Franklin Davis Heatherly
Updated: May 10, 2005
Following graduation from Woodrow Wilson, I graduated from Concord College with a degree in liberal arts. After a short time in business, I got into education where I should have been from the start. From there I proceeded to the University of Alabama where I earned a masters and a doctorate. I spent 36 years in education, and then kind of retired, before I began to do some university teaching again. Most of my professional life has been connected with school and school system administration. Beginning as a classroom teacher, I became a school principal after three years of teaching, then assistant superintendant of schools, then superintendant of schools, and finally was employed by the Alabama State Department of Education.
During the early 1980s, I was invited and accepted one-month stints to teach in South America for the University of Alabama on three occasions. That turned out to be very addictive. My wife and I have been globe trotting every chance we get since then.
About the time I was thinking my career in education was pretty much past, I was invited to be a visiting professor at a university in China, and I have been invited back. In June, I will travel to Yambian University again, located in northeast China, where I will remain until mid-August. I will be doing the only thing I know, school leadership. However, when teaching in China, every class is a kind of English class too. Last year every student I had spoke at least four languages. I was the only one in the group who did not. Disgusting! I have never seen such driven, bright, harding working people in my life as in China. It was a joy to go to class.
Fortunately, every time I have gone overseas I have been able to take my wife along. So the wanderlust I developed (I guess in junior high as a ham radio operator) has yet to get me in much trouble. My wife of 26 years, Gena, is also an educator, recently retired. Fortunately, she is about as curious about other cultures as I am.
I am about full of rice. I do not know how much longer I will be going to China. I do intend to attend the 50th class reunion in Beckley when the opportunity presents itself.