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Dr. David Byers, Amy O’Dell, Bridget Rigby attend GMTE event
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Dr. David Byers, Amy O’Dell, and Bridget Rigby attend
4th annual Georgia Master Teacher Experience.

Bridget Rigby, standing, back row, third from right; Amy O'Dell, seated, third from left;
Dr. David Byers, seated, third from right.

Lanier Tech's Dr. David Byers & Amy O’Dell served as Leadership Staff at the 4th annual Georgia Master Teacher Experience (GMTE) where Technical College Instructors from throughout Georgia gathered for the event. Bridget Rigby, Director of Paramedicine, also attended the GMTE event as a participant. Rigby is the Lanier Technical College Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year for 2017.

Held in Thomasville at Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) the week of October 22-26, the event is designed to bring together teachers from the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) for an intensive week of focus on instructional innovations, motivational techniques, situational problem-solving, contextual learning, and information exchange. The concept of a seminar designed expressly for teachers originated in 1962 by Roger Garrison at Westbrook College in Portland, Maine. Since that time, the concept has become a national movement with programs in numerous states across the nation and around the world.

                     Dr. David Byers and Amy O'Dell with Claudia Grooms, GMTE Director.

The Georgia Master Teacher event is designed as an experiential learning event developed by teachers for teachers. The mission of the Georgia Master Teacher Experience is to improve instruction by revitalizing faculty through interdisciplinary collaboration. GMTE Leadership Staff must have been participants in previous GMTE cohorts.

O'Dell noted, "It was an honor to serve, facilitate, and learn with this amazing group of people. My understanding of servant leadership has grown exponentially, and I am excited to bring this back to my classroom and to the College. I am thankful that Lanier Tech's Administration has supported GMTE, and I hope we continue to send participants in the future. TCSG will continue to grow stronger as a result of this program."

Staff are selected by the GMTE Director based on the following criteria: excellence in teaching, high ethical and leadership standards, the ability to collaborate and facilitate, and a willingness to serve others.

Dr. Byers remarked, "I welcome this event each year as an opportunity to serve and share educational experiences with great instructors from all over Georgia. The framework of the course is a secret, but I challenge every instructor in TCSG to learn this secret, because it is vital to teaching!"

GMTE Leadership Staff facilitated experiential sessions with teachers from the Technical College System as an exchange of learning, teaching, and philosophy. Leadership Staff led participants in the sharing of experiences, strategies, and instructional methods in the quest of improving teaching. The focus of discussion and activities for the week was on innovations and challenges of instruction in technical college education. GMTE Leadership Staff is critical to ensuring that collaboration occurs with faculty from diverse instructional areas.

The Director of the Georgia Master Teacher Experience, Claudia Grooms, RN, MSN, explains, “The strength of this experience is in the support that each teacher receives from the other teachers that have gathered from throughout the state. GMTE Leadership Staff facilitate the week-long exchange of ideas and collaboration and help to develop a network of support and encouragement among participants that can be taken back to individual colleges to improve teaching and learning. The premise of “Teachers Teach Teachers” requires that GMTE Leadership Staff model excellence in service, inter-disciplinary collaboration as well as facilitation and instructional methodologies.” In the words of one Staff member, “Seeing the excitement for teaching return in an instructor who has become weary, or watching an instructor as they realize their worth is an experience that cannot be matched.”

The Georgia Master Teacher Experience culminates with a Celebration Event where participants are recognized for their contributions to innovative teaching. In addition to their peers, participants were recognized by the Director, Claudia Grooms, Dr. Craig Wentworth, SRTC President, Benita Moore, TCSG Curriculum Specialist, Dr. Kathryn Hornsby, TCSG Assistant Commissioner, and Matt Arthur, TCSG Deputy Commissioner.

Lanier Technical College offers over 50 programs of study in some of the nation's fastest-growing career fields including healthcare, energy, business and industry, and public or private service. More information about Lanier Technical College may be obtained by calling 770.533.7000 or by visiting Lanier Technical College is a Unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.

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Effective Dec. 3, 2018, Lanier Technical College's new address will be: 2535 Lanier Tech Drive, Gainesville, GA 30507
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