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Lawrence remembered for mark she left on education

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Connie Lawrence may mostly be remembered for her laughter and smile.
She left an everlasting impression during her 20 years as a Williamstown Independent School Board member.
Connie also served as “the face of NKU-Grant County Center” greeting students each day for 18 years as an administrative assistant.

She decided against running for a sixth straight school board term after being diagnosed with ALS in order to spend more time with her family and “enjoy living life,” Connie said earlier this year.
At the age of 64, she died July 6 at the St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Edgewood.

Connie is survived by her husband, Doug Lawrence and two daughters, Angela Rizzo and Alicia Lawrence.
Williamstown Superintendent Misty Middleton said Connie was a huge supporter of schools.  

“She dedicated 20 years to the students and staff of Williamstown as a member of the Board of Education,” Middleton said. “This also gave her the opportunity to mentor hundreds of students, which was her favorite part of being on the board. She loved being around the students and they enjoyed her too. Personally, I will miss her smile, words of encouragement, laugh and support. Connie’s last board meeting was in December and the district gifted her with a tree, planted in her honor, by the board office. Every time I walk past it, I think of her. Connie will be missed, but she will not be forgotten. The district is better because of her service.”

Connie first decided to run for the Williamstown Independent School Board to help maintain a successful path of a great school when her daughters were attending and later graduated from the district.
She had already been volunteering at the school for a few years when the opportunity to run for the school board came.
Lawrence worked with four different superintendents: Clifford Wallace, Charles Ed Wilson, Sally Skinner and Middleton.

“I am most proud of the growth and expansion of the school and being able to play a role in such a great accomplishment,” Lawrence said after leaving the school board. “A board is made up of five members and it’s a group effort. Serving on a board that has been able to constantly work to do what is best for the school system has been a great accomplishment of all.”

Williamstown School Board chairman Chris Lawrence, who served alongside Connie for 10 years, said her experience was a valuable resource early on and he consistently relied on her for insight.  
“Her laugh and smile were contagious and when she spoke, people listened,” Chris Lawrence said. “Connie was a textbook example of what a school board member should be and she cared about every student, all the time and always based her decisions on what was best for them. The fire and compassion that she showed day in and day out for our school, its students and staff were off the charts and our school and all of the students that she personally impacted were very fortunate. She was a great mentor for hundreds of students in her 20 years of service to our Board of Education as well as a personal mentor to me.”

Connie also worked at the NKU Grant County Center for 18 years, starting soon after it opened on Paris Street in 1998.  
“Connie was one of those people who made everyone feel special and welcomed,” said Correy Eimer, NKU-Grant County Center director. “She served as the ‘face of the NKU Grant County Center’ and, over the years, made thousands of students feel at ease with her nurturing demeanor and comforting smile. She would also use her quick-witted sense of humor, at just the right times, to remind all of us to keep things in perspective. Everyone loved her. However, Connie’s impact was not limited to the Grant County Center; her outstanding service to NKU and our students was recognized university wide when she received the 2012 Regents Distinguished Service Award for Office/Clerical staff. Connie was special. She’ll be sorely missed. I’m grateful to have had the chance to work with her.”