Contributed by Sunset Canyon Elementary School

The staff of Sunset Canyon Elementary School, in the Paradise Valley School District, would like to introduce you to our principal, David Franks. He was beloved by his staff, students, parents, and community members alike. Students celebrated “Mr. Frank’s Day” in early March by wearing ties and sharing messages of appreciation on cutout ties. Mr. Franks wore a tie each day to work. The students could count on Mr. Franks to give them a happy hello by name each day. He shared his enthusiasm for learning with all of the students he encountered. When you were having a rough day, you could count on Mr. Franks to offer an ear to listen to your troubles and ideas to lift you up. He was supportive to all who were in need.

He came to Paradise Valley Schools 15 years ago teaching first grade. He worked his way up through the ranks to become principal of Sunset Canyon Elementary School seven years ago. He had come to education after having worked for a team building organization leading people through nature while having to rely on each other. He loved hiking and mountain climbing. He especially enjoyed these nature moments with his wife and three daughters on weekends, holidays, and summers. Mr. Franks brought his love of the outdoors to his job. For our 6th grade clap-out to celebrate students’ accomplishments, he rigged his portaledge used for mountain climbing so that he was hanging from the solar panels at our school. The students loved this, and so did he. The huge smile on Mr. Frank’s face expressed his happiness of sharing this love of the outdoors with our students.

Sadly, Mr. Franks was taken away from us the week after this celebration. He passed away on May 26. Due to the pandemic, huge gatherings were discouraged to mourn him and share our grief, but the Sunset Canyon community found a way. Students, staff, and families came by the school and hung ties on the fence that included messages about how much we loved this generous, loving, and kind man. David Franks will be remembered by all who had the privilege of working with him and missed forever by his students, staff, colleagues, family, and friends.