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  Contact: Alison Tyrer
Executive Director of Communications
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Technical College System of Georgia announces 2016 student and instructor of the year

ATLANTA – The state’s top technical college student and instructor of the year were named Wednesday night, April 20th, by the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).

Ashley Rodgers, a Marketing Management student from South Georgia Technical College who overcame many personal obstacles, took home the state’s top honors in the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) program, which recognizes the most outstanding technical education students at each of the 22 TCSG colleges and the technical division at Bainbridge State College. In addition to securing the ultimate title of TCSG’s student of the year from the more than 135,000 student competitors, Ms. Rodgers will spend the next year traveling the state as the newest ambassador and voice of technical education.  Photo 

Dr. Angela Hines Brown, an instructor in Early Childhood Care and Education at West Georgia Technical College, is the winner of the 2016 Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction and a $1,000 cash award. In her acceptance remarks, Dr. Brown cited her mother as her inspiration for pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is the first in her family to earn a doctorate.  Photo

Ms. Rodgers and Dr. Brown will make many public appearances throughout the state in the upcoming year, including visits to the state capitol, meeting the governor and, following tradition, addressing the Georgia General Assembly. 

The first runner-up for the technical education student of the year was Melissa Behling of Ogeechee Technical College. For the technical education instructor of the year, the first runner-up was Jason Strickland from Coastal Pines Technical College

TCSG Commissioner Gretchen Corbin announced the winners during the annual banquet honoring the system’s top instructors and students across the state at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Atlanta on April 20. She also awarded Rodgers the keys to the GOAL program’s grand prize, a brand-new, made-in-Georgia 2016 Kia Optima, courtesy of Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia and delivered by Ed Voyles Kia of Chamblee. 

“I am proud to present Ashley and Angela with these well-deserved recognitions for their remarkable achievements, not just in technical education, but in their lives,” said Commissioner Corbin. “Each has the respect and admiration of the entire Technical College System of Georgia. We are honored and inspired by the passion for technical education of all our GOAL and Rick Perkins college winners.”

South Georgia Technical College is extremely proud of Ashley Rodgers,” said President John Watford. “She is an exceptional student and will do an excellent job as a representative of the Technical College System of Georgia student body. She exemplifies how technical colleges can positively impact an individual's life.”

“The Rick Perkins Award is an incredible honor for Dr. Brown, and we are so proud to say that she is one of us,” President Steve G. Daniel said. “West Georgia Tech is committed to providing the very best technical instruction for our students, and Dr. Brown is a great representative of West Georgia Tech and our entire Technical College System of Georgia. She’s not just one of the best. She’s the best.” 

Selection for the GOAL and Rick Perkins Award begins with the naming of the top technical education student and instructor at each college, as well as the technical division at Bainbridge State College. Regional competitions follow and narrow the field to nine finalists for each award.

In April, the nine finalists are interviewed in Atlanta by a panel of judges. At each step, student finalists are scored on their academic accomplishments, leadership qualities, involvement in their local communities and future aspirations. Benchmarks for instructors include teaching experience, innovation in the classroom, leadership and civic involvement. 

In 2016, the GOAL program celebrated its 45th year of outstanding student achievement, while the Rick Perkins Award program showcased 26 years of excellence in technical instruction. 

For more information on the GOAL and Rick Perkins Award programs, visit

About the Technical College System of Georgia
The 22 colleges of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) are Georgia’s top resource for skilled workers.  TCSG offers world-class training in 600 associate degree, diploma and certificate programs to students who are trained on state-of-the-art equipment by instructors who are experts in their fields.  TCSG partners with companies through Quick Start, the nation’s top customized workforce training program, and through its individual colleges, who work with local industry to provide workforce and training solutions. 

Photo captions: 
Dr. Angela Hines Brown of West Georgia Technical College, winner of the Technical College System of Georgia’s Rick Perkins 2016 “Instructor of the Year” award, recounts the life experiences that led to her educational journey during her acceptance remarks. The annual awards ceremony was held in Atlanta on April 20, 2016.

Ashley Rodgers, a Business Management student at South Georgia Technical College, holds the keys to the new Kia Optima she won as the Technical College System of Georgia’s 2016 GOAL “Student of the Year” during ceremonies held in Atlanta on April 22, 2016. The made-in-Georgia car was donated by Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia. 

The complete list of the college GOAL and Rick Perkins Award winners follows:
Albany Technical College
Kozman Dwayne Barnum, GOAL winner 
Dennis Courtney, Rick Perkins Award winner 

Athens Technical College
Jamie Swedberg, GOAL winner
Patty Melnick, Rick Perkins Award winner

Atlanta Technical College
Ahmad Johnson, GOAL winner
Jim Gale, Rick Perkins Award winner

Augusta Technical College
Markita Battle, GOAL winner
Paul Visintainer, Rick Perkins Award winner

Bainbridge State College
Kenneth E. Brock, GOAL winner
William Charles White, Rick Perkins Award winner

Central Georgia Technical College
Terri DeLong, GOAL winner
Casie Bridges, Rick Perkins Award winner

Chattahoochee Technical College
Jourdan Ortiz, GOAL winner
Celnisha Dangerfield, Rick Perkins Award winner

Coastal Pines Technical College
Caleb Davis, GOAL winner
Jason Strickland, Rick Perkins Award winner

Columbus Technical College
Don Thrasher, GOAL winner
Tara Scott, Rick Perkins Award winner

Georgia Northwestern Technical College
Corey Carlile, GOAL winner
Brittny Burns, Rick Perkins Award winner

Georgia Piedmont Technical College 
LaShonda Jenkins, GOAL winner
Andrea Strommen, Rick Perkins Award winner

Gwinnett Technical College
Lydia Holland, GOAL winner
Susan Arnold, Rick Perkins Award winner

Lanier Technical College
Evelyn Johnson, GOAL winner
Amy O’Dell, Rick Perkins Award winner

North Georgia Technical College
Jason Egerton, GOAL winner
Charles Hill, Rick Perkins Award winner

Oconee Fall Line Technical College
Michelle Simpson, GOAL winner
Belinda Fisher, Rick Perkins Award winner

Ogeechee Technical College
Melissa Behling, GOAL winner 
Jeannie McCorkle, Rick Perkins Award winner

Savannah Technical College 
Jenn Case, GOAL winner 
Debra R. Geiger, Rick Perkins Award winner

South Georgia Technical College
Ashley E. Rodgers, GOAL winner 
Andrea C. Ingram, Rick Perkins Award winner

Southeastern Technical College
Marsha S. Messer, GOAL winner 
Sadia Ajohda, Rick Perkins Award winner

Southern Crescent Technical College
Miriam Williams, GOAL winner 
William Pickett, Rick Perkins Award winner

Southern Regional Technical College
Lauren Giddens, GOAL winner
Andy Semones, Rick Perkins Award winner

West Georgia Technical College
Mary Trenton Griffies, GOAL winner 
Angela Brown, Rick Perkins Award winner

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
Brianna Kelch, GOAL winner 
Jesse Davis, Rick Perkins Award winner

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Technical College System of Georgia
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