Dr. John A. Bertrand
Inducted on January 15, 2011
Dr. John Avery Bertrand, born October 27, 1925, in Corsicana, Texas, moved to Acadia Parish as an infant. He attended schools in Acadia Parish and graduated from Iota High School in 1942 at the age of 16. At the age of 17 he joined the U. S. Coast Guard during World War II and served in the South Pacific.
On June 1, 1946, he married his highschool sweetheart, Ella, and they had four children: Linda, Darlene, Angela, and Ronald who died in 2006.
Dr. Bertrand received a B.S. from SLI (now ULL) , an M.S. from LSU, and a PhD from the University of Texas.
After three years of teaching, he became principal of Starks High School in Calcasieu Parish, then transferred to College Oaks Elementary and, later, to Forrest K. White, Jr. High School. In June, 1965, he became Superintendent of Acadia Parish schools and remained in this position for 19 years when he retired in June of 1984.
In 1983, Dr. Bertrand was elected to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) seat from the 7th Congressional District and remained there for 16 years. He served three consecutive terms as president and several years as chairman of the Teacher Certification and Vocational Education Committees.
Dr. Bertrand was active in civic and church affairs, serving as president of the Crowley Chamber of Commerce, member of the Crowley Kiwanis Club, member of the Board of Directors of the Crowley Rice Festival, Grand Knight of Knights of Columbus council 4562, lector at St. Michael Catholic Church, President of District and State Superintendents Association, and president of CODOFIL. After the death of James Domengeaux, Bertrand was credited with moving CODOFIL forward. He was a huge promoter and supporter of studying the French language in all Louisiana schools. Bertrand remains a great promoter of the French Immersion program in the state of Louisiana.
As a promoter of the French language and culture, Dr. Bertrand has received many awards and honors from the French, Belgian and Canadian governments.
Upon his retirement as president of CODOFIL, Dr. Bertrand recommended that Warren Perrin be appointed to replace him, and this was approved by former Governor Edwin Edwards.
Dr. Bertrand and his wife enjoy traveling to many parts of the world and they have visited all 50 states.