David LaFrance


Build relationships. Make a difference.

This is what Oakland Elementary School is doing. This public school in Bloomington is setting the pace when it comes to relationship building in education. They know that they are entrusted with a huge privilege and responsibility.

This is a complex era for public education. Changes in the relational and institutional fabric of our society have led to heightened expectations on public schools.

Public schools have always had to battle with changes at the political and economic levels. Education is constantly adjusting its standards for measurement and strategies for learning. However, the changes in familial and communal engagement have been far more challenging.

Children walk into a public school from every background. One walks right out of their parent’s minivan after just completing a full breakfast and will be picked up as the final bell rings in the same minivan before returning to a two-parent home where homework assistance and conversation will be the norm. On the flip side, another student walks in off a bus that just picked them up from the homeless shelter, or their grandma’s apartment, and they will come to school for a government-supplied breakfast before completing the day in a mandated after school program. Yet, throughout the day, these two students will be expected to learn and master the same material and be measured against the same standards.

We know that schools play a vital role in the formation of society’s youth, but we’ve placed an astronomical amount of pressure on educators by outsourcing total formation to them. Never before have we expected a school to nurture the intelligence and emotions of their students, to nourish their minds and souls, this much.

Oakland is a school that owns this responsibility. The staff, led by their principal, David LaFrance, is diligently working to build relationships and make a difference. They joyfully walk into work day after day believing in what they do and knowing that they are entrusted with a great task.

David LaFrance is a principal who exemplifies servant leadership. He leads his staff, students, and families with love. His love for God compels him to love others. He is a trustworthy educator creating an environment of trust at Oakland through shared stories.

With each and every story shared, and in each and every relationship built, a difference is being made.