Dr. Hewins' legacy to continue

Dr. Hewins' legacy continues
Posted on 06/18/2018
Dr. Hewins ELCAs Superintendent Hewins prepares to retire, his legacy will carry on with Franklin Pierce Schools. On Wednesday, June 13, district staff and community members gathered to celebrate his work as a coach, a teacher, a principal, a director, an assistant superintendent and superintendent. 

Speakers touched on different facets of Dr. Hewins' career including his time at Franklin Pierce High School, his role as a leader of a large and complex organization, his leadership and advocacy in the community and with state legislators, and his collaboration with the Franklin Pierce Schools Board of Directors. During the gathering, representatives of the Franklin Pierce Board of Directors announced the board's unanimous decision to name the Dr. Frank Hewins Early Learning Center in honor of his time with the district and commitment to early childhood learning. 

"This honor is the Hall of Fame, Tony Award, Oscar Award, and Triple Crown of an educator's career-all in one...I am honored to know that my name will be attached to supporting our community's youngest learners," Dr. Hewins shared in his remarks. "While on-time graduation rates are vitally important, I learned somewhere along the way that years three to five are the foundation of a child's success."

The Franklin Pierce Schools Board of Directors passed a resolution to name the facility after Hewins in May after receiving feedback from staff and community members. While many people have been integral in the formation of the Early Learning Center as we know it, Dr. Hewins bucked the trend of many superintendents to link early learning with K-12 education, to advocate for funding to create a hospitable and vibrant learning environment, and to link multiple programs under one roof in order to serve children and families. He was a strong advocate during tumultuous times as the program bounced around between failing facilities in and outside of the Franklin Pierce Schools district boundaries. 

Dr. Hewins was quick to acknowledge tremendous support from many people that have advanced early learning efforts in Franklin Pierce Schools including Early Learning Center staff, leaders and representatives of the previous Parkland United Methodist Church (current site for the Dr. Frank Hewins Early Learning Center), state legislators that advocated for capital funding to create a welcoming learning space, and numerous contractors that expedited their work to ensure a smooth transition to the new space.

While the Dr. Frank Hewins Early Learning Center currently serves approximately 350 kids each week, limited space has led to a long waiting list for families eligible to access early learning programs. In 2017, state legislatures funded a $1 million planning and design appropriation to prepare for an expansion to accommodate additional students and families. District leaders are optimistic about identifying additional funding to complete phase II of the Dr. Frank Hewins Early Learning Center over the next few years.