Staff | Junior Achievement of Abilene

Junior Achievement of Abilene LEADERSHIP

Sarah Franz

Sarah Franz – Executive Director

Growing up, I wanted to be an … astronaut.
If I owned a business, it would be … a fine paper goods store. I'm addicted to pretty paper, planners, notebooks and cards!
My favorite quote is … "Find something you are passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it." Julia Child
When I'm not at work, I … am spending time with friends and family, working on a new craft, or curled up on my couch reading a good book and drinking coffee. I also like to travel and use my vacation time to check off places on my travel bucket list!
What I remember most about elementary school is ... art class and my inspiring art teacher who helped develop my creative side from a young age.
If I could have any job for one day, I would want to be … a party planner! I love to coordinate themed parties for friends and family.
I love working at JA because … our volunteers pass on the tools to help children become successful adults. It's amazing to think how our students can one day positively influence our community by using their foundation in economic skills and the lasting memory of a mentor!
Learn more about Sarah …
Originally from Pennsylvania, Sarah moved to Abilene in early 2013 and pursued a career in nonprofit service. Prior to her move, she earned a Bachelor's degree in Urban and Environmental Studies from Temple University (Philadelphia). Her passion lies with tackling social justice issues, particularly in the areas of workforce development, financial literacy, and economic development. Sarah began her career with Junior Achievement in January 2016.
Sarah enjoys spending time with her parents and younger brother who now live in Weatherford, Texas. She is an active member at Hillcrest Church of Christ with her boyfriend John. 

Jeannette Gist

Jeannette Gist – Education Manager

Growing up, I wanted to be an astronaut

My favorite quote is … "When you learn, teach. When you get, give." Dr. Maya Angelou

When I'm not at work, I … love spending time with my family, reading, watching Broadway productions and traveling almost anywhere.

What I remember most about elementary school is ... the dedicated educators and the friendships that endure to this day.
I love working at JA because … I believe in the mission and I love the company culture! 

Learn more about Jeannette …

My greatest joy in life- without a doubt – is my marriage to my high school sweetheart, Randy and our children, 
Bryce, Zack, Bree, Alexa and our son-in-law, Jay. We have four (yes, four) rescue dogs who provide us with endless entertainment and unconditional love. I adore the Abilene area, because it is comprised of some of the most wonderfully generous people who are consistently, demonstratively dedicated to this community and it's children. It absolutely takes my breath away to consider what the people of this community have created and improved, that will benefit this region, for generations to come. I hope to play even a small role in the good work that is going on, in this area through my work here at JA.


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."  -Margaret Mead

My passion is connecting people with the resources that make a sustainable difference in their lives.


I am optimistic that the knowledge and skills I have acquired over the course of my career, as a director of student recruitment, a director of children and family ministries and as a program director in the state's healthy marriage initiative have equipped me to serve in my new role at JA.     

  • "Junior Achievement has given me a sense of what adults go through with budget issues."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "Junior Achievement reinforced concepts for me to remember later in life."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "I thought the experience was amazing. The presentation was unlike anything I've seen."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "I liked how the Junior Achievement volunteer explained his job to us."

    -Junior Achievement Student

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