Former New Hampshire 'Teacher of the Year' Nominee Admits to Sexually Assaulting 18-Year-Old Student

Bridgette Doucette-Howell
Bridgette Doucette-Howell Facebook

A New Hampshire teacher of the year finalist pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexual assault charges involving a student at a school where she worked.

Former Sanborn Regional High School teacher Bridgette Doucette-Howell, 40, admitted sexually assaulting an 18-year-old student in 2021.

The case involves a relatively new law in which the age of the victim isn't a factor, even if the student is an adult. The law was intended to hold accountable those in power around school-age children.

As part of her guilty plea, Doucette-Howell must stay away from anyone under 18 except her children and must register as a sex offender.

She was sentenced to 12 months at the House of Corrections. She will spend 14 days there and then be assessed for at-home confinement. If she follows the court-mandated conditions, the five-to-ten-year sentence will be suspended.

Doucette-Howell was accused of having sex with the 18-year-old student on two occasions in April and May 2021. On a third occasion in May, she kissed the student at the school. District Superintendent Thomas Ambrose told WMUR that Doucette-Howell was working an extracurricular activity drama coach at the time.

Doucette-Howell was one of 8 finalists for Teacher of the Year award in 2015, according to the New Hampshire Department of Education. She was teaching history and social studies at the Regional Services and Education Center in Amherst at the time.