsicana in July, Eldon and his family have thoroughly enjoyed the small-town atmosphere. “The community has been wonderful. I have yet to meet someone who wasn’t friendly,” he said. “I have been very happy with the way the community has accepted me.”

Even on their first day in town, Eldon was already impressed with Corsicana. “We had people bring us food when we were moving in. In 23 years, we’ve never had that happen. That idea of community has really impressed me. I love the idea of a community spirit.”