Technical College System of Georgia Announces 2019 Student and Instructor of the Year

ATLANTA—The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) announced the state’s top technical college student and top technical college instructor for 2019. Heather Williamson of Central Georgia Technical College received the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) and Leyner Argueta of Georgia Northwestern Technical College received the 2019 State Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction.

“This is always an exciting time of year at TCSG because we have the opportunity to celebrate what truly makes us great—our students and instructors,” said TCSG Commissioner, Matt Arthur. “Heather and Leyner will make tremendous ambassadors for TCSG and I congratulate both of them for their hard work and dedication to technical education in Georgia.”

The GOAL program, now in its 48th year, recognizes the most outstanding technical education students at the 22 TCSG colleges. The Rick Perkins Award, now in its 29th year, highlights excellence in technical instruction. As award winners, Heather and Leyner will make public appearances as representatives for technical education during the next year, including meeting with the Governor and addressing the Georgia General Assembly.

Each year, selection for the GOAL and Rick Perkins Awards begins with the naming of the top technical education student and instructor at each college. Regional competitions follow and narrow the field to nine finalists for each award. In April, the nine finalists are interviewed in Atlanta by a panel of judges to decide a winner for each award.

Heather Williamson is an Early Childhood Care and Education student from Central Georgia Technical College. She received the GOAL program’s grand prize: a new, made-in-Georgia 2019 KIA Optima, courtesy of KIA Motors Manufacturing Georgia and delivered by Ed Voyles KIA of Chamblee.

Leyner Argueta, a Business Management instructor at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, is the winner of the 2019 Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction and a $1,000 cash award.

The first runner-up for the technical education student of the year was Ruth Atchley, an Early Childhood Care and Education student at Ogeechee Technical College. For the technical education instructor of the year, the first runner-up was Michelle Hill, a Pharmacy Technology instructor at West Georgia Technical College. 

The nine 2019 GOAL finalists were:

  • Heather Williamson, Central Georgia Technical College
  • Nhu Quynh (Sue) Nguyen, Chattahoochee Technical College
  • Victoria Moushon, Columbus Technical College
  • Brandon Neighbors, Georgia Northwestern Technical College
  • Tina-Kay Rhoden, Georgia Piedmont Technical College
  • Ruth Atchley, Ogeechee Technical College
  • Renea Hanna, Savannah Technical College
  • Mary Kelly Browning, Southern Crescent Technical College
  • Ellen Nikki Hinson, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College

The nine 2019 Rick Perkins Award finalists were:

  • Sherrie Rowe, Augusta Technical College
  • Katrena Felder, Coastal Pines Technical College
  • Leyner Argueta, Georgia Northwestern Technical College
  • Kelli Owen, Georgia Piedmont Technical College
  • Margaret Long, Gwinnett Technical College
  • Lecresicia Marion, Oconee Fall Line Technical College
  • Billie Walker, Ogeechee Technical College
  • Tiffany Fox, Southern Regional Technical College
  • Michelle Hill, West Georgia Technical College


About the Technical College System of Georgia

The 22 colleges of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) are Georgia’s top resource for skilled workers. TCSG offers world-class training in 600 associate degree, diploma and certificate programs to students who are trained on state-of-the-art equipment by instructors who are experts in their fields. The system also houses Georgia’s Office of Adult Education, which promotes and provides adult literacy and education programs, including the GED testing program, throughout the state. In addition, TCSG partners with companies through Quick Start, the nation’s top customized workforce training program, and through its individual colleges, to work with local industry to provide workforce and training solutions. For more information, visit


Mark D’Alessio



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