July 14, 2024 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Franzen chosen to lead middle school

The new St. Joseph Middle School Principal will be a familiar face.

The St. Joseph Consolidated Community School Board voted to hire Alisyn Franzen as the new principal starting in the 2021 school year.

Superintendent Todd Pence said the choice was obvious. 

“Mrs. Franzen rose to the top of our candidate pool for several reasons,” he said. 

Pence said Franzen is a wonderful person, mother and role model in addition to being an outstanding high school English teacher, coach and professional. 

“She is a lifelong learner and is in the process of finishing a second Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction to go along with her Master’s in Educational Administration,” he said. “What she lacks in administrative experience will quickly be forgotten due to her work ethic and her competitive personality to always excel.   I believe in my heart that the sky’s the limit for  Mrs. Franzen and she is the person that is going to help take our middle school from very good to great.”

Franzen, who currently teachers English at St. Joseph-Ogden High School has been a teacher for 13 years, seven of which have been at SJO. 

Previously, she taught at Rantoul Township High School and Peotone High School. 

“I love working in the field of education and have really enjoyed my teacher-leadership roles at the high school,” Franzen said.  “I’ve always wanted to eventually become an administrator and that combined with my love for the community made this opportunity something I could not pass up.”

Franzen said she feels St. Joseph is truly a unique place where the schools, kids, parents and community are all so supportive and work together to do what is best for kids. 

“It doesn’t get any better than that,” she said. “I would want to  share that I am committed to doing what is best for students, and I am really looking forward to working with the students, parents, and staff. I am honored to have this opportunity.”

Franzen, who has degrees from the University of Illinois and Eastern Illinois University, said leaving the high school will be difficult. 

“Teaching there has been among the best part of my career to date, and I never really feel like I am ‘going to work’ when I actually am,”  she said.  “There have been so many wonderful memories I have made as a teacher and coach at the high school. I’ve met some wonderful kids and families, coached some wonderful student-athletes and worked with some amazing teachers. While it will be tough to leave, the only thing that could have made me step away from this job would have been the middle school principal job. I wouldn’t want to work in any other community.”

Franzen’s family, which includes husband Justin and sons Nolan, Brock and Evan, were excited that she was hired as the new middle school principal. 

“We are all looking forward to this new phase in our lives,” she said. 

Franzen has said she thinks the middle school is a great school and she looks forward to continuing to build a rapport with the students, teachers and parents. However, she will miss the relationships and experiences she has had at the high school. 

“I’ll miss that day-to-day regular interaction with them in the classroom. Seeing those “a-ha” moments are the best, and I will certainly miss seeing them grasp new concepts or think about and share new ideas,” she said. “However, I also see my new role as a principal as an opportunity to regularly interact with students both in and out of the classroom and have a positive impact on an even larger group of students and staff.”

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