Beloved Upper School History Teacher Mindy Lawrence returns this fall with an impressive title: Georgia History Teacher of the Year!
Created by The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the Georgia History Teacher of the Year award recognizes teachers and administrators for their outstanding work and dedication to the education of American history. The goal of the institute is to “teach more effectively and mostly using primary documents,” Mrs. Lawrence describes. The award was announced in late July. “It blew my mind. I was so surprised and so deeply honored because it’s an organization that I love and I respect.” Describing herself as a the biggest fangirl of the organization, Mrs. Lawrence won this award because of her passion and incredible knowledge of history along with her dedication to her students.
Back for her fourth year at Pace, Mrs. Lawrence is loved the faculty and students. Greeting everyone with a cheerful smile as they walk into her office or classroom, she is the most helpful, caring and understanding teacher. She says, “I love being here. I have the best students in the world, I would say. Kids are so interesting, curious and work hard. I absolutely love teaching Pace kids.” She enjoys the content she gets to teach from ancient civilizations all the way through the creation of the United States and beyond. This year, she is teaching Ancient Civilizations, AP European and AP US history. She is most excited about getting a second chance to teach AP Euro as she taught it for the first time last year. “I love teaching history, so just the opportunity to do it all again!”
From an early age, Mrs. Lawrence always loved history. “I just love the stories behind the stories. I love to think about how things came to be today and where that comes from? That curiosity piece for me has always been the driver behind my love for history.” She says, “it’s all like a little mystery that you’re encountering for the first time and then you’re putting together all of the pieces to then have your big, Sherlock Holmes moment and say, A-ha, I have the answer to this.” Finally, she mentioned that history is filled with diverse human stories like who we are, how we got to be here, and how similar we are despite the fact that time has passed.
Out of many people that have influenced her, she says, “the biggest historical influence has always been [her] mentor from undergrad, Elliot Gorn. He was my thesis advisor at Brown.” Mrs. Lawrence described him as exceptionally hard to please. She worked extremely hard in his class and it made her a better historian. His work in American history is the work that Mrs. Lawrence would love to do one day. He continues to be a mentor and friend to her today. “Someday, I hope to be half the historian that he is.”
Mrs. Lawrence wants to thank the Pace community. “This is my fourth year here. This will be my first graduating class that I saw all the way through. I just feel like really part of the family and welcomed here, so thank you.” We love you Mrs. Lawrence!