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Alabama Educator Selected to Lead National Elementary Principals' Group


After a decade leading the National Association of Elementary School Principals, Gail Connelly is stepping down as the organization's executive director.

Connelly will be replaced by L. Earl Franks, who will start his new post on July 1. She will stay on as executive director emeritus and serve as "a reliable source for institutional knowledge and reference," the organization said.

Franks, a former band director and principal, now serves as executive director of the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools, an organization that represents Alabama's principals and school administrators.

He comes on board at the NAESP as the organization is working to help school leaders prepare for the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the new federal K-12 law. The NAESP is also continuing its emphasis on creating a pipeline of school leaders who can effectively lead pre-K -3 schools, expanding professional and mentoring programs to bolster school leaders, and boosting opportunities to support early-career principals.

"I am extremely honored and humbled to be selected for this opportunity of a lifetime—to lead one of America's most important and iconic organizations for education: NAESP," Franks said in a statement. "This position will allow me the opportunity to take my experiences—which includes over 31 years in education as a teacher, principal, and state association executive director—to the national and international level. I will build on the tradition of this great organization and expand the reach of my passion for education and helping school leaders improve."

Connelly, the current NAESP executive director, spent 32 years with the group, 10 of them at the helm. 

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