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Rebecca Bonner is home and she loves it.

Bonner, from Baskin, is the new principal at Franklin Parish High School, and the 33-year-old education veteran says she feels right at home.

“I’ve always lived in Franklin Parish,” Bonner said. “This is my home, and I love the students here. I wake up every morning with a smile on my face.

A graduate of Ward III High School, Bonner taught at Winnsboro High School at the time and taught English and American History from 1997 to 2007 until Academic Consolidation. John Brown was his principal and also taught him history while he was a student in Ward III. In addition, she won the Franklin Parish Teacher of the Year award during her first stint at the FPHS.

Bonner moved to Ouachita High School and during her 14-year stint continued her education with a master’s degree and was heavily influenced by Todd Guice, Director of OPHS.

“I saw Ouachita run so efficiently and so well,” she recalls. “I watched what he did. I did an internship in his office, and over the planning period and after school. He was the epitome of what a high school principal should be. He was passionate about what he did and he was a phenomenal leader.

While at OPHS, Bonner was promoted to first-year academy administrator before becoming deputy director in charge of personnel, main scheduling and operations.

The hometown girl was making her mark in education and learning to lead people, but still had an eye for her beloved Franklin Parish. While working her way up through the ranks, she worked with curriculum, senior scheduling, and finance. Looking back, she attributed her perfect timing to God.

“I feel like everything that happens is for a reason and is part of the Lord’s plan,” Bonner said.

And despite all of her on-the-job training and formal education, the time had come when the main FPHS position opened.

“I thought I could reach more students (as a principal),” Bonner said. “I thought I could have more of an impact in the school and the educational process, in the curriculum and all facets of education.”

As a first-year principal, Bonner had to jump in, but she was a little late for the race due to the COVID-19 contraction. Usually she would have all summer to plan for the next school year, but the virus has cut her time short.

Bonner worked hard to catch up and planned several new classes and events for FPHS.

Namely, an ACT preparation course specially designed for the individual needs of students to improve their scores. She also oversaw the CNA program of former director Brian Gunner at the FPHS.

For teachers, Bonner created Patriot Printshop where one person makes all the copies, staples or punches and delivers them to teachers.

“It frees up time for teachers to teach their classes and analyze the curriculum to make sure we’re teaching what our kids need, so they can be successful,” Bonner said.

There are also plans to create an NCAA Clearing House Readiness Committee.

“Franklin Parish has some of the best athletes in the world in my opinion,” Bonner said. “This program will make sure they have all the classes they need, so if a Division I school is watching them, they’ll have all the classes and ACT scores they need.”

The committee will review every athlete and sport in the FPHS.

Plans to create a government student association are also being developed.

As he walks the halls of the FPHS visiting students and classrooms, Bonner remembers people like Ida Hoard who inspired his journey in education. His desire is to inspire the next generation of teachers.

“She loved what she did and her passion for teaching fascinated me,” she recalls. “These teachers inspired me to follow in their footsteps. I hope to inspire young people to become teachers. I like what I do. It’s year 33, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

She admits that without her husband, Mark, and their son, Christian, she wouldn’t be right now. Christian is in his second year of medicine at LSU Shreveport.

“There were a lot of nights they ate a sandwich, or I just had something (for dinner),” Bonner said with a laugh. “But, they supported me.”

Over the years, she also drew inspiration and strength from her parents, Huey and Alice Temple, who were huge supporters of education.

Her mother ran the Ward III school cafeteria and recently passed away.

“Mom always wanted me to come home,” she said, wiping away tears.

With the house of Lady Franklin Parish, Bonner said it was time to get down to business and with his teachers. The sky was the limit.

“We have phenomenal teachers and such nice kids at this school,” Bonner said. “I like being at home. We are not where we want to be, but we are heading in the right direction. We will be. It’s just going to take a little while. “

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