Pace Alachua Teacher Recognized as a Hometown Hero

February 03, 2021
Pace Center for Girls Teacher Amarene Chandler

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - To be a teacher amid a pandemic is no easy task but our Hometown Hero is up for the challenge.

Meet Dr. Amarene Chandler.

“I’m here at PACE so that I can make a difference,” said Chandler. “I could have been a PACE girl.”

Pace Center for Girls in Alachua is more than just a school to students and staff. It’s a place of opportunity and second chances, and for Chandler, it’s a place to give back to the girls who need it the most.

“I’d rather be at PACE than any other school, PACE more better,” she said.

“After retiring I determined that I needed to give back. I’ve had a good life. I’ve enjoyed working in the school system, I’ve enjoyed working in the community. So at some point in your life, it gets real and you’re going to realize you have to give back.”

For five years Chandler has served as the American government, American history, economics and world history instructor, but that’s not the only role she plays at the center.

“Black teachers bring into the classroom cultural differences for their white counterparts,” Chandler explained. “According to research, if a child has one black teacher they fare much better in school.”

Chandler’s history and life lessons hit home too.

“You get to learn about yourself, you get to know yourself better than anybody else.”

Her granddaughter, Kylah, is now a tenth grader. The 16-year-old is at the center and has big dream post graduation.

“I love the Seminoles like I want to like, I want to go there because I want to be a veterinarian when I grow up,” said Kylah Chandler. “So like I really want to go there and be a veterinarian when I grow up and like I want to go there to play basketball too.”

What makes it all worth it for Chandler? Knowing she’s not alone in her passion to make a difference at pace.

“What makes me feel good is the staff that’s here,” she said. “I know that if I’m not here, the staff is here. The girls are getting the care they need. And that’s from the director all the way down to the volunteers. So I feel real good about it, it’s an awesome staff here.”