Bouchard takes Chuckatuck seat on board

Published 8:51 pm Saturday, January 15, 2011

Linda Bouchard is eager to make a difference in Suffolk Public Schools.

The new School Board member is a retired teacher with more than 23 years of experience, 20 of which were with Suffolk Public Schools. She retired from her teaching position in June of 2010 for health reasons, but she was inspired by friends and family to run to represent the Chuckatuck borough on the School Board.


Her journey to becoming a School Board member began when friend and co-worker, Pat Pretlow, asked Bouchard what she would do when she retired.


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Bouchard joked about sleeping in, but Pretlow asked Bouchard to run for the position of school board. She said she knew Bouchard would have the best interests of teachers in mind and could use her teaching experience to serve the school system.

Bouchard’s husband, David, offered her similar encouragement.

“I thought about it,” Bouchard said. “Why should I complain about the things I don’t like? Now I have an opportunity to do something about it.”

Bouchard graduated from Randolph Macon Woman’s College in 1970 and began her teaching career in Spain in the early ‘70s at the American School of Las Palamas.

“I never dreamed about being a teacher,” she said, explaining that money was tight when she and her husband lived in Spain. “We needed a way to stay there. The job literally fell out of the sky.”

Bouchard taught for three years in Spain before taking time off to spend with her three children, Alexis, Ana, and Julian.

After Bouchard and her husband returned to the United States, she began earning her teaching certification through Old Dominion University.

She was hired by Suffolk Public Schools in 1990 to be an itinerant Spanish teacher. Bouchard has taught students at Forest Glen Middle, John F. Kennedy Middle, John Yeates Middle and Lakeland High schools. She finished her career as a full-time classroom teacher at John Yeates Middle School.

Bouchard genuinely enjoyed teaching her Suffolk students.

“I brought all of my history into the Spanish classroom,” she said.

As a School Board member, Bouchard said she wants to do all that she can to support teachers and help students.

“I am not going to make one decision on that board without first asking myself, ‘Is this what’s good for the kids?’” Bouchard said. “This is an excellent opportunity for me to do something for my city. This is a contribution I can make because I’ve been a teacher. I have experience to bring to the board.”

Bouchard hopes to do all she can to support Suffolk Public Schools leadership and build positive relationships between the city and the School Board.

“I would like to do my part as one of seven members of the School Board to help bring an honest cooperation between the School Board and City Council. I want all of us to work together for the benefit of our city,” Bouchard said. “We need to work openly and honestly with the City Council in order to be able to finally build the much needed elementary school. That’s a major goal.”

“I want to do whatever I can to ensure the success of our new superintendent,” Bouchard said. “It’s a big, big job that he’s doing.”

“We’re on the precipice of becoming a major school system,” said Bouchard. “It’s becoming more important that School Board members be well informed, very professional and ready to work on a higher level.”