MISD Gains Orchestra Director


Photo by Courtesy Photo

Ellen Lawrence plays to her students in class

Abigail Morris, Staff Writer

Ellen Lawrence replaced Savana Hughey as an MISD orchestra director after the program lost teachers to new schools in the district.

“I want every student to improve in some way,” Lawrence said. “And I like having [the orchestra] more student-led.”

Lawrence taught at schools in Houston and Katy for 12 years before she moved to Mansfield. She heard about the program’s growth and wanted to be closer to her family.

“I thought there was a lot of energy and enthusiasm,” Lawrence said. “I’m very impressed with the level of playing here.”

MISD’s orchestra program had three open teaching positions. Director Alex Young hopes that as the program grows in quantity and quality, more teachers will want to come work. 

“On one hand I was really happy for them to find positions that would fit them better,” Young said, “but on the other hand, we lost access to a few really strong teachers.”

Young worked with members of the district to interview Lawrence for the position. He noticed her teaching confidence and presence.

“It was very evident early on that Ms. Lawrence had an ‘it’ factor,” Young said. “I’ve been really excited to have her on board since the spring.”

The MISD Orchestras are made up of students from across the district, and Lawrence and Young hope to grow the program over the next few years by continuing to score well in UIL competitions and recruit incoming freshmen. 

“The facilities are gorgeous, the big windows, lots of space, lots of new technology,” Lawrence said. “I’ve heard really great things, I’m excited to be here.”