With 45 years of experience in academia to her credit, Louise Fay Despres is a pronounced secondary school educator whose influence in the field is unmatched. Serving New Canaan High School in Connecticut for 42 years, she was first hired as a French teacher, a role she held until 2011. During her tenure, she also served as a Spanish teacher from 1979 to 2007, an Advanced Placement teacher of French literature from 1980 to 1996, an advisor to the International Club from 1986 to 1987 and an independent study advisor from 1990 to 2003. In the latter stages of her career, she also excelled as chair of independent study, a mentor to new teachers, an Advanced Placement teacher of French, chair of the Department of World Languages and a member of the Advanced Placement review committee. Stepping down from her full-time language roles, she began serving as a substitute teacher of French, comparative literature and Spanish from 2011 until her retirement in 2012.
Most notably, Ms. Despres was certified as a secondary level Spanish teacher and secondary level French teacher in the State of Connecticut. At the inception of her career in 1967, she flourished as a French teacher at North Haven High School in North Haven, Connecticut, for two years before serving as a French teacher at the High Plains Elementary School in Orange, Connecticut, for one year.
Possessing a love for teaching since her formative years, Ms. Despres was taught the French language by her mother before she enrolled in French courses in school. Drawing upon inspiration from her father and aunt, who were both teachers, she subsequently loved the French language so much that she decided to pursue a career in teaching French. She cites a highlight of her career to be teaching Advanced Placement French, a college-level course for high school students, for more than 30 years.
Alongside her primary vocation, Ms. Despres has engaged in numerous organizations, such as the University of Chicago Service League, for whom she has served as chair of game groups since 2013. Likewise, she is a member of the PEO Sisterhood, where she previously served as president of Chapter BQ in Williamsburg, Virginia, for two years and president of Chapter B in Westport, Connecticut, between 1999 and 2001 and again from 2011 to 2012. Affiliated with PEO since 1999, Ms. Despres also served the sisterhood as chair of the International Peace Scholarship, recording secretary and chair of the Star Scholarship. Furthermore, she is a past member of the American Association of Teachers of French and the Connecticut Organization of Language Teachers.
Lending her expertise to several other endeavors as well, Ms. Despres was also a substitute teacher of Spanish at Saxe Middle School, for whom she also served as a substitute proctor for the Connecticut Academic Performance Test, host of a professional workshop, teacher of Eighth Grade Night and summer school teacher. She is a former high school teacher liaison for AFS-USA, Inc., and was elected a fellow of the Higher Education Act at Brown University from 1966 to 1967. Impressively, she was also elected a fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1983.
Accruing myriad accolades over her longstanding career, Ms. Despres enjoys music, theater, reading, traveling and photography in her spare time. Married to her husband, Robert, since 1974, she is the proud mother of one son, Frederick. Looking toward the future, she intends to volunteer in her local community of Williamsburg, Virginia.