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Verna Francis: A TC Alumna Has Brought Out the Best in People

Verna Francis was one of the last audience members to approach the microphone at TC's two-day symposium on educational equity back in October, but her words drew applause from the remaining crowd. "We must not refer to our African American and Hispanic children as -'at risk' and -'disadvantaged,'" cautioned Francis, 74, a TC alumna. "The very terms are demoralizing to teachers, to parents and to the children. Children need to be told they can achieve anything they want to achieve."

Francis's own life confirms the wisdom of that approach. A teacher at Long Island University recommended she go to Teachers College. At TC, she was urged to take simultaneous degrees in Nursing and Education. At Hunter/Bellevue School of Nursing, her student teaching work led to a faculty position.

After a varied and fulfilling professional life and extensive travel, she is now retired. She continues in her role as a community activist with an African-centered perspective who dotes on the achievement of her own children and focuses on promoting the self-esteem of others.

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