Local Educator, Political Commentator Retiring

December 20, 2016
John Frank taught at CVTC for 28 years
Eau Claire, WI – Teaching 22 different subject matter courses to approximately 12,000 students over a 28-year career is enough to make John Frank pretty well known to people in the Chippewa Valley. But he is recognized by most people as the frequent political commentator on local television stations and in local newspapers.
Frank plans to continue serving the public with his commentary as long as local media seek him out, but he officially retired as an instructor at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) in December. His dedication to teaching, to the law, and to any endeavor he undertakes is legendary. He retires never having taken a sick day from any job in his life.
“The time is right,” Frank said. “I’ll be 65 in March. I will miss it every day, but there comes a time when the time is right. I’m not worn out, but I’m getting up there in years.”
A native of the Eau Claire area, Frank says his great grandparents settled here right after the Civil War. He attended UW-Eau Claire, earning his bachelor’s degree in political science and economics, then earned his law degree from UW-Madison in 1977. Frank began practicing law, but also began his teaching career at the UW-Madison Law School. His association with CVTC started in 1978, when he helped launch a Legal Assistant program that later became a Paralegal program. He has also taught at UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stout and Lakeland College.
“The fact that John Frank taught in our Paralegal program added to our credibility,” said CVTC President Bruce Barker.
Frank has received numerous teaching awards, including CVTC’s highest honor, the Fuerstenberg Teaching Excellence Award, in 2011.
“I always tell my students to choose your career so that every day you’re able to jump out of bed and say, ‘Isn’t this a wonderful day to go to work?’ ” Frank said. “There hasn’t been a day for me at CVTC for which that hasn’t been true.”
Frank has also had a distinguished career in law and politics. He has continually practiced law throughout his career. He has managed over 20 political campaigns, served as chief of staff for Congressman Steve Gunderson from 1981-89, and was deputy chief counsel/deputy minority counsel for the House Committee on Agriculture from 1993-97.
In a letter congratulating Frank on his retirement, Gunderson wrote, “The nation’s most elite liberal arts colleges would have been so lucky to have you on their faculty, but you chose to provide that service here, at home in western Wisconsin.”
Frank’s political background led him to become a regular political analyst for WEAU-TV in Eau Claire since 1998, and he is often sought out by other news media as well. Frank receives no pay for his commentary work. “It has always been a volunteer relationship I’ve had with them. If they want me to continue providing that service for the community, I will do so,” he said.
Frank is not making any big post-retirement plans.
“I’m going to take one year and work around the house and sort through 35 years of political and educational materials I have accumulated, then I’ll take time to figure out what’s next.”
Chippewa Valley Technical College delivers superior, progressive technical education which improves the lives of students, meets the workforce needs of the region, and strengthens the larger community. Campuses are located in Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Menomonie, Neillsville and River Falls. CVTC serves an 11-county area in west central Wisconsin. CVTC is part of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and is one of 16 WTCS colleges located throughout the state.
Mark Gunderman, Communications Specialist
mgunderman1@cvtc.edu, (715) 831-7288