Shelia Thomas, Director of Financial Aid, was awarded the ninth Lewis I. Brinson, Sr. Leadership Award for the supervisor of the year.
Trevecca Doggett, Adult Education Services Administrative Assistant, was awarded the ninth James A. Bridges Vanguard Award for the staff member of the year.
Fitzgerald, GA – Wiregrass Tech recently recognized two employees for their dedication, hard work, and leadership skills by the faculty and staff of the college. Wiregrass employees annually nominate a staff member and a supervisor for their exemplary performance on the job. The nominations are narrowed down by a committee, and the finalists are interviewed by a panel of judges to decide who will be honored.
Trevecca Doggett, Adult Education Services Administrative Assistant, was awarded the ninth James A. Bridges Vanguard Award for the staff member of the year. She is described by her peers as one who goes above and beyond to help students, faculty, and staff. One nomination for Trevecca stated, “She does a tremendous job. She is willing to take on any task and does so with professionalism and courtesy. When we moved online, she took on the task of implementing Virtual Enrollment for Adult Education. This allowed the program to be one of the first in the state to offer this to students.” As the Department Assistant for Adult Education Services, Trevecca provides overall clerical support for Adult Education Services and unit employees in the northern region.
Trevecca stated her job never feels like “work.” “My favorite part is testing day,” shared Trevecca. “When students come back from the Testing Center, we all anxiously wait for their test scores to come in and then we celebrate together. That is an amazing feeling.” She also shared that being a Wiregrass Tech Alum, she enjoys being able to help students enroll into credit programs once they obtain their high school equivalency, and she loves sharing with them about student activities such as SkillsUSA and Student Government. “The best part, however, is when students return to tell us what they are doing and to see how proud they are of themselves, that’s priceless,” added Trevecca. She has worked at Wiregrass for almost five years.
The James A. Bridges Vanguard Award was created in honor of former Valdosta Technical College president, James A. Bridges. Bridges served the people of Valdosta and Lowndes County for 40 years, first as the vocational director of Valdosta High School, and then as president at Valdosta Tech. During his tenure, Bridges provided leadership as Valdosta Technical Institute became Valdosta Technical College. A strong believer in work ethics, he was the co-author of Georgia’s renowned work ethics curriculum. Thanks to his leadership, work ethics is not only taught at every technical college in Georgia, but also at post-secondary institutions all over the world.
Shelia Thomas, Director of Financial Aid, was awarded the ninth Lewis I. Brinson, Sr. Leadership Award for the supervisor of the year. One nomination for Shelia stated, “She leads in a manner that can best be described as servant leadership. She leads in a calm, inspiring and genuine way, with completely open communication to all employees. She demonstrates responsibility to the employees and the college, with an emphasis on service – service to students and the other college departments.” Serving Wiregrass as the Director of Financial Aid, Shelia is responsible for coordinating the student financial assistance function for the college, which includes preparing and maintaining active and inactive financial aid program files and records; preparing and analyzing financial aid award reports; and providing guidance and advice regarding grant and scholarship policies and processes, VA awards, vocational opportunities, educational requisites, and state policy. Shelia A. Thomas started her career with the State of Georgia at Ben Hill-Irwin Technical Institute in August 1994 as the New Connections to Work Coordinator for single parents and displaced homemakers. Her career progressed to East Central Technical College (ECTC) as an Admissions Career Planner and then to Financial Aid Director. She was selected as the Financial Aid Director for Wiregrass Georgia Technical College during the 2010 merger of ECTC and Valdosta Technical College.
After 27 years in technical education, Ms. Thomas has worked with thousands of students as they pursue their chosen occupation and graduate to high skilled jobs. Ms. Thomas says as Director of Financial Aid, her position is mission critical. Helping student access the financial aid options to help finance their education is vital to their success at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. Without financial aid assistance, an overwhelming majority of Wiregrass students would not be able to attend or complete their educational goals. The work that she and her dedicated, hard-working staff do directly contributes to students realizing their dream of providing a better life for their families. Although the daily workday consists of many after-hours worked, the passion to help Wiregrass students is the driving force. As a 10-year Air Force veteran, Ms. Thomas understands what it means to be dedicated to the mission.
Mrs. Thomas’ technical education journey has been further enhanced as she had the privilege of working with her father, Sammie L. Wilcox, Jr., who was the Masonry Instructor at Ben Hill-Irwin Technical Institute for over 23 years. When asked what advice she would give to future applicants, she replied, “Great experiences await you in technical education. You can achieve your dreams. Be dedicated to the work. You can go further at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, and it is so worth the journey!”
This award was named in honor of Lewis I. Brinson, Sr. for his visionary leadership, his unquestionable integrity, and his passion for technical education. Brinson was the founding director (president) of Ben Hill-Irwin Tech. The World War II veteran taught in the Ben Hill County School System for 20 years. During these 20 years, he served as the vocational director at Fitzgerald High School. Based on his integrity and outstanding leadership qualities, in 1968 the Board of Directors of Ben Hill-Irwin Tech selected Mr. Brinson to serve as the first director of the school, a position he filled for the next 15 years, retiring in 1983. Brinson was responsible for overseeing the construction of what is now the 100 through 400 wings of the Charles Harris Learning Center, as well as hiring the original faculty and staff of the college.
For more information about Wiregrass programs or the Adult Education Services, visit www.wiregrass.edu. Wiregrass is currently accepting new students for Fall Semester; classes start August 19.