Franklin County Elementary Principal Dies of Coronavirus Complications

Photo Courtesy of Franklin County, TN School District

Franklin County, TN – A Franklin County elementary school principal lost his life to Covid-19 on December 14.

George P. Butler, was a Franklin County native who spent almost fifty years working in the school system. The 73 year old principal was the longest serving employee, and the only principal that North Lake Elementary ever had.

He began work in the school system as a teacher in 1971, and became North Lake’s principal when they first opened their doors during the 1991-1992 school year. Butler passed away on December 14 due to complications of Covid-19.

The Franklin County Board of Education posted a statement to their website that said, “This is a tremendous loss for the students and staff of Franklin County Schools; he will be fondly remembered and missed as a true professional educator dedicated to meeting the needs of the students.”

The statement went on to say, “Mr. Butler was a friend and mentor to many teachers and administrators.”

Butler also had a twin brother named John who worked in the school system, and his daughter, Lynde Davis, is currently working as a Franklin County teacher. Stanley Bean, the Franklin County director of schools, says he knew Butler when he first started teaching in the 70s.

Bean sent out an email where he said, “I worked and coached with his twin brother, John. They were both excellent with children and helped many students during their time as teachers and administrators. This is very heartbreaking on the entire school system. He will be missed.”

Chris Guess, a member of the Franklin County school board, got to have Butler as a teacher when he was in fifth grade. Guess said that the passing of his former teacher is “a tremendous loss,” for the school system. He said Butler was always a big fan of aerospace and loved teaching about space travel and Neil Armstrong.

Guess said, “We’re going to miss our friend and we’re going to miss the quality educator that he was. It’s just hard to find them like him. Everybody that I know that knew George held him in the highest regard, and we’re going to miss him.”

However, it was not just school board members who expressed their fondness of Butler. Many former students of his, as well as residents of Franklin County, went online to share how he will be missed.

Katie Heath Benson, a former student, went to the school board’s website to post, “Mr. Butler was my 6th grade teacher. I look back at that year and marvel at the job he did.”

In May of 2019, Butler appeared in the local newspaper, the Herald-Chronicle, to answer questions about his long-time career in education. He talked about how his past teachers influenced him to be an educator, and how much he cherished each moment with his students.

In the piece, he said, “The one thing I hope to be remembered for is that I made a difference in the profession and in the lives of students. And, to quote Winston Churchill, ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.'”

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