South Georgia Tech announces Instructor of the Year nominees

Published 3:10 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2017


AMERICUS —Three South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) instructors have been selected as finalists for SGTC’s 2017 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year award, announced SGTC President John Watford, Ed.D., recently. Those instructors include Teresa McCook, criminal justice technology; Charles Christmas, aviation maintenance technology; and Shelly Godwin, English/general education. These instructors were nominated for the honor by other members of the South Georgia Tech faculty.
McCook of Americus has been the full-time criminal justice technology instructor for SGTC’s Americus campus since 2008. She began her career at SGTC as an adjunct instructor the previous year, but prior to her employment at SGTC, her experience in the field of law enforcement extended back to 1993, where she was a corporal, D.A.R.E. Officer/School Resource Officer for the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. Later, she was the director of the D.A.R.E. program and a deputy for the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. She has also served as a Communications Equipment Officer for the Georgia State Patrol, Probation Officer II for the Georgia Department of Corrections, and an investigator for the Office of Investigative Services at the Georgia Department of Human Resources.
She earned her bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of public administration from Columbus State University. She has been recognized by the Exchange Club of Americus as Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, and was named Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by Jaycees. Additionally, this is her third nomination for Instructor of the Year at SGTC. She has served as a member of several community organizations, including Advancing Sumter and Phoebe Sumter Patient and Family Advisory Committee, and has been an officer, investigator, instructor, and more for numerous local law enforcement agencies and public service agencies.
She and her husband, Donny, have three children — Donald, 19; Sandra Gail, 6; and Ethan, 5. They are active members of Shiloh Baptist Church, where she volunteers with the AWANA program.
“I feel honored to have been nominated by my peers,” said McCook. “I extend my thanks to them and wish the best of luck to my fellow Instructor of the Year finalists, Shelly Godwin and Charles Christmas. I feel privileged to be recognized alongside such great instructors.”
Christmas has been the aviation maintenance technology instructor at SGTC since 2013. Prior to taking that position, he was the Program coordinator for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Business Advisory Board executive for Eckerd College, District Market manager/Government Affairs for The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., Area Marketing manager for Monsanto, and marketing consultant for Christmas Marketing. He was also a Navigation/Communication coordinator and flight instructor for the United States Navy for 16 years.
Christmas holds a bachelor of arts in business management from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. He has numerous professional and community affiliations, including involvement with Youth Leadership in Action of the University of Georgia’s J.W. Fanning Institute of Leadership Development, Historic Preservation Commission of Americus, and the Aviation Advisory Council for Jordan High School in Columbus. He and his wife, Kim, reside in Americus.
Godwin of Ellaville has been an English instructor at SGTC since 2006. She is also an adjunct English instructor for the Axia College of the University of Phoenix. Before becoming an instructor at SGTC, she was an English instructor for Sumter County Schools.
She earned her bachelor of arts degree, teaching certificate, and master of education in English from Georgia Southwestern State University. She served as the TCSG Statewide Consortium Chair for both English (diploma and degree) and Learning Support curriculums from July 2013-June 2015, and completed leadership training and certification through the University of Georgia’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development. She was also recognized as the Best of the Best Teacher in Sumter County during her time as a teacher in the Sumter County School System.
Shelly and her husband, Glenn, have three daughters — Maddie, 11; Alyssa, 8; and Kinley Claire, 1.
She does not believe in a “one size fits all” approach to education.
“Each student should be allowed to flourish and thrive, and it’s up to us as educators to provide a means for all of our students to be successful,” said Godwin. “Technical education has allowed me to create individualized learning environments that give my students the opportunities to be actively engaged in their own educational pursuits.”
The selection committee consists of Adam Hathaway, superintendent, Schley County School System (selection committee chair); Martha Arrington, retired SGTC cosmetology instructor and former Rick Perkins Award winner; Dorothy Young Ingram, Ed.D., assistant principal, Webster County Schools; George Porter, Ed.D., assistant principal, L.K. Moss Elementary, Marion County School System; and Wendy Wilson, executive director, Darton State College Cordele Campus.
The Instructor of the Year selection committee will interview each candidate and decide who will be named South Georgia Technical College’s Instructor of the Year. That instructor will go on to compete regionally and then for the statewide Rick Perkins title for the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) in Atlanta this spring.
SGTC Academic Dean and two-time former SGTC Instructor of the Year Vanessa Wall serves as the Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year coordinator for SGTC.