Roger Franklin remembered as a dedicated educator, leader

By: Adrienne Wallace | Email: Click Here
Posted: February 10, 2020 | 12:30 p.m.

Former RBC professor, PG school board member died Feb. 2, aged 70

PRINCE GEORGE – Roger Franklin, a former professor at Richard Bland College and longtime Prince George School Board member died earlier this month after a long battle with Alzheimer’s at the age of 70.

He was first elected to the Prince George School Board in 2007 and for three of those years served as either chair or vice-chair. Though not serving on the Board for the 2008 four-year term, Franklin was reelected to two other full terms serving in various roles and on numerous committees, and later to a two-term following a staggered term ruling. 

In all, Franklin represented District 1 on the board for 14 years.

According to school officials, he had championed funding for operational and capital needs and crafted policies to improve academic achievement for students. His drive for competitive salaries and benefits have resulted in successful recruitment and above retention rates. 

He was a pioneer in web-based distance learning and he initiated Richard Bland College’s first distance education offering and championed the Prince George School system to adopt a virtual learning platform, including an alternative education for expulsion students to continue with their education and gain credits for graduation.

Former School Board Chairman Robert Cox, Jr. said Franklin would be missed.

“When he left the Board, it left a hole and when he left this earthly world it has left a hole,” Cox, who previously served with Franklin on the Prince George School Board, said. “I was thankful to get to know him and for our friendship.”

According to Cox, Franklin brought the classroom perspective to the board and also post-high school education.”

“Roger always knew what the kids went through and could just tell what was going out, and if it was in or out of the classroom,” he added. “He was always big on technology and mathematics, and saw a lot of kids after graduation in post-education at Richard Bland and knew what they were like when they got there and looked at what we do in schools to help prepare students for college. He was a great help to have that post-education where we were lacking and what we needed to tighten up on and was instrumental in bringing that into the forefront.”

Some of the committees Franklin served on included Appomattox Regional Governor’s School Board, College of William and Mary Board of Visitors, City of Petersburg Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee) and has held many positions overseeing academic classrooms and labs, creating, securing research and resources that allowed students the collaborative tools for learning and student achievement while employed at Richard Bland College. 

Franklin’s motto was, “If you got ’em, you got ’em,” and he believed in giving students 200 percent.

Also, he was known and appreciated for keeping a watchful eye on the finances always ensuring the budget and quarterly reports were clear.

As a longtime educator, Franklin believed in education and had been quoted as saying, “I know that education changes lives and creates opportunities. As Americans, we often disagree about politics and religion, but we all agree on the importance of education.”

With nearly 50 years in education, Franklin was a professor at Richard Bland College. With years of experience, he brought much to the school board and local college having a Bachelor’s degree and three Master’s degrees in computer science, administration and music. He retired as the Professor of Computer Science and Music at Richard Bland College

“Thank you, Roger, for the tremendous influence/impact you had on my life and career as a music teacher/educator. It was my pleasure and a true honor to work with you during my student teaching in 1980,” Leo Leddon wrote about Roger Franklin. “Even though I was only with you for three short months, the lessons I learned took me through a 36-year career in education as a teacher/administrator. I can say without a doubt that you touched the lives of many, many students, mine included.”

Franklin had been a high school principal and taught students from first grade through graduate school.

Also, the Alabama native served on the Learning Technology Advisory Committee to the State Council on Higher Education in Virginia being charged by the Virginia Legislature to develop and improve methods for using technology.

Roger was born March 1, 1949, in Troy, Alabama, to the late Roger Edwin Franklin Sr. and Grace Webb Franklin. 

He is survived by his wife, Lena Susan Franklin of South Prince George, and many family members, friends and those he taught who learned and grew through his leadership. Cox said Roger and Lena were always together unless they were at work and were not only married but best friends.

A memorial service was held Saturday, February 8, at Prince George High School.

“Roger was always about the kids and what was best for the kids. If it wasn’t best for the kids, he didn’t do it,” Cox recalled. “There won’t be another Roger – he was one of kind and always brought something special to the table.” 

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