By Megan Doyle ’18
While Fran Evan is technically the paraprofessional for the English and social studies departments, in the Staples community, she serves as so much more. Writer, artist and British history enthusiast are all ways to describe Evan.
Evan has enjoyed the past 13 years, especially since the job’s requirements and expectations have developed and changed.
At first, “It was very regimented and limited,” Evan said. “But as the years have progressed, there’s been more demand for me to learn new skills and more responsibility, which I have really enjoyed.”
Evan also had a desire to do more than just sit at her desk all day. She wanted to be in the classrooms teaching. So, one aspect of her job consists of popping into the occasional AP Euro or English class and presenting on British history. She provides “her content expertise to our teachers,” Lauren Francese, the social studies department head, said.
Evan’s expertise on Britain is partially based on the fact that she was born in England. As a child, her parents took her to many palaces, castles and other important monuments in England, which helped develop her lifelong love for British history.
After moving to the United States when she was 13, she still longed for England. It took her quite a while to get accustomed to the new country.
“I never really got 100 percent over it; I’m still connected to all things British. My ears perk up when I hear anything about Britain, the royal family, Brexit, or anything going on over there,” Evan said.
In David Willick’s AP Euro class, Evan presents twice a year: once on the English Tudor Monarchs, and again on Guy Fawkes day. He includes these lessons to provide the students with a different voice and story.
“The kids like her because she is very excited about the topics, and she has a British accent which gives her a lot of authority and credibility,” Willick said.
Alex McMahon ’17, one of the students who Evan has taught, agrees that her lessons are lively and interesting.
“She was really excited about it, so it was really engaging,” McMahon said. “She knew all the details about what these people might’ve been like, and she told it like she knew them.”
In addition to her extensive knowledge on British history, Evan contributes to the Staples community through her writing skills. She has a published book, called “The Forgotten Flag: Revolutionary Struggle in Connecticut”
Her book is historical fiction written for fifth and sixth graders, and provides information about the Revolutionary war in Fairfield, Connecticut.
But after so many years of service, Evan says this will be her last year at Staples. Much to the social studies and English teachers’ dismay, Evan will be retiring.
“I’m trying not to think about her retirement because it makes me very sad,” Francese said.
Evan says she will miss Staples, but she is looking forward to furthering her artistic pursuits and plans to continue working on her next book.
“From the moment I started working here, I felt welcomed, I felt at home, I felt comfortable,” Evan said. “Everyone treats me with great respect. Everyone is kind to me. I must say, I’ve not had a bad day in my 13 years of working here.”