Funeral science education student, Army veteran Rodrigo Lopez of Columbus, has been named Columbus Technical College’s winner of the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) for 2021. Dental hygiene instructor Amber Brazile of Smiths Station, Alabama has been named the Rick Perkins/Tim Justice Instructor of the year.
The announcements were made at Columbus Tech’s GOAL recognition event on February 23 and at the Rick Perkins/Tim Justice event on March 8 in the school’s McCaulley Auditorium. Both were posted live on the college’s Facebook page.
Lopez was chosen by a panel of local leaders over three other nominees for the award. The runners-up were Zackery Berger/biology, Roy Mayoral/auto collision & repair, and BreAnne Nowlin/surgical technology. Joining Brazile were semi-finalist Crystal Waye/human resource management, finalist Matthew Creech/general studies (math), and finalist Jimmy Habersham/business.
“I retired from the military and wanted to continue to serve others,” Lopez said. “Being in the funeral service industry was the perfect fit for me. Columbus Tech is very affordable and has one of the only funeral science education programs in the state.”
Brazile has been in the dental hygiene area of Columbus Tech for almost six years; she’s an alumna of the program.
“When I see my students, I see myself all those years ago,” Brazile said. “Technical education programs in Georgia provide highly qualified, passionate, and competent graduates that become great assets to the companies and organizations that employ them.”
Both winners will proceed to regional judging in April where nine regional finalists – three finalists from the three regions – and eventually the state winners, will be announced in May via TCSG’s Facebook Live event.
The grand prize for the student winner includes a brand new car, courtesy of Kia, the statewide corporate sponsor of the GOAL program.