‘Distinguished’ Monmouth principal enjoys serving ‘great little community’
MONMOUTH — There’s something about Immaculate Conception School here that attracts and fosters talent.
Principal Randy Frakes has been named the Distinguished Principal of the Year by the Office of Catholic Schools and is the third person associated with the school to be singled out. His predecessor, Katherine Bennett, was honored with the same award during the 2014-15 academic year, and Msgr. Thomas Mack, pastor emeritus of Immaculate Conception, was the Distinguished Pastor of the Year for 2017-18.
“It was humbling,” Frakes said when he learned of the award, which was given to him at the year-end Mass and luncheon hosted by the Office of Catholic Schools on May 9. Also honored were Msgr. Gerald Ward of Blessed Sacrament in Morton, Distinguished Pastor of the Year, and Debbie Marlier of Jordan Catholic School in Rock Island, Distinguished Teacher of the Year.
Frakes said he was appreciative that Father Timothy Hepner, the current pastor, and Msgr. Mack, who hired him, would nominate him.
“You just come and do your job every day. Like anything, it’s nice to be recognized for that,” said Frakes, who is in his eighth year of leadership at Immaculate Conception. “It’s not what you do it for, but it’s still nice.”
In so many ways, however, it’s not just a job and can’t be, according to Frakes.
MORE THAN A JOB
“I think God brought me here for a reason,” he told The Catholic Post. “My two daughters are here and my wife did work here for a while. When it’s your hometown, it’s your parish, and your kids go to school, it’s just more than a job.”
“I think God brought me here for a reason. . . . My two daughters are here and my wife did work here for a while. When it’s your hometown, it’s your parish, and your kids go to school, it’s just more than a job.” — Randy Frakes
“It’s a great little community — the church community and school community. It’s a great little place to be,” Frakes said.
Frakes grew up down the road from Monmouth in Galesburg. He attended Carl Sandburg College for two years and then finished at Western Illinois University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education. He holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Olivet Nazarene University.
His experience includes teaching physical education and eighth grade health at Beardstown Junior/Senior School, and physical education and health at J.W. Eater Middle School in Rantoul, where he also coached baseball, basketball and track. Prior to being named principal at Immaculate Conception in 2015, Frakes was the assistant principal and athletic director at West Central High School in Biggsville.
He also serves as the athletic director at Immaculate Conception.
“It takes a little more time, but when your kids are active, you’re going to be at everything anyway,” he said. “Plus, it’s being part of our community and supporting our kids.”
One of the things he enjoys most is having the church right across the parking lot. Whether it’s for school Mass on Wednesdays and adoration on the first Friday of the month, or to take a student to pray and have quiet time after a discipline issue, it sets the tone for everything that happens, he said.
Frakes wants the students to remember that.
“When they go to high school you don’t want them to lose that connection,” he told The Catholic Post. “I hope we’ve done a good enough job that if they do, they know that it’s right there and they can come back to it.”