Bednarcik Junior High
Bednarcik Bulldogs might be competitive...but they honor the importance of teamwork! The school’s theme Together We ...Believe, Unite, Laugh, Learn, Dream, Overcome, Grow, Succeed, spelling out Bulldogs, is ingrained in the culture of the school and its leaders. John Francis serves at the head of the bulldog pack at Bednarcik, assisted by Chanel Keyvan. Walking through the halls of Bednarcik you’ll find students eager to share their accomplishments with Mr. Francis and Ms. Keyvan, who know the names and faces of their students, and take time to learn about them. The students love that their leaders are so energetic, motivational and fun!
Little did his 7th grade classmates know that the same John Francis who fell down the stairs and broke his arm the day he was supposed to play his first solo, would grow up to be a junior high principal! Having survived the sometimes awkward junior high phase himself, Mr. Francis is inspired to help students find a voice, and navigate all that life brings as they strive to overcome academic, social and personal challenges. Coming from a divorced home, and living in a small apartment with an older sibling and newborn niece, Mr. Frances learned early-on the importance of relationships and the positive impact that a person can make in the lives of others.
Mr. Francis is the Bednarcik Principal, his wife is a teacher, and he has two children attending SD 308 schools; with such an invested interest, his biggest challenge is to balance personal and professional responsibilities, because he could just spend all day at school!
Besides a year of substitute teaching after college, Mr. Francis has spent his entire career with Oswego Community Unit School District 308: 14 years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. While it wasn’t always his plan to stay here, hoping to return to Madison where he went to University of Wisconsin, Mr. Francis has stayed long enough to establish his roots in our community, and has since completed his masters degree with Concordia University.
Ms. Keyvan is in her inaugural year as the Bednarcik Assistant Principal; however she has known since preschool that it was her life’s mission to become an educator. She describes education as the most rewarding profession, because of the relationships developed with students and staff. She finds that being an administrator allows her to truly work towards eliminating barriers that impede a student’s access to educational opportunities. Being her first year outside a classroom, she also misses teaching and having daily interactions with students in her class, so she can be found popping into classrooms and engaging in the halls with students.
While Ms. Keyvan no longer spends her time writing rap songs, like she did while attending college at the University of Illinois and North Central College, she does love spending time in this community, where she was born and raised. She knows what it is like to be part of the system, work in the system, and now has the opportunity to be part of improving the system. This OHS Panther Alum has spent seven years teaching in the same district she calls home, and looks forward to continuing to serve her community in her new role as AP at Bednarcik.
Bednarcik is one of five junior high schools in SD 308, the only in Aurora. The school houses the district’s SKILLS program, for students with emotional disabilities, 76 staff members and 702 students at Bednarcik. The school has many clubs and organizations, sports, art and music programs. They promote positivity with monthly and annual recognition for students and staff. The school operates on several values and expectations, including student growth academically and personally, quality relationships, supporting student success, informed and intentional decision making, and keeping school a safe place.