Seth Hersch, a social studies teacher at Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST), will be presented with the Olmsted Award for Outstanding Secondary Level Teaching from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, this weekend. Mr. Hersch was nominated for the university’s prestigious honor by one of his former high school students who is graduating this year from Williams College. Mr. Hersch will travel to Williams College and participate in a special ceremony, known as Ivy Exercises, where he will be presented with the award. The ceremony takes place Saturday, June 7.
“Mr. Hersch pushes his students to look beyond the textbook and tests,” Williams College graduating senior Sara Kang told her college while nominating Mr. Hersch for the award. “He provided me with the basic set of analytic skills I needed to attend a liberal arts college.”
Sara Kang (Peachtree Ridge High Class of 2010 and Williams College Class of 2014) nominated Mr. Hersch for her university’s award which recognizes high school teachers who played influential roles in the lives and learning of the graduating Williams College seniors. Sara was in Mr. Hersch’s class when he taught at Peachtree Ridge High.
Mr. Hersch transferred to GSMST in 2009. In addition to teaching Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History and Government, he serves as the school’s social studies department chair. A veteran educator, Mr. Hersch began teaching in the early 1990s in Massachusetts, bringing a wealth of experience when he joined Gwinnett in 2004. Mr. Hersch completed a master’s degree in Teaching from Boston College and earned his undergraduate degree from Sarah Lawrence College.
In addition to this latest honor, GSMST students have selected him as the school’s STAR teacher in 2011 and 2012.
A Williams College committee of faculty, staff, and students chose Mr. Hersch as one of four recipients from among the nominees. The other three honorees are teachers from Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Ohio. The recipients of the award receive $3,000. In addition, $2,500 is awarded to each recipient’s school. As Mr. Hersch has moved to a new school, his previous school and current school will split the prize with both GSMST and Peachtree Ridge High each receiving $1,250.