Papa Joe Francis moved to California in 1951, where he started his career with Downey Unified School District. He worked at North Junior High from 1951 to 1956 and then in 1957 he transferred to Warren High School as the Activities Director until he retired in 1988.

He loved working with kids especially with Student Council. Some of his favorite activities were the Prom,
Homecoming and of course the all-night party for seniors at Disneyland! Sometimes he had more fun than the students themselves!

During his time at Warren, the students nicknamed him Papa Joe, which stuck throughout his career. He loved teaching because he loved working with kids and had a special knack for helping kids especially when they were in trouble. He had a comforting and consoling way about him that kids were drawn to.