A Lasting Influence—Nettie Francis ('97)

Nettie Francis reminds educators that ordinary people make a lasting influence in the world.

Nettie and Husband

Nettie Francis is ambitious, creative, and has made valuable contributions in the world of education. In April 1997, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the McKay School of Education. While at BYU she met her husband, Mark Francis, and they started their family. She is the mother of ten beautiful children, five boys and five girls. 

 

Throughout her life as a mother, people have frequently told her that she cannot accomplish all she wants to in her career because she has ten children. Her response is simply to smile and reply, “Why not?” She urges people to have the same response when they are doubting themselves or when others underestimate their abilities. 

 

While studying to become an educator, she distinctly remembers a moment in class 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 necessarily 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 others along in their eternal progression.”

 

Francis began her career teaching preschool to all ten of her children. The family’s first big move was to Las Vegas, Nevada. While living there she became a music teacher at the private school where her young children attended. 

 

The family relocated to Wyoming a few years later, and Francis decided to become actively involved the school program there because she was fascinated with its unique education system. She joined a team to create a textbook for third-graders that reviewed the history of Natrona County. She particularly enjoyed this project because she had her own third-grader at the time and loved being able to enhance her child’s education experience. 

 

After the completion of the textbook project, more writing experiences began to surface. She has written various articles for The FriendEnsign, and New Era. She was also a columnist for the Casper Journal in Wyoming. One of Francis’s most notable accomplishments is founding the Wyoming Woman Magazine. The magazine 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 when I lived there was education, because Wyoming has an excellent education system.” Francis said. 

 

Francis has enjoyed many elements of education, but the best aspect of education for her is the opportunity to make a difference.

 

“When you are dealing with children or people who are eager to learn, then you can open their eyes and teach them skills and facts that can help them in their lives,” Francis said.

 

Although Francis believes that she has made a difference in the world of education, the greatest impact she has made has been on her own family.  A few weeks ago, she attended a conference where each attendant was encouraged to think of ten people that they wanted to influence. She immediately thought of her ten children. 

 

 “It’s great to be published in magazines and write 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. 

 

Writer: Ashley Young

 

Contact: Shauna Valentine (801) 422-8562