Wiregrass signs teacher education agreement

Submitted PhotoParticipating in the ceremony from Wiregrass Georgia Technical College are (seated) April McDuffie, interim vice president for academic affairs, and DeAnnia Clements, interim president; and (standing) Niki Y. Ogletree, executive director for academic affairs, and Holly Greene, dean of academic affairs. Representing South Georgia State College are (seated) Dr. Ingrid Thompson-Sellers, president, and Dr. Robert Page, vice president of academic and student affairs and (standing) Niki Hersey, assistant professor ELE/SPED program, Amy Fitzgerald, assistant professor ELE/SPED program, Dr. Kit Carson, chair and professor of education, ELE/SPED program, Silvanna Corona, administrative assistant, ELE/SPED program. Dr. Zena Lloyd, assistant professor ELE/SPED program, and Dr. Jodi Fissel, dean, arts and professional studies. Lonnie Roberts, president, and Amanda Morris, executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs, attended on behalf of Coastal Pines Technical College.

VALDOSTA – Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, South Georgia State College and Coastal Pines Technical College recently announced a historic collaboration that will provide education students an opportunity to obtain an elementary and special education four-year degree locally.

With the signing of the articulation agreement, students can "seamlessly transfer from WGTC and CPTC into the bachelor of science in elementary and special education program at SGSC," college officials said in a statement.

The dream of a four-year program became a reality when SGSC partnered with the University of North Georgia in 2018 to design, develop and implement an elementary and special education degree that was much needed and requested for this community and region, college officials said. 

With the support of the University System of Georgia and the Board of Regents and the work of many at SGSC, the program officially began fall semester of 2019. Memorandums of understanding have been signed with local school districts in order for the education students to train with college professors and also participate in intensive levels of clinical experiences in public school classrooms. 

The first graduates walked across the graduation stage in 2021 and 100% of them found employment in area school systems, college officials said.

SGSC President Dr. Ingrid Thompson-Sellers said she feels the articulation agreement with fellow technical colleges is a perfect fit. 

“We all have the same passion for educating young people, providing graduates who will positively contribute to the workforce and community and supporting the economic development of our region," she said. "This program features high academic standards and is distinct in the way the students are able to participate in a high level of supervised clinical experiences. Our technical college partners will lay the foundation for these future educators and SGSC will take them through a program that provides valuable training through coursework and exceptional experiences with classroom teachers in our area.

“This is truly a 'grow our own' type of teacher education program and we are grateful for the collaboration and partnership through this agreement,” she continued. “I extend my sincerest thanks to Mr. Lonnie Roberts, president of Coastal Pines Technical College, and Ms. DeAnnia Clements, interim president of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, for their confidence in partnering with us. This opens the door to work together in future endeavors and on behalf of the South Georgia State College team, we are truly honored and excited.”

The articulation agreement is the first of its kind with South Georgia State College and the local technical colleges. The significance is shared among the leadership of each participating institution.

“Coastal Pines Technical College is excited to partner with South Georgia State College to offer the opportunities this agreement provides to the students, citizens, and education systems in Southeast Georgia," Roberts said. "It is a great example of outstanding institutions of higher education working together to strengthen Georgia’s workforce and prepare for the future.”

“We are excited to have this articulation agreement in place for our students," Clements said. "We know there is a great need for educators in our local school systems, particularly in the areas of science and math, and this partnership will allow Wiregrass to help meet the needs of the communities we serve.”

The South Georgia State College program will qualify students for teacher certification through the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. Students graduating from this program will receive a bachelor of science in elementary/special education degree from SGSC with a reading endorsement. 

For more information, contact Dr. Kit Carson, department chair, at kit.carson@sgsc.edu or visit www.sgsc.edu/academics/bseadmissions.cms.

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