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Beyond the Classroom: Patricia Evans Koch, 9th District Court Judge


Taken from Alexandria, Louisiana newspaper The Town Talk:
Beyond the Classroom: Patricia Evans Koch, 9th District Court judge
Patricia Evans Koch
Age: 49
Native of: Desoto Parish
Occupation: 9th Judicial District Court Judge
Background: Koch graduated from Mansville High School in 1978 and received a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. After completing her college degree, Koch worked for various law firms for thee years and later successfully pursued a law degree at New Orleans-based Loyola in 1991. Koch was elected to represent Division E of the Ninth Judicial District Court in October 2005 and has been serving as the juvenile judge since January 2006. She was named the 2009 Champion for Change in juvenile justice reform for the Louisiana Models for Change initiative.
How did you become involved in juvenile justice?
Serving as judge is a way to reach out to young people and her way of giving back to the community. Koch said her mother and educators at Loyola were the biggest influence on her desire to give back to the community. She first became aware of the prevalence of situations of abuse, when her mother, a public-health nurse, would go on home visits to help people. Issues of violence, abuse, neglect of children are interconnected, she says.
What's the biggest lesson of working with at-risk youth?
"What I've found is that, everyone is capable. Once children and their families realize that they are all capable of doing better, they do better. I think that's what I try to show people, that you can get better and education is one of those way, even if it's not a high school degree, but just to say that you can read better, just to know that you can comprehend what's going on. So, I am thrilled if we can get kids to an eighth-grade education. Those who've not passed a fourth-grade LEAP test, if they can start getting to the eighth grade, they're going to go so much better."
What are your New Year's resolutions?
"Really trying to put in place things that are going to be long lasting. I want sustainability (professionally and personally). If I were to change tomorrow and not do juvenile (justice), I'd like to know that whatever I left is going to have a positive ability to stay -- something grounded, well established."
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Models for Change is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.