Cherlyn Sands-Anderson Named Wiregrass’ Instructor of the Year
Valdosta, GA — Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Adult Education Instructor, Cherlyn Sands-Anderson, received the 2021 Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction, also known as Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year award.
The Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction is awarded annually. This award is designed to recognize and honor instructors who make significant contributions to technical education through innovation and leadership in their fields. Instructors are nominated for the Rick Perkins Award by their peers. Competition among instructors occurs at the college, regional, and state levels.
Four finalists participated in the interviews: Cherlyn Sands-Anderson (Adult Education Instructor – Valdosta Campus), Dimple Sali Carter (Patient Care Assisting and Allied Health Core Instructor – Valdosta Campus), John Patten (Media Production Coordinator – Valdosta Campus), and Adrienne Young (Director of Practical Nursing – Ben Hill-Irwin Campus).
She was nominated by her peers throughout the college and described as “always a top-ranking instructor who is willing to help her colleagues and goes above and beyond to help her students. She has a positive attitude and is also an inspiration to others. She has helped many students in her years with the organization and deserves to be acknowledged for all of her hard work and dedication.”
When asked about her reaction to receiving this honor Cherlyn Sands-Anderson responded, “I am beyond grateful for this honor to be recognized for my work ethic, my passion for education and the students I serve, my organization, Wiregrass Tech, whom I have truly loved all the 31 years I have been employed here.”
Sands-Anderson started teaching at Wiregrass after being a stay-at-home-mother. She discovered the opportunity through a friend that let her know the technical college was looking for a part-time GED teacher. She applied and was hired to help remediate women at the battered women’s shelter to prepare them for the GED test. She shared that her first class consisted of five determined women who were on a mission to gain their independence. “I grew to love the position because of the rewarding experience of helping people change their lives,” shared Sands-Anderson. “Accepting the position turned out to be one of the best career-moves I ever made as I remain in the same department 31 years later.”
She also shared that her teaching goals in the classroom coincide with two of her favorite Chinese proverbs: “A person’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark” as well as “If you’re planning for a year, sow rice, if you’re planning for a decade, plant a tree; if you’re planning for a lifetime, educate people.” These proverbs describe a system that encourages people and opens their minds to possibilities. They enable people to lift themselves out of poverty and take on skills that they can use to create opportunity for themselves. Sands-Anderson shared, “As an instructor, I’ve had the opportunity of teaching Adult Education, the foundation in a student’s life, the second chance, instilling in them that their past is not their future, and able to empower them by ministering to them the power of education and how education can change their life.“
The following instructors were nominated and participated in the selection process for the instructor award (in alphabetical order): Fiifi Agyabeng-Dadzie (Biology Instructor – Valdosta Campus), Ashley Boyd (History / Adult Education Instructor – Various Campuses), Angela Brantley (Business Education Instructor- Valdosta Campus), Sherry Carroll (Psychology Instructor – Coffee Campus), India Denning (Patient Care Assisting and Allied Health Core Instructor – Coffee Campus), Deanna Edwards (Management Supervisory Development Program Coordinator – Ben Hill-Irwin Campus), Lisa Griffin (Opticianry Program Coordinator – Valdosta Campus), Garrett Hall (History Instructor – Valdosta Campus), Toby Heard (Automotive Repair Technology Instructor – Valdosta Campus), Ginny Howell (Accounting Program Coordinator – Valdosta Campus), Terry Johnson (Welding Instructor – Ben Hill-Irwin Campus), Darron Lanier (Machine Tool Technology Program Coordinator – Valdosta Campus), Wayne Lee (Barbering Program Coordinator – Valdosta Campus), Donna Norman (Mathematics Instructor – Ben Hill-Irwin Campus), Jennifer Ray (Radiologic Technology Program Coordinator – Valdosta Campus), Wally Rewis (Welding Instructor – Valdosta Campus), Jason Richardson (Speech Instructor – Valdosta Campus), Dr. Darlene Ridley (Director of Associate of Science in Nursing – Valdosta Campus), Greta Smith (Criminal Justice Technology Program Coordinator – Coffee Campus), Krista Spires (Underage Youth Instructor – Ben Hill-Irwin Campus), Drew Vickers (Electrical/Industrial System Technology Program Coordinator – Valdosta Campus), Jack Wiesner (Economics Instructor – Valdosta Campus), and Tabitha Wilcox (Cosmetology Program Coordinator – Valdosta Campus).
Sands-Anderson will represent Wiregrass at the Regional interview competition in April at the Tifton campus of Southern Regional Technical College. Three instructors from each of the three regions will make up the nine regional finalists who will be named in May via Technical College System of Georgia’s (TCSG) Facebook Live. The nine regional finalists will then move to the state level and compete for the title of State Rick Perkins Winner, TCSG’s Instructor of the Year.