News Release

For media information, contact:
Zaundra Brown
Director of Public Relations and Information
404.297.9522, ext. 1757


GPTC Announces 2017 GOAL and Rick Perkins Award Winners

DeKalb County - January 26, 2017

Sonya Bingham, an accounting student attending Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC), has been selected as the college’s 2017 GOAL Award Winner.  Ramona Pollard, a Business Management Instructor is GPTC’s 2017 Instructor of the Year.  She also serves as Program Director for the Accounting and the Banking and Finance disciplines. As Instructor of the Year, she receives the college’s Rick Perkins Award (RPA) for Excellence in Technical Education.  Both awards were announced and presented today during a special awards luncheon in the college’s DeKalb Conference Center.

The Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) is a statewide program of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).  It honors excellence in academics and leadership among the state’s technical college students.  GOAL winners are selected at each of the state’s 22 technical colleges, as well as one Board of Regents college with a technical education division. 

The Rick Perkins Award selection criteria include teaching experience, innovative learning techniques, leadership, community involvement, and a strong commitment to the TCSG technical education mission.  The finalists for both GOAL and the RPA awards are interviewed by a panel of judges representing business, civic, industry and higher education in Georgia.

“Both Sonya Bingham and Ramona Pollard are so deserving of this award,” said Dr. Jabari Simama, President, Georgia Piedmont Technical College.  “Ms. Bingham represents the pure potential of our students, and Ms. Pollard represents the epitome of excellence in teaching and leadership.”

“If someone had asked me five years ago, where I thought I'd be today - nearing the completion of my Associate’s Degree - would not have been the answer, said Sonya Bingham.  “For 13 years I was stuck in an endless repetition of menial, dead end jobs, with mediocre pay.  I had not completed my higher education.  I was broke, undereducated, unhappy, and my mother was almost thirty thousand dollars in debt, and thus began that cycle of dead-end jobs,” she continued. “When I began researching for my return to college, my biggest concerns were price and scheduling.  Much to my surprise, due to the reasonable tuition rates that I could handle, I was able to fund my entire first year at Georgia Piedmont Technical College without any loans!”

“I believe in creating a culture within my classroom that expands beyond the classroom walls,” stated Ramona Pollard.  “I endeavor to encourage active involvement, build optimism toward end goals, and encourage the discovery of personal meaning within the student’s college experience.  I assert that these constructs are impossible without active engagement from the instructor.” 

Sonya Bingham and Ramona Pollard will now join their counterparts statewide as they proceed to their respective Regional judging competitions. The North Region competition is scheduled February 28, 2017.  The Regional finalists will then compete in the State competitions.  The State winners will be announced April 13, 2017. 

“We are very pleased to have Sonya Bingham and Ramona Pollard as our 2017 award recipients,” Dr. Simama continued. “We wish both of them the best; and we know these two outstanding individuals will represent us well in our regional and state competitions.”

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About Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Established in 1961, Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) is one of the top technical colleges in Georgia. As a student-centered institution, GPTC prepares individuals with the skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing, global economy. In August 2016, Georgia Piedmont was ranked among the top ten technical colleges in terms of enrollment by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. GPTC’s graduation rate is more than 74.3 percent, and its graduates secure employment at a level resulting in a 98.7 percent placement rate. With nearly 4,000 students, Georgia Piedmont’s adult education program is among the largest in the state. The college has 12 learning centers in DeKalb, Newton, Rockdale and Morgan counties. As set forth in its student catalog, Georgia Piedmont Technical College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, sex, religion, disability, age, political affiliation or belief, genetic information, veteran status, or citizenship status (except in those special circumstances permitted or mandated by law). Contact Lisa Peters, the ADA Coordinator, at 404/297-9522, ext. 1154, or at the main DeKalb campus, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 Room A-170; or Dr. Debra Gordon, the Title IX Coordinator, at 404/297-9522, ext. 1176, or at the main DeKalb campus, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 Room A-103 for assistance. For more information about our graduation rates and other important program information, please visit our website at

A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.