New Teacher Feature: Todd Lawrence takes center stage
He seemed misplaced sitting among his boxes of digital cameras and theater props in the carpentry room.
“I’m still not in my classroom until the new mobile is finished, and they don’t know when that is going to be finished,” said Todd Lawrence, the arts department’s newest addition. “I feel like I can’t unpack and settle in until that is done, but we are making due until then. I’m just excited to be here.”
One of many new teachers this school year, Lawrence is teaching Theatre Arts Specialization I and II or “tech theatre” and Digital Photography. When asked which he prefers, he says Technical Theatre.
“It’s where I have done the most of my career,” Lawrence said. “I’ve got 20 years [experience] in the theater entertainment industry. In most theaters, I was technical director, which is the engineering side behind the scenery.”
Lawrence received his undergraduate degree from Catawba College and his graduate from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Lawrence has previously taught at UNC-Chapel Hill, Virginia Commonwealth and private high schools, but was most recently the theater manager at Carrboro High School. The last time Lawrence taught in a classroom setting was over two decades ago.
“It feels good to be back,” Lawrence said.
Although Lawrence has a varied teaching background, he is still familiar with Chatham County.
“My wife actually taught here for a while, and she graduated from here, so I know the school,” Lawrence said. “I live down the road in Bynum, so I know the school very well and a few people here already.”
Lawrence says that while he feels he is learning a lot, there is still a long way to go.
“[Art teacher] Leslie Burwell has really made me feel welcome,” Lawrence said. “Actually, everyone at the faculty retreat has been really friendly and awesome. There’s a ton going on, but I’m still surviving.”
– By Chloe Gruesbeck