Gwinnett Technical College Names 2013 Instructor of the Year

February 08, 2013

Gwinnett Technical College Names 2013 Instructor of the Year
Speech Program Director Dr. Penny Joyner Waddell is GTC's Rick Perkins Award of Excellence in Technical Education Honoree


Dr. Penny Joyner Waddell, speech program director at Gwinnett Technical College, has been honored with the college's 2013 Rick Perkins Award of Excellence in Technical Education.

The Rick Perkins Award of Excellence in Technical Instruction honors technical education's most outstanding instructors. The award has been an ongoing statewide program since 1991 and the recipients are technical college instructors who make significant contributions to technical education through innovation and leadership in their fields.

"It's a true privilege working with Dr. Waddell," says Dr. Victoria Seals, vice president of academic affairs for GTC. "She really embodies this award because of her eagerness to see our students succeed both inside and outside the classroom. She brings excitement and innovation to teaching, and a passion for her students to all that she does on campus."

Dr. Waddell has been with Gwinnett Tech since 2002. She holds a bachelor's degree in speech education from Wesleyan College, a Master of Education in instructional technology from Troy State University, and a Doctor of Education in instructional leadership higher education from Argosy University. Before coming to Gwinnett Tech, Waddell served as a speech instructor at Georgia Perimeter College.

"I have the opportunity to motivate, inspire and energize adults who want to mold themselves into someone better than the person they were when they first walked into my classroom," says Dr. Waddell. "Teaching students who are ready to learn is a dream come true."

Dr. Waddell's commitment to furthering instructional technology is well-known on campus where she uses a variety of tools and technology to help engage students, including the textbook she authored, Going from Stress to Success, which is now in its sixth edition. In addition to her role as a program director and instructor, she is involved in numerous on-campus activities and clubs, such as C.L.I.M.B. Personal and Professional Leadership Development, travel and study abroad programs, the Coaching for Life program, Toastmasters International Club and SKILLS USA. She is also a volunteer tutor in the college's Learning Success Center. She is active in her community with the First Baptist Church of Grayson, the Gavel Club at George Walton Academy, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, Georgia Baptist Children's Home, and the Gwinnett County Battered Women's Shelter.

Dean of Academic Affairs Rebecca Alexander, who works closely with Dr. Waddell, applauds her teaching attributes, "We are so honored to have Penny represent Gwinnett Tech as this year's Rick Perkins candidate. She understands the value of technical education in general and of Gwinnett Tech in particular – as a dedicated instructor. Besides that, with her infectious can-do attitude and smile, Penny inspires her students and colleagues alike!"

Also nominated for Gwinnett Tech's Rick Perkins Award were:

  • James Masters, Dental Laboratory Technology
  • Gary Carter, Computer Science
  • Russ Pomrenke, Criminal Justice
  • Aaron Poulsen, Horticulture
  • Tiffany Parks, English
  • Mark Newton, Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management
  • Umber Hanief, Learning Support
  • Renee Baca, Nursing
  • Lea Anna Harding, Dental Assisting

Gwinnett Tech offers more than 50 degree, diploma and certificate options that can be completed in two years or less. For more information, visit or call 770-962-7580.

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