SGTC Names Teresa McCook Instructor of the Year
South Georgia Technical College criminal justice instructor Teresa McCook was selected as the SGTC 2018 Instructor of the Year and will represent the college in the state Rick Perkins Award competition in Atlanta later this year. SGTC President Dr. John Watford made the announcement at the recent Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year breakfast, held in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center on SGTC’s Americus campus.
“I love all of you, I love South Georgia Tech, and I love my students. They are the main reason why I do what I do,” McCook said to the room full of fellow instructors and special guests.
This was McCook’s fourth nomination for the award.
“I was beginning to think I was the Susan Lucci of the Criminal Justice department, but it’s because of the tough competition,” she said in reference to the Soap Opera star who won an Emmy after being nominated 19 years in a row. “We have some great instructors here and I’m proud to be a part of this family.”
Teresa McCook has been with SGTC since 2007, when she started out as a part-time instructor. She quickly earned her way on as a full-time employee for the criminal justice program in 2008. Prior to being an educator, McCook earned field experience as a Corporal, D.A.R.E. Office/School Resource Officer for the Sumter County Sheriff’s office. She later became the Director of the D.A.R.E. program and a Deputy for the Sumter County Sheriff’s office. McCook 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. She has served as a member of several community organizations, including Advancing Sumter and Phoebe Sumter Patient Family Advisory Committee.
She and her husband, Donny, have three children—Donald, 20; Sandra Gail, 7; and Ethan, 6. They are active members of Shiloh Baptist Church, where she volunteers with the AWANA program
As 2018 Instructor of the Year, she was presented with monetary stipends from both SB&T Bank and SGTC President Emeritus Sparky and Allene Reeves at the breakfast, which was coordinated by SGTC Rick Perkins Coordinator/Academic Dean Vanessa Wall.
Also recognized at the breakfast were SGTC Instructor of the Year Finalists Kevin Beaver, motorsports, and Dr. Michele Seay, general education and psychology.
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; Dr. Dorothy Ingram, Assistant Principal, Webster County Schools; Dr. George Porter, Assistant Principal, Marion County School System; and new member Dr. David Mims, Superintendent, Crisp County School System.
Before the winner was announced, 2017 Instructor of the Year winner, Charles Christmas, gave remarks about his past year as the SGTC Instructor of the Year and participated in a ceremonial Passing of the Rick Perkins Award banner signaling the transition of the title to Teresa McCook
“It is quite an honor to be nominated for the Instructor of the Year,” Christmas said. “So many times we hear, ‘you’re the best of the best’ and everything else. The Rick Perkins award and the Instructor of the Year award means that you’re able to represent what is ‘the best of the best’ – and that’s everyone sitting out here in from of me … Whoever wins today will represent South Georgia Tech extremely well.”
In addition to competing for the statewide Rick Perkins Award, McCook will also deliver the commencement address at SGTC’s graduation ceremony this December.
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.
McCook will go on to compete with other Instructor of the Year nominees at the regional level, where three finalists will be chosen to represent the region at the state level. 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.