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Why Framingham elementary teacher Colleen Gazard knew it was time to retire


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FRAMINGHAM – After 34 years teaching at Dunning Elementary School, Colleen Gazard was searching for a sign that she was ready to retire.

It came last fall.

Isaac Ouellette, an 8-year-old boy who moved to Framingham from Los Angeles, is among her second-graders this year. Isaac is a coincidental bookend to her decades-long teaching career. Back in 1988, her first year at the school, she had taught her father, Michael Ouellette.

“It just came full circle for me,” said Gazard, who lives in Ashland. “And I said, ‘OK, it’s my time.’”


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Michael Ouellette, now 40, grew up in Framingham and also went to Walsh Middle School and Framingham High School. He later moved to California to work in film and television, before returning to Massachusetts for a position at Boston University.

When he learned his son’s classroom placement, he said the name was familiar but could not place it, as he’d known Gazard by her maiden name then.

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