GWINNETT — Katherine Francois, chemistry instructor at Gwinnett Technical College was recently named the 2020 Gwinnett Technical College Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year. The Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction began in 1991 and is designed to recognize and honor technical college instructors who make significant contributions to technical education through innovation and leadership in their fields.
“It is truly an honor to have my colleagues feel that I am deserving of this award. I am grateful to represent the faculty, staff, and students that make up the body of the Gwinnett Tech family. As a relatively new instructor, it is surely the confidence boost I needed in order to know that I am doing something right,” states Francois.
Francois found her inspiration to teach when she was a teaching assistant in graduate school. “My whole life, I always told myself I didn’t have the patience it took to be a teacher. It wasn’t until I was a teaching assistant in graduate school that I felt and understood the impact I could have on students. We have all had a teacher that we recommend to our friends, but we have also all had a teacher that made us feel helpless, insecure, or unworthy. My goal is to always be the instructor that shows the students the potential they have.”
“My students inspire me the most to want to be a better instructor. I have students from all backgrounds and walks of life, coming into my classroom to make something of themselves. When they are putting everything on the line to start a job in a field they love, how can I not be there, not only as an educator, but as a supporter, motivator, and coach, and give them all I have?”
In regard to teaching at Gwinnett Tech, Francois states, “I have seen nothing but dedication and innovation from the faculty and staff here. It is truly a joy to see so many people completely and utterly focused on the students. Not to mention, the students are incredible! They are some of the most driven, persistent, hardworking, and kind people I have met.”
Francois holds a Master of Science in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Westminster College in Pennsylvania.