Editor’s note: This is the latest in a Spokesman-Review series on longtime teachers who are retiring.
Keven Frandsen may be the closest thing to a Renaissance educator the Central Valley School District has ever seen.
Who else can claim to have taught martial arts, driver’s education, guitar and math and coached a state championship track team before going on to a career as an administrator?
Now, Frandsen is retiring as principal of his alma mater, University High School .
“I’m excited about that new chapter,” said Frandsen, who plans to volunteer in the community and get going on the proverbial honey do list. “But if the last list gets too long …”
Frandsen didn’t finish the sentence, but it’s a good bet he’ll find a new adventure in retirement after 36 years with the Central Valley School District.
Frandsen graduated from U-Hi in 1978. The 1967 U-Hi yearbook shows an 8-year-old bat for the Titan baseball team.
He later made his own headlines as a Titan, playing football, basketball and running track.
After running hurdles at the Community Colleges of Spokane and Eastern Washington University, Frandsen worked in the health club industry for several years.
He was eventually pulled back home, however, first as a coach and later as a traffic safety teacher. After several years of subbing and teaching traffic safety, he was hired full time in 1992.
In a career that also took him to Central Valley and Barker high schools, Frandsen did it all, teaching self-defense and physical education. He also was coordinator of student services and athletic coordinator.
“Self-defense, that was a real popular class,” he said. “It was great helping kids learn how defend themselves.”
The guitar classes were another matter. Frandsen had no music degree, “but I’d been playing since I was 12.”
But in teaching those disparate fields of music, math and self-defense, Frandsen found the commonality of “seeing growth in the kids to see them reach their ultimate potential.”
“The only way to do that is by reaching them individually,” Frandsen said.
Frandsen also coached the Titans to back-to-back state track titles in 1998 and 1999.
“That was quite a proud moment for everyone,” Frandsen said.
Hired as U-Hi’s assistant principal in 2008, Frandsen said he was committed to rebuilding a culture of “learning and trust.”
Frandsen, promoted to principal in 2014, has seen the school through the recent challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This senior class I will miss, they’ve been through a lot,” Frandsen said. “I really value in our community and our people.”
Frandsen’s contribution hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“I have known Keven for 14 years, and I know of no one who is more committed to the success of students,” Superintendent Ben Small said. “Keven had a way of working through difficult situations with people and although not always in agreement, Keven made people feel valued and supported.”