Chester Taylor named SGTC 2023 Rick Perkins Instructor of Year

Published 5:34 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2023

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From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – South Georgia Technical College Math Instructor Chester A. Taylor, III, has been selected as the 2023 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year for South Georgia Technical College (SGTC), announced President Dr. John Watford at a special ceremony held in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center on the Americus campus in front of SGTC faculty, staff, and friends.

“There is only one word I can think of that fits this occasion, and that is grateful,” said Taylor after he was recognized.  “I am grateful for my fellow instructors that nominated me for this position.  I am grateful for my support staff, who maintains the facilities and a lot more.  I am also grateful for all of the students I get to teach.  I am also grateful for Dr. Watford for giving me a job and for presenting me this award.  I am grateful to all of you who are here to share in this with me right now.  Thank you very much and I really appreciate it.”

Chester A. Taylor, III, has been a Mathematics Instructor at South Georgia Technical College in Americus since 2015.  He is also the advisor for the National Technical Honor Society.  Prior to joining South Georgia Technical College, Taylor was a mathematics instructor at Central Georgia Tech and was a Mathematics Faculty Coordinator at Albany Technical College.  He earned a Bachelor of Mathematics and a master’s degree in Mathematics Education from Albany State University.


SGTC President Dr. John Watford is shown above with SGTC Rick Perkins Instructor of Year nominee Wanda Bishop, SGTC 2023 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year Chester Taylor, nominee Rose Leverette and SGTC Rick Perkins Coordinator and Academic Dean Dr. David Finley.
Photo by SGTC

Taylor’s philosophy as a math instructor is to make math as painless as possible and get students excited to be learning.  He is not afraid to reach out and ask questions.  He tries to take the time to find a way to get involved on campus and encourages others to find an area that fits and strive to help students be able to succeed in the world of work.

Taylor, Criminal Justice Instructor Wanda Bishop, and Crisp County Math Instructor Rose Leggett were the three finalists for the SGTC 2023 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year.  An external selection committee chose the winner.  The members of that committee were Don Gilman and Betty Suggs of the Ignite Career Academy, Dr. Dorothy Ingram, Webster County Schools Superintendent; Haley Calhoun, Schley County High School Principal; and Jennifer Albritton, Taylor County Schools Superintendent.

“I would like to congratulate each one of these instructors because they are all very deserving,” said President Watford.  “Our two math instructors teach almost every student in every program represented at South Georgia Technical College and Wanda Bishop, our Criminal Justice Instructor, trains the next generation of individuals who will help provide for the safety of our citizens.  Each field represented here is different but also very valuable.”

SGTC Academic Affairs Dean and Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year coordinator David Finley opened the ceremony and talked about the Rick Perkins Award process.  He recognized and thanked each of the finalists for agreeing to participate in the process.

Starlyn Sampson, SGTC’s Auto Collision and Repair Instructor and the 2022 Instructor of the Year, spoke briefly prior to the announcement of this year’s winner.  “This have been a very rewarding year serving as the 2022 Instructor of the Year,” said Sampson.  “When I was first nominated, I was humbled.  I met other instructors from around the state who taught programs like nursing and I wasn’t sure I belonged.  But each instructor here has skills, talents, and gifts in your own field and you all belong.

“My advice is to do your best.  Listen when people give you encouraging words, and as you tell your story, focus on your students and how you make sure the students are getting the information they need to become successful.  I am proud to be standing here today and I thank you for letting me serve as the Instructor of the Year in 2022,” added Sampson

Prior to the announcement of the winner, South Georgia Technical College Director of Business and Industry Services from the Crisp County Center Michelle McGowan and Academic Dean Dr. David Finley highlighted key facts about the finalists.  They shared the reasons for their nominations and their strong work ethics and leadership skills.

After Taylor accepted the Instructor of the Year award from Dr. Watford, he was presented with a monetary gift from Synovus Bank in Amer

From Staff Reportsicus and also recognized with a monetary stipend from SGTC President Emeritus Sparky and Allene Reeves.  As the SGTC 2023 Instructor of the Year Chester Taylor will be presented with the Instructor of the Year banner to hang outside his program area.  He will also receive a premiere parking spot near his classroom for an entire year with Instructor of the Year signage.

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.

As the SGTC Instructor of the Year for 2023, Taylor 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 the statewide competition. 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 $1000 grand prize. In addition to competing for the statewide Rick Perkins Award, Taylor will also deliver the commencement address at SGTC’s graduation ceremony in December 2023 as part of the Instructor of the Year honors.