NEWS

Alan Boucher looks back and ahead

John Pulliam & Cala Smoldt

The Sherrard District 200 Board of Education voted Thursday (Aug. 27) to hire Alan Boucher as its new superintendent. He will begin Oct. 1 with a salary of just over $165,000. He leaves Mercer County schools where he served for nine years as superintendent.

“I think Alan understands our district and he understands where we’re at today, and where we’d like to be. We’re very excited that Alan will bring some expertise to our district,” board president Leslie Anderson said.

Former Sherrard Superintendent Samuel P. Light resigned Aug. 2, to become a school superintendent in Lincoln County, Ga.

Just hours before the Sherrard board was to vote on hiring him, Boucher talked about his nine years at Mercer County District 404.

"The main thing that comes to mind is consolidation," Boucher said of the joining of the Aledo and Westmer school districts. "That was a very historical time for our communities."

The consolidation was approved by voters in both districts in November 2008, with Mercer County District 404 beginning operations during the 2009-2010 school year.

While noting it took a lot of work, Boucher said it was worth it as the foundation was laid for a successful new district.

"Also the passage of the sales tax referendum was another highlight," he said. "Keeping our budget in the black and building our cash reserves by $3.4 million was also another positive outcome."

Boucher was quick to give credit to all the people involved.

"The thing I would like to emphasize is scores of people worked together to make our district what it is today," he said. "Our district is in a very good condition right now and there's no reason to believe it won't thrive in future years."

Not only are the district's finances in good shape, he noted it "has an excellent fine arts program and a very strong athletic program. Our high school curriculum is very strong and includes dual credit courses (college credit for high school courses) and advance placement classes."

Boucher said such programs give students a chance to explore many options as they decide what career path to pursue after high school.

"Our buildings are in good repair and we have a 10-year facility plan to renovate and improve the buildings," he said.

The superintendent expressed his appreciation for community support for the Mercer County district.

"Our community truly roots for the success of the school district," he said, noting communities in other districts at times have more of an adversarial relationship with their schools.

Boucher is no stranger to Sherrard schools. He worked there from 1998 to 2006, serving as an elementary building principal, curriculum director and transportation director.

"I also know the Sherrard community as amazing, as well," he said. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity to reacquaint myself with the people and programs there.

"I'm deeply appreciative of the community that gave me the chance nine years ago to be a superintendent," he continued. "I had no experience as superintendent, but they still believed in me and gave me a shot. I'm