The staff and board of 826 Valencia are delighted to announce the appointment of our new Executive Director, Vidrale Franklin. Vidrale will take the helm on May 21st and will be our third Executive Director, succeeding Nínive Calegari and Leigh Lehman.
Vidrale (Vie-dréll) brings to 826 a life-long dedication to public education, devotion to community, and love of children. She served for seven years as a teacher and then seven years as Principal of Bret Harte Elementary School in San Francisco’s Bayview District. She also has served as After-School Program Coordinator and Instructional Reform Facilitator at Bret Hart, as well as Assistant Principal at Paul Revere Middle School. Vidrale’s many achievements and initiatives at Bret Harte include:
Creation of a dual immersion tiered Spanish language program, the first in the Bayview/Hunters Point area.
A 33 percent reduction in suspensions during her time as principal.
A tripling of pro bono mental health services for students and families.
Creation of a school web site, chosen by The New Teacher Project as an “innovative school marketing model.”
A teacher retention rate of 95 percent.
Ninety-five percent parent satisfaction and 97 percent student satisfaction in multi-year surveys.
A ten-fold increase in community partnerships with mentoring and arts programs, faith-based institutions, and other nonprofits.
A three-fold increase in parent participation in school programming and activities.
An increase in student achievement (API) by 76 points.
Creation of a neighborhood fitness program.
Adoption of “peer observation” classroom instructional improvement practices.
Vidrale also was appointed by the San Francisco Education Fund to host Michelle Obama’s visit to Bret Harte to construct the Kaboom Playground as part of the First Lady’s “United We Serve” campaign.
Vidrale received a B.A. in Social Welfare and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from U.C. Berkeley, and she earned an Ed.D. degree from San Francisco State University last year. She currently teaches a class on “Curricular Leadership for Multicultural Education” at S.F. State’s Department of Education and volunteers at the Public Library in Bayview, where she has lived since childhood.
In addition to her many achievements, Vidrale wowed us with her deep commitment to children, education, and community. During her tenure at Bret Harte she recognized that some of her students came to school hungry, and she created a partnership with the San Francisco Food Bank and established a food pantry on campus that provided meals both for the students and the students’ families. She saw that some of her students arrived at school in dirty clothing, and she purchased a washer and dryer and placed them in a storeroom at the school for the students’ and families’ use. She observed that many of her teachers were over-worked and under-appreciated, and she introduced “10 minute massages” and weekly “spin-the-wheel” teacher appreciation prizes for her faculty and other colleagues.
One parent wrote to us and added:
Vidrale created a counseling center for students and a school garden. Bret Harte had a lot of support from the Bayview community. It became a community school.
We needed to set up a place where we could have private therapy sessions with the kids. The space was a classroom in the annex of their school. She came in with her husband and furnished it out of her own pocket with a couch and transformed the space. They painted it. It’s the nicest room in all of our schools. It wasn’t just about providing space. It created a great situation for kids, though it took a lot of her time and resources.
She had a good understanding of what the community needs were. She cared so much about those kids. She was a stable and safe presence for them.
She made Bret Harte a safe place where learning happened.
Vidrale wrote in her application to become Executive Director:
There is nothing I enjoy more than sparking the imagination of a child and encouraging him or her to learn, think and act in creative and innovative ways. Education does not start and end in the classroom. It is a never-ending process, and I am excited to collaborate with 826 Valencia and to use my skills and talents to further the organization.
We too are eager and excited to begin our collaboration with Vidrale as our new Executive Director. Please join us in welcoming Vidrale, her husband Tim Kelly, and their new baby girl (due in late July) to our 826 Valencia family.