(Atlanta, Ga. – April 22, 2016)
Chattahoochee Technical College’s Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) winner Jourdan Ortiz and Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year winner Celnisha Dangerfield were named regional finalists in the Technical College System of Georgia’s 2016 Student and Instructor of the Year awards.
The regional finalists for the technical college student and instructor of the year were announced on Tuesday, April 19, during the GOAL and Rick Perkins Award Conference – an event that honors excellence in academics and leadership among the state’s technical college students and instructors.
On Wednesday, April 20, TCSG announced that Ashley Elizabeth Rodgers of South Georgia Tech College took home top honors in the GOAL program, and Angela Hines Brown of West Georgia Technical College was the winner of the 2016 Rick Perkins Award for Excellence.
Local GOAL winners are selected at each of the state’s 22 technical colleges as well as one Board of Regents college with a technical education division. This year, more than 20 Chattahoochee Tech students accepted nominations by faculty, and of those, six finalists were named. An external committee made up of the college’s board of directors as well as community members selected Ortiz, of Stockbridge, as CTC’s 2016 GOAL winner.
Ortiz, who is working toward an Occupational Therapy Assistant degree, said he felt a deep sense of accomplishment after being nominated as a regional finalist.
“I knew that all the sacrifices, long study hours and tears were worth it,” he said. “I had finally defeated the thoughts of inadequacy that I had when I walked into Chattahoochee Tech, and I now feel an unrelenting responsibility to not only keep pressing toward my goals, but I also feel a calling on my life to help others overcome their fears. I am now inspired to be a light in the dark moments of people’s lives.”
Being nominated for GOAL has reaffirmed and impacted his entire perspective when it comes to leadership and success.
“A leader is someone who understands that humility and courage are absolutely necessary to be effective. A person must be humble enough to know that success isn’t attained by one individual person; instead, it is a collective effort given by those who have a common ‘GOAL,’ and courage is necessary to overcome temporary failures without losing enthusiasm,” he said. “What I have taken away from this experience is the simple fact that hard work, perseverance and loving your neighbor as you love yourself should be everyone’s ‘GOAL’ and that by striving to achieve that ‘GOAL,’ you will never be left unsatisfied.”
The Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction began in 1991 and is designed to recognize and honor technical college instructors who make significant contributions to technical education through innovation and leadership in their fields. Formerly known as the Commissioner’s Award of Excellence, the Rick Perkins Award was renamed in memory and honor of Thomas “Rick” Perkins, an instructor at West Central Technical College, who received the Commissioner’s Award immediately prior to his untimely death.
Dangerfield, of Marietta, represented Chattahoochee Technical College at the state competition as the 2016 Instructor of the Year, and being nominated as a regional finalist was what she called a “humbling experience.”
“There are so many outstanding instructors around the state, and they are committed to the mission of the Technical College System of Georgia, too. Yet, a group of educators, politicians and business leaders trusted me to represent Chattahoochee Technical College –and our entire region — as one of the nine finalists for the state Rick Perkins Award,” she said. “It was a humbling moment for sure; I just wanted to present what I do in the classroom, what we do as a college, and what we do as a system — all in the best light possible. I was honored to have this opportunity.”
Dangerfield has been a speech instructor at Chattahoochee Tech for 12 years, and she said receiving the Rick Perkins Award from CTC and being nominated as a regional finalist means that her markers for success have to be redefined, making her classes even better as a result.
“If you only do well when others are watching, you are not being your best — and that simply will not do. My students get my best because I believe in the strength of the concepts that I teach, just as I believe in each student that walks through my door,” she said. “The only thing is that the challenge from now on is to be even more outstanding. After all, if I’m CTC’s Instructor of the Year, I can’t have my students wondering why I was chosen for this honor.”
Dangerfield said getting to meet other outstanding instructors from around the state during the 2016 GOAL & Rick Perkins Award Conference merely crystallizes her commitment to her students and technical education.
“What we do in the classroom makes a difference,” she said. “It changes individual lives and families, our local communities and the economic prospects for the state of Georgia, as well. I was proud to see that the communication skills that I teach were on full display as the best instructors and students within the Technical College System of Georgia shared their stories of success.”