Inspiring and engaging, at the time of her award, Assistant Principal Princess Francois positively impacted students, colleagues and the school community at Math, Engineering and Science Academy (MESA), a charter high school in Brooklyn, New York. She oversaw 70 staff and 500 students, holding direct responsibility for the professional growth of 22 teachers and two department leaders. Francois provided personalized teacher coaching, developing and following through on action plans that support educators’ growth and effectiveness. Her high-leverage, targeted feedback lead to immediate implementation and tangible results. Francois initiated a schoolwide vertical alignment process, helped reorganize professional development efforts and analyzes data to support at-risk students and struggling teachers. When she taught Algebra Remediation at MESA, 11 of her 17 students passed the New York State Regents Exam at the end of the year; in Earth Science, Regents pass rates rose 14%. Under her supervision, Regents pass rates have risen 20% for Algebra II and 17% for Chemistry.
Francois also had taken the lead on cultural initiatives at MESA. Her focus on schoolwide diversity and equity led to the creation of the school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, which still works to ensure that all groups feel celebrated and accepted. Francois helped revamp Black History Month at MESA, turning a one-day assembly into a month-long celebration with food, music, educational workshops and group conversations about race. At both MESA and her previous school, the High School for Global Citizenship, Francois insisted on a college-bound culture, arranging visits to college campuses and encouraging students to reach beyond their comfort zones to apply for summer programs both within the U.S. and beyond. When she received her master’s in educational leadership, Francois invited students to attend her graduation.
Currently, Francois serves as the New York Executive Director of America Needs You, a non-profit organization that helps to increase the economic mobility and college persistence of first-generation college students through transformative mentorship and intensive career development. In new role, she is expanding her impact on educational field from the secondary high school setting to the higher education college setting.
The daughter of immigrants from Haiti, Francois grew up in the same community MESA serves, with a large population of West Indian and other cultures. Students see her as living proof of what they can accomplish despite their socioeconomic background. Former students talk about her lasting impact, crediting her with their increased confidence, love of science and decisions to pursue careers in STEM fields. Teachers see Francois as not just a coach but a mentor. She works with student teachers from Long Island University, as well as early and mid-level teachers at MESA. Francois has shared her personal story at conferences held by Teach For America and the New York City Department of Education to inspire other educators on their own path to leadership.
Francois earned a Bachelor’s in History from Columbia University in 2011, a Master’s in Adolescent Special Education from CUNY Hunter College in 2013 and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from the Bank Street Graduate School of Education in 2015. She is now a doctoral candidate at Fordham University for a Doctorate in Education.
Press release: Coaching Teachers and Inspiring Students Earns a $25,000 Milken Educator Award for Assistant Principal Princess Francois
Teach for America’s Collective 2016 Teacher of the Year Award
30 under 30 Caribbean American Emerging Leader and Changemaker Honoree
Bank Street College Alumni Association 2020 Recent Graduate Award
Long Island University's 2016 Teacher of the Year
Teach for America’s New York Collective 2020 Leadership Award
2011 Columbia University, B.A. in History/Pre-Med
2013 Hunter College School of Education, M.S.Ed, in Adolescent Special Education
2015 Bank Street Graduate School of Education, M.Ed. in Educational Leadership