Our Founder Linda Clements, Head Coach from 1992-2009
I began my teaching career in 1966 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas where I taught Pysical Education at the high school level. The next year a new junior high school was opened and I had the chance to be the first Physical Education teacher there. There, I began the first public school gymnastics program in the state of Arkansas and that was the beginning of my competitive coaching experience. The woodworking classes built us a balance beam; the PTSA bought us mats, and we started off on an exciting journey.
I worked in public school for seven years, then opened a private gym for the next ten years. I was the only female gymnastics coach in Arkansas for many years. During that time I coached, taught, and directed over 1200 students per month.
In 1986, my family and I moved to Shreveport and I began teaching at Caddo Middle Magnet in 1987. I taught there for five years, starting the first public school gymnastics program in the area. I love teaching at the middle school level.
In the fall of 1992, Vannie and Bobbie Edwards were ready to retire and Vannie asked if I would like to have the position here. I was glad to have more space and equipment than I had in middle school. At that time there were only gymnastics classes taught by Bobbie and Vannie, but not a team.
I wanted to have a platform for students who enjoyed competing, so I started the teams. For a while I was privileged to have Billy Fontaine to work with. He coached the boy’s team and helped me learn about rock climbing. Later, we had another boy’s coach but only for a short time. When he left I was faced with the predicament of either taking on both teams or allowing the boys’ team to fall by the wayside. At the time, we had about 18 guys on the team and they were so motivated that I chose to continue working with them.
I am the proud Mom of two daugthers, both of whom are teachers themselves. Krista, my oldest, is a university professor, and Carlin, my youngest, is a banker, and a former coach for cheer-tumbling. They are both wonderful teachers. Both daughters attended Caddo Magnet. I have four terrific grandchildren also, whom I enjoy being with on weekends.
My hope is to continue the team until I retire from public school teaching. Teaching two levels of boys and three levels of girls is quite a task. I can do it, only because of the level of cooperation given by the teams.
I retired as of June 3, 2009. I loved my years at CMHS and will check on you guys from time to time to make sure you are working hard!