Wiregrass names Instructor of the Year

Submitted PhotoDarron Lanier, precision machining program coordinator, has been named Wiregrass Georgia Technical College’s 2022 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year; he is pictured with Wiregrass President DeAnnia Clements.

VALDOSTA — Wiregrass Georgia Technical College President DeAnnia Clements has announced that Darron Lanier, precision machining program coordinator, is the 2022 Rick Perkins Award winner. 

The Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction is the Technical College System of Georgia’s Instructor of the Year program, college representatives said in a statement.

The Rick Perkins Award program is designed to recognize and honor instructors who make significant contributions to technical education through innovation and leadership in their fields.

Each year, instructors are nominated for the Rick Perkins Award by their peers throughout the college. College finalists participate in a selection process and interview with a panel of their peers. 

This year’s finalists were Julia “Yvette” Fountain, adult education instructor, Valdosta campus, and Lanier, college officials said.

“Darron is a dedicated, hardworking, student-centered technical educator. He is knowledgeable about his field and will proudly give you a tour of his lab. He pushes his students to be the best they can be and he is their number one advocate when it comes to helping them find employment,” according to one of his nominations.

“I am very honored to receive this award," Lanier said. "It is great to know my peers see what I am trying to accomplish here at Wiregrass in building a program that meets our communities’ needs that keeps our industries making the products we all need for our daily lives.”

Lanier has been working in the machining industry for 32 years and has been teaching at Wiregrass Tech for four years. He describes precision machining this way: “If God didn’t make it, a machinist did.”  

After being named the Rick Perkins Winner for 2022, Darron said he loves what he does and he feels teaching isn’t a job, it’s a calling.

Wiregrass instructors nominated for the instructor of the year award (in alphabetical order): Tammy Acree, hotel-restaurant-travel management; Jessica Altman, psychology; Frank Barnett, pharmacy technology; Jessica Blackburn, culinary arts; Roy Bramley, auto collision repair; Cabot Carlton, welding and joining technology; Sherry Carroll, psychology instructor; Joy Clemons, cosmetology; Denese Davis, health information technology; India Denning, patient care assisting and allied health core; Deanna Edwards, management-supervisory development; Lisa Griffin, opticianry; Toby Heard, automotive program coordinator – Valdosta campus; Liane Holbrook, area director for academic affairs, psychology; Vicky Honeycutt, business education; Pam Jankowski, practical nursing; Joey Johnson, computer information systems technology; Terry Johnson, welding; Wayne Lee, barbering; April Lott, cosmetology; Rene Mason, early childhood care and education; Ashley Merritt, diesel mechanics; Donna Norman, mathematics; Shaneka Paschal, cosmetology; John Patten, media production; Janet Rasmussen, commercial truck driving; Jennifer Ray, radiologic technology; Wally Rewis, welding; Dr. Darlene Ridley, nursing; Dimple Sali-Carter, patient care assisting and allied health core; Melanie Simmons, patient care assisting and allied health core; Greta Smith, criminal justice technology; Songelyn Smith, early childhood care and education; Krista Spires, underage youth instructor; Phillip Taylor, industrial systems technology; Kayla Tillman, customer service/marketing management; Alison Watkins, business education; Hunter Wills, culinary arts; and Sandi Woodward, dental.

Lanier will represent Wiregrass at the regional interview competition in February at the Tifton campus of Southern Regional Technical College. All college winners will represent their colleges in April at the state Rick Perkins and GOAL (student of the year program) awards event where the region winners and the state winner will be announced.

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