Dr. L. Earl Franks, CAE

Dr. L. Earl Franks, CAE

Serving education leaders with innovation and inspiration.

Dr. L. Earl Franks, CAE, a veteran association executive with over three decades of K-12 education experience, serves as the seventh executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

“I am very appreciative and grateful to the NAESP Board of Directors for placing their trust in me to help further our mission, which is ‘to lead in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle-level principals and other education leaders in their commitment to all children,’” said Franks.

In his nine years as executive director of the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS), Alabama’s leading umbrella organization for principals and school administrators, Franks was the driving force behind the organization’s innovation and growth. He administered a multimillion-dollar budget and managed tens of millions of dollars in grants. The group achieved record membership levels eight out of nine years, while staring down the challenges of budget cuts and rising health care costs.

With a target of continuous professional development for its members and a focus on fostering innovation, Franks pioneered the groundbreaking Certified Instructional Leader (CIL) program, which offers an advanced credential to principals and other school/district leaders.

Franks credits his father with laying the foundation for his leadership philosophy, saying, “He always led by example,” adding that he taught him to strive for character, honor and integrity.

Prior to serving as CLAS executive director, he served as a leader on the CLAS Board of Directors; before that, he developed broad experience in public education by working with the school system from top to bottom, and in all grades. Franks served as a principal from 1999 until 2008 at a pre-K-through-12 school serving 1,000+ students. Prior to that, he earned a glowing reputation as an award-winning band director. 

Franks is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow with Major Donor distinction from Rotary International and has received leadership awards from the Alabama Music Educators Association, Troy University Music Department, as well as the prestigious Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential from the CAE Commission of ASAE, the Center for Association Leadership.

Franks received his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He received his Master of Science in Education, Bachelor of Music Education, and Educational Specialist degrees from Troy University in Troy, Alabama.

Message from Dr. L. Earl Franks, CAE