If there’s a Wonder Woman in the annals of education in Georgia, particularly Gwinnett, it’s Beauty Baldwin.
Baldwin has a long history of service in Gwinnett and across the state, and to those who know her, this latest honor should come as no surprise.
Studio Movie Grill selected Baldwin as a Real Life Woman Superhero, and she will be honored in Texas at a red-carpet screening of Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman.” The movie is set to be released on Friday. Baldwin was one of more than 700 nominees submitted to Studio Movie Grill from its 11 markets as part of a nationwide search for everyday women making a big difference in communities.
Baldwin and the other honorees will be flown to Dallas on Wednesday for their own special red-carpet screening on Wednesday of “Wonder Woman.” Before the film, each honoree will receive an award, and a $1,000 donation will also be made to each honoree’s charity of choice.
A daughter of sharecroppers who only finished the sixth grade, Baldwin grew up in Sandersville working on a farm and later became the first black woman to be a school superintendent in Georgia when she led Buford City Schools in the mid-1980s. She also served in administration roles in Gwinnett County Public Schools. She’s been named to two statewide boards by Georgia governors.
A former math and vocational education teacher and assistant principal, Baldwin also served as principal of Buford Middle School. Baldwin headed the vocational education program at Central Gwinnett High School before she became the Buford superintendent.
Although Baldwin’s parents were sharecroppers with limited schooling, they impressed upon her the value of education. She graduated from Savannah State College with a bachelor’s degree in math.
“My mother couldn’t help me with my homework, but she sat up with me every night until I finished it,” Baldwin told the Daily Post in 2006 when she was honored by the Ebony Society of Gwinnett for more than four decades of service.
Baldwin said she was born with a love of math and teaching.
“I knew I wanted to be a math teacher when I was in the third grade,” she said. “I was educated in a two-room schoolhouse, where several grades were in one room together. I would finish my numbers real fast, then go help the other students with their math.”
When Baldwin Elementary in Norcross was named after her, she said the honor not only recognizes her husband, also an educator, it sends a message that her legacy is those kids can get anywhere from here.
“Serving kids has been my mainstay my whole life,” she told the Daily Post. “We’re put on this Earth to do one thing, and that’s to serve.”
A member of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, in 1997, she opened Hopewell Christian Academy, and in 2014, that space was converted into the North Metro Academy of Performing Arts, a charter school geared toward the performing arts.
While she has worked in education for more than 40 years, Baldwin is also involved in several other civic and community groups such as the American Red Cross, the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter and the Upsilon Alpha Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. That organization has a scholarship in her name that has given more than $100,000 to students.