Their letter was selected by representatives of EFCO, a Pella Corporation, which sponsors the monthly teacher recognition program in partnership with The Monett Times. Bouchard, who teaches at Monett Intermediate School, was named Teacher of the Month for November during a ceremony in her room full of students who clapped and cheered.
Becky Stephens, EFCO training specialist, presented Bouchard with a plaque and a check for $250 that she can use for her classroom. When Bouchard waved the check proudly, her students answered, "New books, yeah."
Bouchard was very gracious in accepting her award.
"This means so much to me," said Bouchard, who has been teaching in Monett for the last 19 years. "There are those days when I teach my heart out and then wonder if my students even noticed I was there. Now I know my presence and knowledge has not only been noticed, but appreciated. Receiving this award means my students love me as much as I love them."
Bouchard currently teaches Monett's fifth and sixth grade special education students. She said she loves when the "light bulb" comes on for her students and they gain a new understanding of the subjects they are studying.
Teaching special education has always been a passion for Bouchard, and she has taught her "special students" for 19 years.
"I was working in the junior church section of my church, and there were a couple of children with special needs there," said Bouchard. "I found my love for them right then and there."
That interest motivated Bouchard to earn a bachelors degree in special education from Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, now Missouri State University.
When Bouchard is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her grandson, Zach.
"I also love to read," said Bouchard. "I can get completely lost in a good book."
The Monett Times is always accepting nominations for Teacher of the Month. Nomination letters can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or dropped off at area school offices.
Any public or private school teacher in Monett, Purdy, Verona, Pierce City or Freistatt is eligible for the award. Nominations can be made by students, parents or fellow educators.