SGTC’s Brett Murray named 2019 Instructor of the Year

Published 11:13 am Saturday, February 16, 2019

From Staff Reports

AMERICUS — Instructor Brett Murray has been named the 2019 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year Award winner for South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) for his work as the director of the college’s law enforcement academy. SGTC President John Watford, Ed.D., made the announcement at a recent breakfast which honored the eight finalists for the award.
“A couple of weeks ago [the nominees] met before our interviews, and we all agreed … that it could have been anybody at the table. I still felt that way this morning,” Murray said after accepting his award. “I’m humbled to have this honor.”
Murray has been nominated for the award several times, but has only accepted the nomination twice prior to this year — ultimately winning the award in 2013.
“We do a lot for people here in our community and our families. And this family does well to work together — pushing towards goals, helping others learn to achieve goals, set goals and attain them,” he said of his colleagues in the room. “It’s important that we do those things, and I’m privileged to receive this award today.”
Murray has been with the college since October 2008, where he helped create and establish the Law Enforcement Academy. He has continually served as the director and lead instructor for the program since then, in which time he has helped train and graduate 234 law enforcement personnel.
Prior to accepting the instructional position, Murray spent 19 years in the field, working in Sumter County, Stewart County, and Terrell County in various law enforcement positions.
Murray received his bachelor of science degree in criminal justice and his master’s of public administration from Columbus State University, is a certified Georgia Peace Officer and has a Georgia POST Instructor certification. He attended the Georgia Chiefs Association Command College and the F.B.I. National Academy 227th session.
Murray is married to Schelly Murray, and they have two daughters, Amanda and Sara Beth.
As 2019 Instructor of the Year, Murray was presented with monetary stipends from both Synovus Bank and SGTC President Emeritus Sparky and Allene Reeves at the breakfast, which was coordinated by SGTC Rick Perkins Coordinator/Academic Dean Vanessa Wall. Murray will go on to represent the college at the regional and state levels, where he will compete against the Rick Perkins Award winners from the other 21 technical colleges in the state.
For the first time, the college also named a first runner-up for the award, which was decided unanimously by the judging panel. Michele Small, Ed.D., general education/psychology instructor, was announced and presented with a trophy by Watford.
In the event that Murray can’t attend the regional or state-level competitions in Atlanta, Small will serve as SGTC’s representative.
Watford also recognized the other SGTC Instructor of the Year finalists by presenting them with trophies. The instructors included: Kevin Beaver, motorsports; Robert Cook, commercial truck driving; Victoria Herron, aviation maintenance technology; Dorothea Lusane-McKenzie, cosmetology; Chester Taylor, general education/mathematics; and Ricky Watzlowick, culinary arts. Sixteen other instructors were nominated for the honor — making the 2019 pool of nominees the largest ever for SGTC.
The selection committee for the Instructor of the Year included Adam Hathaway, superintendent, Schley County School System (selection committee chair); Martha Arrington, retired SGTC cosmetology instructor and former Rick Perkins Award winner; Dorothy Ingram, Ed.D., assistant principal, Webster County Schools; George Porter, Ed.D., assistant principal, Marion County School System; and new member David Mims, Ed.D., superintendent, Crisp County School System.
The Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction honors the Technical College System of Georgia’s (TCSG) most outstanding instructors. The award has been an ongoing statewide event since 1991, and is designed to recognize technical college instructors who make significant contributions to technical education through innovation and leadership in their fields.
Before going to the state competitions in April, Murray will compete with other Instructor of the Year nominees at the regional level, where three finalists will be chosen to represent the region in Atlanta in April. The state winner will make many public appearances throughout the year, including addresses to the Georgia General Assembly, the governor and the TCSG Leadership Conference, to name a few, and will receive a $1,000 grand prize.

South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) President Emeritus Sparky Reeves and his wife Allene presented South Georgia Tech’s 2019 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year winner, Brett Murray, with a stipend from the SGTC Foundation’s Sparky and Allen Reeves endowed fund at the college’s 2019 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year breakfast recently. The Reeveses endowed this special fund with the SGTC Foundation in 2010, and have been growing the fund for the past nine years in order to be able to recognize the outstanding instructor and top student at SGTC each year. Shown from left are Soark Reeves, Brett Murray, and Allene Reeves.

In addition to competing for the statewide Rick Perkins Award, Murray will also deliver the commencement address at SGTC’s graduation ceremony in December 2019, as part of the Instructor of the Year honors.