Barbara Zá Franks has been a full-time educator for the past 15 years. Born and raised in Grand Bahama, The Bahamas, Barbara began her early career as a music teacher in George Town, Exuma. In 2007, she founded Exuma’s first after-school performing arts and extracurricular academy – Center Stage Performing Arts Studio – which grew to become a significant influencer in performing arts throughout the island. During this time, Barbara introduced music, dance, and drama education to the children and adults of Exuma. This led to numerous student and studio
accomplishments, including achievements in the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music piano and music theory examinations and the title of National Dance Champions in The Bahamas’ National Arts Festival. In addition to working with her Center Stage students, Barbara founded several charitable and community efforts, including an adolescent and adult folk-dance troupe recruited to perform at local and national events in addition to Exuma’s First Debutante and Beautillion Ball – a 12-week program designed to formally introduce high school students to society.
In 2011, Barbara relocated to Shanghai, China, to pursue her graduate degree in education while simultaneously teaching abroad. From 2011 to 2016, she served as a primary school English and Social Studies teacher at Shanghai Pinghe Bilingual School. During this time, she was also instrumental in fostering a culture of continuing education for teachers and took initial responsibility for facilitating professional development in- service training for local and expatriate faculty members.
Following her tenure at Pinghe School, Barbara returned to her entrepreneurial ventures in 2016 and established her second start-up – Shanghai D.R.E.A.M. (Developing Real-world Educational Experiences for All- Encompassing Minds). Through her Shanghai D.R.E.A.M. company, Barbara offered curriculum development, teacher training, and school improvement consulting services to K-12 schools, training centers, and universities throughout China.
In 2019, Barbara was invited to join an American high school management company – KnowledgeLink (KL) – as Academic Dean. Since that time, she has served in several capacities at KL, including Dean of Faculty, International High School Principal, and Regional Dean (District Superintendent). In 2021, Barbara was appointed as Chief Academic Officer of KL, where she continues to serve as academic advisor to the CEO and sits on the executive leadership team.
As an educator, Barbara values the dispositions of scholarship, diversity, equity, lifelong learning, ethics, and most of all, excellence. She is committed to making a positive impact by inspiring teachers to provide high- quality instruction, teaching students using the best evidence-based strategies, and developing curricula and educational programs that provide practical and theoretical learning opportunities within a 21st-century real- world context. She knows and values the importance of an excellent education and, therefore, is dedicated to making contributions toward an institution’s vision and mission so that, in the end, all students achieve high levels of success.
Barbara Zá Franks has a Bachelor’s degree (B.A.) in International Relations from Lynn University in Florida and a Master’s of Education degree (M.Ed.) in Educational Leadership from American College of Education in Indiana. In addition, she holds an Elementary Teaching Certification and K-12 School Administrator Credential from Washington, D.C. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Educational Leadership at her graduate alma mater, American College of Education. In addition to her professional and scholarly endeavors, Barbara offers her international education expertise in various consulting capacities to learning institutions worldwide.