Dorothea McKenzie Named SGTC Instructor of the Year
Dorothea Lusane Mckenzie has been named the 2020 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year Award winner for South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) for her work in the cosmetology program at SGTC. Dr. John Watford, SGTC President, presented the award to McKenzie at a breakfast ceremony held in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center on the Americus campus.
After remarks from last year’s winner, Brett Murray, the director of the college’s law enforcement academy, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Vanessa Wall announced McKenzie as the recipient of this year’s Rick Perkins Award.
SGTC Academic Dean David Kuipers spoke to McKenzie’s qualifications for the honor. “We are here not just to teach students technical skills, but to help make them better people,” Kuipers said. “That’s what Dorothea has devoted her program to, and it shows.”
Before presenting the award, President Watford also shared remarks about McKenzie. “She has the respect of her students and her peers,” Watford said. “She also has a tremendous work ethic. But one of the most profound things about her work is that so many of her students graduate and start their own businesses, and that kind of entrepreneurship is critical to economic development.”
McKenzie accepted the award from Watford, then addressed the large audience. “I was born from humble beginnings,” McKenzie shared. “My parents did not graduate from high school, because they both had to work to support their families. But they always stressed education for their children.”
As she neared completion of high school, a guidance counselor asked McKenzie what she was passionate about. “I have always loved doing hair,” McKenzie replied. So on the advice of the counselor, she enrolled at SGTC in the cosmetology program. “Technical education was the right fit for me,” she said. After graduating from SGTC, she returned to the college as a cosmetology instructor trainee and has worked full time as the cosmetology instructor since 2005.
For being honored as 2020 instructor of the year, McKenzie received monetary stipends from Synovus Bank, presented by Tami Duke, and from SGTC President Emeritus Sparky Reeves and his wife, Allene.
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 winner at SGTC, McKenzie 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 $1000 grand prize. In addition to competing for the statewide Rick Perkins Award, McKenzie will also deliver the commencement address at SGTC’s graduation ceremony in December 2020 as part of the Instructor of the Year honors.