This spring, University of Arizona Athletics will continue their tradition honoring a local grade school teacher in southern Arizona as their 2024 Teacher of the Year.

Good Morning Tucson is introducing you to the nominees this year, including Abigail Francis.

She’s the one leading the bands — plural — at Mountain View High School.

“Jazz band, symphonic band, wind ensemble, concert band, and percussion,” Francis listed off. “And that’s just during the school day. After school we have three different extra curricular groups so, it’s a lot!”

Talk about keeping time… but her dedication goes far beyond notes on a page.

“I really try and give the kids the experience that I want them to have,” Francis explained. “In high school, it’s all about the kids enjoying their time in music, and being able to create a community. And then from there, everything else comes a lot easier, like the music and working together.”

Principal Delia McCraley says she nominated Ms. Francis for her hard work in and out of the classroom. Beyond the music, she says Francis has become a school leader. She even created a new policy that has led to a 5% jump in student attendance in the last year.

For the kids, who affectionately call her “Fran-dog,” the band has become so much more than a class.

“She’s amazing,” said senior Emma Larcher. “She has really inspired me personally and I know a lot of the other students here. She just helps us learn and grow musically, but also, she’s just my friend. She helps us feel comfortable and gives us a safe place and community to come to at school.”

Laying the foundation for students to keep climbing those scales to success.

“I feel like under my direction the band has really improved,” Francis said. “And I think here at Mountain View we have something really special. The kids are super motivated. They are always looking for different opportunities to improve and succeed.”

The University of Arizona will announce their teacher of the year at their home game on March 2nd.