VALDOSTA -- After five years of teaching at Valdosta Technical College, Amy Carter decided she could make a greater impact at the high school level. Apparently, the Georgia Association of Career and Technical Educators (GACTE) agreed.

Carter has been named Georgia's New Teacher of Year in Career Technical Training for 2002 by GACTE.

A surprised Carter had no idea she had been nominated much less had won the award.

"I was not expecting this at all," Carter said. "I was surprised and honored. Even though it is a true honor, the greatest reward in this job is more than peer recognition.

Carter was nominated by Elizabeth Pharr from Gwinnett County, whom she met at a workshop.

"She is a longtime teacher who now teaches other teachers," she said. "I met her at a workshop, and apparently from our discussions there, she thought I was doing an outstanding job."

Pharr is not by herself in that opinion. Mary Ann Hagler, executive vice president at Valdosta Technical College, supervised Carter for five years and was not surprised by the award.

"Amy's positive energy and contagious enthusiasm for learning makes her an outstanding educator," Hagler said. "She is great at whatever level she is working. She makes a difference wherever she is, whether it is adults or youth. She is truly making a positive difference for students in Georgia."

Listening to Carter talk about her students, the enthusiasm is clearly evident. Her job at Lowndes High is diversified cooperative training coordinator, which means she oversees students in the work study program.

"I try to instill motivation and goals in the students, plus an enthusiasm for life," Carter said. "I want them to see I'm happy working in a job that I enjoy."

In addition to placing students in jobs, Carter also has speakers come into the class to discuss career opportunities.

"I give them an opportunity to hear from a wide array of occupations so they can ask questions and get a true understanding of what they want to do with their life," she said.

In addition to helping students with their career goals, Carter emphasizes the need for a positive outlook on life.

"Most importantly, I want them to have to have a positive attitude no matter what happens to them in life," she said. "I want them to look for the positive aspects and to certainly learn a lesson from whatever may happen."

To contact Tanya B. O'Berry, please call 244-3400 ext. 239.

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