Moultrie Technical College Mathematics program chair and instructor Tamara Gray of Tifton was selected recently by her peers at MTC as the school’s nominee for the state Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction. Gray teaches at the college’s Veterans Parkway Campus in Moultrie as well as through the MTC Online Studies department.
“To be chosen as the 2014 Rick Perkins Instructor of the year is truly a blessing. My wonderful colleagues and students are supporting me with an abundance of love and inspiration, and I am so humbled,” said Gray. “What a pleasure to embrace and fulfill the needs of students, families, communities and employers amongst the collaboration of outstanding instructors.”
Marketing Management program instructor Rebecca Clark, Accounting program instructor Cari Colby, and Radiologic Technology program clinical coordinator Buffie Spencer were also finalists for the 2014 award at Moultrie Tech. Gray, a native of Macon, also earned finalist status for the award in 2013.
Named in memory of Thomas “Rick” Perkins, an instructor at West Central Technical College who received the Department of Technical & Adult Education Commissioner’s Award of Excellence prior to his untimely death, the award is the Technical College System of Georgia’s version of an “instructor of the year” honor. It is presented to the person who has shown the most dedication to the job, commitment to students, and skill in the classroom.
“I chose to teach in a technical college because I want to make a major impact on student success by utilizing my knowledge in providing the mathematical foundation needed to apply in their field of study and beyond,” said Gray. “As a first generation graduate, helping others improve their lives is my mission. I absolutely love teaching math; and hearing students who fear math say, ‘I get it now’ are priceless moments. I can’t imagine another profession!”
MTC’s Acting President Jim Glass said of being her colleagues’ choice, “Ms. Gray's selection as our Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year shows that her hard work and dedication to our students is recognized by the entire faculty and staff of Moultrie Technical College. She is an outstanding instructor, mentor and coworker, and we are honored that she is our representative.”
Annually, all 25 technical colleges, plus a Regents system school with a technical division, nominate an instructor to represent their colleges for the statewide honor. Nominees then compete on a regional basis.
Gray will compete with instructors from Albany Tech, Altamaha Tech, Bainbridge College’s technical division, Okefenokee Tech, Savannah Tech, South Georgia Tech, Southwest Georgia Tech and Wiregrass Georgia Tech for the South Georgia regional title March 10 at Moultrie Tech’s Tifton Campus.
Finalists from each technical college region will be selected prior to TCSG’s GOAL awards week in April and will go on to compete for the state honor during that week in Atlanta.
“It is an honor to receive recognition for a career that I absolutely love. I look forward to representing Moultrie Technical College at the regional and state level with pride,” said Gray.
The state Rick Perkins Award winner serves as an ambassador for technical education in Georgia. He or she will make public appearances throughout the year including addresses to the Georgia General Assembly and the Georgia Technical College System Leadership Conference in the fall.
Gray earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics with a minor in Electronic Engineering Technology from Savannah State University in 2000. She added to her teaching credentials in 2007 by obtaining a master’s degree in Mathematics from Georgia Southern University and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Higher Education Leadership from Capella University.
Prior to joining the faculty at Moultrie Tech in 2006, Gray served as a math tutor at Macon College and for the Bibb County School System in Macon beginning in 2001. She also worked as an education outreach instructor and counselor at the Booker Washington Center in Macon from 2000 to 2004.
Gray became a graduate assistant at Georgia Southern in Statesboro in 2004, a position she held until she was hired at Moultrie Tech. However, the summer of 2005 began her transition into the Technical College System of Georgia as an adjunct math instructor for Ogeechee Tech, also in Statesboro.
While working as an MTC instructor and program chair for both classroom and online mathematics studies, in addition to being a facilitator for the new Massive Open Online Course program for math, Gray served as an adjunct math instructor at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton from 2010-12.
Among her professional affiliations, she has been a member of the Mathematical Association of America and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and has served as a speaker for the Savannah State University Science Seminar, a mentor for Emerging Young Leaders/Teens in Action, and as a math tutor at Harper and L.H. Williams Elementary Schools.
Her parents are John and Deborah Gray of Macon, and she has two siblings, Aqueelah and John Gray. She is a member of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church.