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A Lasting Influence

Fall 2018
Read Time: 3 minutes

A portrait of a husband and wife. The wife is hugging her husband from behind.Nettie Francis is ambitious and creative and has made valuable contributions in education. In April 1997 she graduated from the McKay School with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. While at BYU she met her husband, Mark Francis. Today they are the parents of 10 children—five boys and five girls.

People have frequently told her that she cannot accomplish all she wants to in her career because she has 10 children. Her response is simply, “Why not?” She urges people to have the same response when they are doubting themselves or when others underestimate their abilities.

In one of her BYU classes she distinctly remembers a moment when she realized that the world is run by regular people. “It comforted me because I realized that good people can make a difference even if they are not rich or famous,” Francis said.

Francis reminds educators that “education should be looked at with an eternal perspective. Everyone is on earth to learn and grow. Teachers have a noble career because they help everyone along in their eternal progression.”

Francis began a preschool where she taught her 10 children. Later she taught music at the private school that her children attended.

The family relocated to Wyoming, and Francis become involved in her children’s schools. She joined a committee tasked with creating a third-grade textbook of the history of Natrona County. Having a third grader at the time enhanced her enjoyment of the project.

After this project was completed, more writing opportunities materialized. She has written for the Friend, the Ensign, and the New Era, and she became a columnist for the Casper Journal in Wyoming.

One of Francis’ most notable accomplishments was the founding of the Wyoming Woman Magazine. This gave her a chance to write stories, travel, and speak to women throughout the state on a variety of topics.

“One of the topics I loved covering was education, because Wyoming has a unique and very good education system,” Francis said.

For Francis, the best aspect of education is the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.

The greatest impact Francis has made is in her own family. Recently she attended a conference where each attendant was encouraged to think of 10 people they wanted to influence. She immediately thought of her 10 children.

“It is great to be published in magazines and have readers from around the nation and world, but the real and lasting influence ultimately will always be in our homes. Education is such a great way to support and supplement that,” Francis said.