Louise F. Despres | Secondary School Educator, World Languages | New Canaan High School

Louise DespresWhen Louise F. Despres was young, her mother began giving her French lessons and opened the door to a world of possibilities. She fell in love with the language almost instantaneously; she found it beautiful and compelling. She pursued the subject all through her childhood from home to the classroom, and even then, she wanted to know more. Ms. Despres proceeded to complete coursework at the American School of Music in Fontainebleau, France, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in French from Connecticut College for Women (now Connecticut College) and a Master of Arts in French from Middlebury College in Paris.

Another one of Ms. Despres’ passions was academia. Both her father and her aunt were teachers, and she wanted to find some way to incorporate the field into her career. Language education proved to be the perfect combination. After obtaining certification as a secondary-level French teacher and a Master of Arts in teaching French from Brown University, Ms. Despres set out to make her mark. Her first job in the industry was French teacher at North Haven High School, followed by French teacher in the Foreign Language Elementary Schools Program at High Plains Elementary School and French teacher at New Canaan High School. She really felt at home at New Canaan High School and remained there in positions such as Spanish teacher, Advanced Placement (AP) teacher of French literature, AP French teacher, independent study adviser, International Club adviser, mentor for new teachers, chair of the World Languages Department and substitute teacher until her retirement in 2012.

Civic Involvement:

Co-President, PEO (Philanthropic Educational Organization) Reciprocity Chapter, Williamsburg, VA (2019-2020); Volunteer, Fellowship Committee, Hyde Park Union Church (2017-Present); Housing and Hunger Committee, Williamsburg Presbyterian Church (2015-Present); Volunteer, The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago (2014-Present); Volunteer Lay Reader, New Hyde Park Union Church (2014-Present); Secretary of Board, Hyde Park Transitional Housing Project, Transitional Housing (2016-2018); Volunteer, Workshop Committee, Hyde Park Union Church (2013-2016); Volunteer, Hyde Park/Kenwood Soup Kitchen (2012-2015); Member of Board, A Better Chance, New Canaan, CT (2001-2006); Connecticut Institute for Technology and Learning (1988-1990); Volunteer, Reading for the Blind, New Haven, CT (1969); Volunteer, Developmental Teacher, LEAP, New Haven, CT (1968)

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