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Helana Francois takes her seat in the principal’s office at Basile High School last week after being named the school’s new leader. (Photo by Darrel LeJeune)

Eunice native named principal at Basile High School

Eunice native Helana Francois was named Basile High School principal Aug. 5 at the meeting of the Evangeline Parish School Board.
She replaces Tony Bertrand, who has been promoted to maintenance supervisor at the School Board office. Bertrand had served as the school’s leader since January 2014.
Francois, of Basile, graduated from Eunice High in 1988 and received a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education in 2003 from McNeese State in Lake Charles and a M.Ed. in educational leadership, also from McNeese, in 2011.
She began her teaching career in 2003 at Plaisance Elementary where she served for three years before transferring to W. W. Stewart Elementary where she taught third grade for eight years.
She came to Basile High in 2014 to teach sixth grade math and was named assistant principal in August 2017.
She is the daughter of Henry and Cynthia Dugas and has been married to Chad Francois for 27 years. They have three children: Kyle, who graduated from BHS in 2015; Matthew, an incoming junior; and Victoria, an incoming sophomore.
Francois takes the reins of the school during this unusual pandemic time. She shared just a few of the changes that are being implemented to safeguard against the virus.
“Because of COVID, things will be very different from the way parents drop students off on the first day to the way we transition from class to class. Students in fifth grade will come to school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Students in sixth to 12th will have an A-B schedule and when they are at home they will be doing distance learning. All students and teachers will be required to wear masks and check their temperatures upon entering the building. There will be more sanitizing done on campus. Things will be very different. I just ask that the parents and students have patience and keep an open mind to all of the changes. We are doing these things in an effort to keep everyone safe.”
Francois said, “We have an amazing staff at BHS, and they work really hard. Coach Tony did a great job running the school and so did the others before him so I do not see any changes at this time.”
The new principal also shared her personal feelings about taking on the leadership at the school.
“BHS is like a family from the staff to the students and their parents. This is a small school so you get to know your students and their parents on a personal level,” she said.
“I live in Basile and this is where my children go to school so I want to see BHS continue to grow. I also feel a strong connection to our community, and I want to be a part of helping our students grow and reach their goals.”

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