Mary Frank Yates, beloved teacher for 40 years passed away on September 23, 2020, at the age of 69. Before starting her career at Rabun Gap in 1973, Mary Frank Yates received a B.S. in mathematics from Mars Hill University and an M.S. in mathematics education from the University of North Georgia. She retired in 2013 after a career that spanned four decades and countless memories. She was inducted into the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019 for her years of service as a cheerleading sponsor, basketball scorekeeper and announcer, and overall Rabun Gap’s most loyal fan.
An educator with many talents, she was most known for her kindness and compassion in the classroom and for being the voice of Rabun Gap athletics. As the school’s courtside commentator and scorekeeper, Ms. Yates was a constant presence at games. As coaches and athletes came and went, she motivated and inspired hundreds of Rabun Gap athletes season after season. In the classroom, Ms. Yates was known for her patience and her deep desire to help students succeed. Longtime friend and colleague, Dianne Burts, said Ms. Yates “understood that students need a variety of teaching methods tempered with compassion and a good dose of humor.” There was no one quite as compassionate as Mary Frank Yates. Another longtime friend and beloved faculty member, the late Dess Oliver, was quoted saying “Mary Frank is perhaps the best math teacher we’ve ever had. She always finds a way to make her students successful while keeping their self-esteem intact.”
Ms. Yates was often overheard telling new faculty members that “Rabun Gap gets in your blood.” She committed her life’s work to her students and to the community of Rabun Gap. Even after her retirement, she returned to campus at least twice a year for Homecoming and Graduation. She wanted to see each and every one of her middle school math students graduate saying, “I come back each year because I have to see my kids graduate.” We are forever grateful Ms. Yates chose to bestow her wisdom on Rabun Gap. Her legacy is one we will continue to honor and hold dear.
Plans are underway to honor the life and legacy of Mary Frank Yates at a special scheduled alumni weekend in May. To make a gift in memory of Ms. Yates, please click here.
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School is a private, coeducational day and boarding school for grades Pre-K through 12. Centrally located between Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, and Asheville, NC, we prepare young people for college, career, and a lifetime of leadership and service.