Bristol Public Schools name Paraeducator of the Year

Published on Thursday, 23 June 2022 12:10
Written by Dean Wright


BRISTOL – Edith Saucier of Bristol Central High School was recently named the Bristol Public Schools Paraeducator of the Year at the latest school board meeting for her continued excellence in supporting student development.

 BPS Director of Teaching and Learning Carly Fortin noted the award is named in honor of Paraeducator Anne Marie Murphy who lost her life at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Saucier was chosen from among 24 nominating applications.

“Paraeducators bring immeasurable value to each classroom. They provide one-on-one assistance to students with disabilities, help manage classroom activities, communicate with families and lead small group instruction,” said Fortin. 

Saucier has done all this and more, said Fortin. She’s been a paraeducator for 24 years in the district.

Fortin said she felt there was a theme that ran through Saucier’s nomination interview and that she wanted students to feel seen, heard and valued.

“Mrs. Saucier strives to make the individuals with whom she works, both students and fellow educators, feel valued and important,” she said. 

“In her interview, Mrs. Saucier shared that she has seen the role of the paraeducator shift,” Fortin continued. “When she began over 20 years ago, many paraeducators would define themselves as just a paraeducator, almost invisible members of the school community. And now, she wants paraeducators to be seen as the vital part of the team they are. . .”

Because paraeducators are being seen as important parts of the teaching team of students and because of the teamwork done, the students they serve are being heard and valued more, the director shared.

Saucier said she was “beyond honored” to represent the district’s paraeducators and felt that any of them could be standing before the board. She shared that when she was working in the 1990s an individual had told her that it didn’t take a “rocket scientist” to be a paraeducator. 

“Those words stung a little bit, but in reality, that’s what it was. Most people saw us as moms trying to make a quick buck while the kids were at school. Fortunately, that has changed tremendously,” said Saucier. 

Over the last dozen years, she felt she had seen a variety of changes and she was appreciative of them. 

“We’ve been given the opportunity to do more trainings,” said Saucier. “Now, at the trainings, we can see the difficulties that some of these students have, whether it’s in school or at home. With the trainings, we know that we’re helping them in the proper way. We’re given the proper attention and we’re not making their situation worse.”

The Paraeducator of the Year said she takes advantage of all training opportunities she can.

 “No, we’re not rocket scientists,” said Saucier. “We’re a little more than that because we need to have patience, compassion, caring, because what we’re creating, or attempting to create, is (a student’s) future, and that’s more important than anything in the world.”

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Thursday, 23 June 2022 12:10. Updated: Thursday, 23 June 2022 12:12.