Georgia Piedmont announced the winners of its GOAL (Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership) Student of the Year and RPA (Rick Perkins Award) Instructor of the Year on January 21 via a pre-recorded video.

GPTC Air-Conditioning Technology Student and Early Childhood Education Instructor Earn Student & Teacher of the Year Accolades


Georgia Piedmont Technical College has announced its winners for the 2022 student and instructor of the year. Twenty-five-year-old GOAL (Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership) winner Natasha Henry of DeKalb County doesn’t hesitate when asked what she hopes to do with her diploma in air-conditioning technology. “My ultimate goal is to do religious disaster relief,” Henry said, calling on her strong faith as a Jehovah’s Witness. Henry is honing her home-building skills and would eventually like to start her own HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning) company that specializes in helping those affected by natural disasters. Natasha Henry is scheduled to finish her program at GPTC this May; she also holds an associate degree from Georgia State University.

Natasha Henry
HVAC student Natasha Henry is GPTC’s Student of the Year for 2022.

The Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction for 2022 from Georgia Piedmont goes to Early Childhood and Education’s 64-year-old Sherry Lowery of Newton County – for the second time; her first win was in 2015. Faculty are nominated by their peers each year. Besides being shocked and honored in regards to her nomination and eventual second win, Lowery said, “My nominator is actually a work study student from the ECCE program who has taken each and every course I teach here in the college. I appreciate, too, that I am able to represent my peer faculty in this adventure.”

Sherry Lowery
Sherry Lowery is GPTC’s 2022 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year winner.

As the winners from Georgia Piedmont Technical College, Lowery and Henry will go on to compete on the regional stage this March. If named winners there, they will compete at the state level in April. Georgia’s GOAL student wins a new car and both state winners will be ambassadors for technical education across the Peach State, including addressing the General Assembly.

When asked how they may tout technical education if declared state winners, Lowery said, “Given the opportunity, I would not hesitate to mention that our programs are accredited, foundational, personal, and in many cases, FREE! Our students are sought after, highly respected, and employed.” Henry echoed the sentiment. “Technical College will get you where you would like to be at a quicker and cheaper rate, and if more was invested into it, then more resources could be obtained to help aid in the ease of learning and growth.”

Both the GOAL and RPA winners will be presented with $500 checks from the GPTC Foundation, in addition to enjoying their own parking spots for their one-year reign.

Congratulations to HVAC student Natasha Henry and Early Childhood Care and Education Instructor Sherry Lowery!