Sunday, October 1, 2023

Q & A with Nicole Boucher, CUSD School Board Candidate

The Coronado Times is conducting short interviews with all candidates for Coronado Unified School District board of trustees. All candidates have received the same six questions and the answers are in their own words; each candidate is invited to share photos; interviews are published in the order received. November 8, 2022 is election day.

Nicole Boucher is running for CUSD school board.
Nicole Boucher is running for CUSD school board.

Q: What experience will you bring to the school board? 

A. As many others, I have spent a lifetime in educational institutions. I have a Finance degree, a bachelor’s and master’s in nursing along with my Nurse Practitioner and Registered Nurse licenses. I attended the Sorbonne in Paris, France to study French law.  As a daughter of a Navy aviator, my family moved to Okinawa, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and California. I had a wonderful childhood, I guess that’s why I’m running. I feel every child deserves to have a wonderful childhood.

As a nurse, education for children, adults, families and our community, is an integral part of the role of a nurse.  

One of the methods we use to reach optimal healing for patients is through our “nursing process model” that is very similar to the “life cycle process” used by computer programmers to automate systems. The life cycle process can be used for any governmental agency, as was used at the Virginia State Corporation Commission where I interned for 3 months as part of my Business (Finance) degree. In the educational system, the LCAP-Local Control and Accountability Plan is its equivalent. 

Basically, it’s a systems approach and is broken down into the following steps: user requirements analysis; model specifications design; system integration/implementation; testing and, most importantly, evaluation. With any issue that arises, as a group, we can: identify the needs; find out what can be done; put action to a plan; determine the results and evaluate their outcomes. 

Q: In your mind, what are the biggest challenges facing CUSD today? 

A: In my mind, we face many challenges ahead due to the period of transition throughout the world. It’s having the foresight into those changes and ability to look ahead and recognize that “Everything is about to change and for the better!” It will be a bumpy ride with the economy, world governments and truths that will be revealed in the coming months. 

CUSD candidate Nicole Bucher shared this video along with her answers:

Anything’s possible when you set your goals high. I imagine a new paradigm is needed and it’s up to us to know what we want. So, I look to you and your families to present new ideas for educational programs and increased learning opportunities in the community. My door will be open for positive interactions to develop strong relationships between us. I want to be Your Voice.

Q: What is something CUSD does well? 

A: Simply put, CUSD is doing many things well, yet there is always room for improvement. The CUSD weathered the turbulent times through the last year or two, but we all have in our private lives. We all have had losses of family members, close friends and relatives. We only do our best with what we know at the time. Over the last year, CUSD listened to six 5th graders who just wanted to be with their friends. Listening is key! There are new  opportunities of growth on the horizon. I am here to stand firm to forge ahead to improve the in-class experiences for students and to listen to parents’ concerns.

Q: How do you feel about local control? 

A: I support local control. Who knows better what is needed than the citizenry of the local environs? It puts you in the driver’s seat! Sacramento has disappointed me with unconscionable bills (i.e., AB-2223 and SB866). Better days are ahead with new leadership and fewer of the lies. I’m here before you today because of the rampant “disconnect” between the politicians and “We the People”. In fact, we all have a duty to participate in local government. So, join me today! 

Q: What is your stance on social-emotional learning? Do you think that teaching children empathy, responsible decision-making and emotional awareness is important in schools? 

A: Social-emotional learning impacts us every day in our daily lives. Of course, it starts with the parents, but it involves teachers, too. One sentence says it all, “Kindness matters!” We never know what someone else is going through, especially in my line of work. I always try to find something positive when talking with patients to relieve their anxiety and sadness. You might say “I’m in the empathy business!” That’s okay, I wear my heart on my sleeve. At the same time, I’m pro-active when I see something needing to be done. I’m  ready to roll up my sleeves, I’m not afraid of hard work.  

In my view, the best way to teach empathy is by showing it, by being a role model. Children don’t always learn from being told something, they learn by social interactions and role-modeling. 

Q: As you must be aware, school board meetings can be contentious, but it’s important for board members to work together. Do you think you are good at building consensus? Please provide an example if possible.

A: In all my years of nursing (20+), each day, to be able to take care of patients, whether in a hospital, clinic or other outpatient setting, we always work as a team. Having the willingness to learn from others, having the respect for differences of opinion and encouraging others to voice their opinion is the best way to build consensus. 

For me, that includes Parents First, they are the ones that need to lead the discussions and/or where the discussions will go. Maybe open forum discussions and easy accessibility to Board members, when issues come up, would be helpful. I have the willingness, respect and encouragement for those who want to come together to resolve problems as they arise in the community. 

As a support person/nurse, every day I find out what my patients need and find out if their needs can be met. If I run into a problem, I will seek other coworkers, doctors and other health care professionals for their recommendations to resolve the problem, in short order and make sure to check on the patient to see how they are doing. Below are two real life stories where this is demonstrated. 

  1. Back in the “Dark Ages” when I was a “newbie” nurse, I had a young mom in her 30s, I was working in Mission Viejo, Mission Hospital on the medical/telemetry floor. I went to her room first because the doctor’s orders said to take hourly vital signs (i.e. blood pressure,  heart rate, etc), which was highly unusual for a regular floor (we usually take them every 4 hours). Welcome to the world of nursing! I found her heart racing over 100 beats a minute at rest (she was lying in bed), temperature was about 103 F and her blood pressure was “bottoming out,” which indicated she was going into shock. I asked  the doctor if we could move her to ICU which he did. I called to ICU to find out how she was doing. They told me she was being life-flighted to UCLA and was going to be put on the heart transplant list. She  survived, her heart revived, and she was taken off the heart transplant list. No man is an “island.” We all need each other. Teamwork and  consensus building saves lives!

If you are interested in another story, read on. 

  1. This time I was working on a local travel assignment in Burbank, CA at St. Joseph’s Hospital on the maternity floor (that was my favorite job ever!) I had another young mom who had delivered her third baby and it was the end of my shift. Like a good nurse, I would medicate my patients for pain (mostly for cramping) at 6:30pm before giving report and going home. My patient called and said she had jaw pain. As a heart trained nurse, I went into the ACLS (Advanced Life Saving) algorithm, and within an hour, we had a cardiologist at the bedside. She was then transported to the cath lab for a procedure and then to ICU. They found a possibly fatal dissecting coronary artery, but they were able to save her life. The next day I went to see her, she was doing great! She took it all in her stride! I like happy endings.



Christine Van Tuyl
Christine Van Tuyl
Christine was born and raised in Texas, but moved to Coronado with her family as a teen in 1993. Although initially horrified by surfers, flannels and skateboards, she ultimately grew to love all things So-Cal. A graduate of UCSD, Christine got her first writing job on the KUSI ten o’clock news while simultaneously juggling a reporter position at the San Diego Community News Group. She worked as a public relations professional, a book editor, real estate professional, and a freelance writer before eventually succumbing to motherhood in 2008.A decade later, Christine resurfaced to start the Island Girl Blog, a Coronado lifestyle blog. In addition, she writes a monthly page for Crown City Magazine. Christine loves hanging out with her husband, Ian, and their two spirited daughters, Holland and Marley, who attend Village Elementary and Coronado Middle School. When she’s not working, you’ll find her practicing yoga, spilling coffee at school drop off, meeting friends for sushi, or sailing the Bay with her family and English Bulldog, Moshi. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]