Chef Ricky Watzlowick named SGTC 2021 Instructor of Year

Published 8:40 am Friday, March 26, 2021

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Photo: SGTC President Dr. John Watford (right) is shown above presenting culinary arts instructor Ludwig “Chef Ricky” Watzlowick (left) with the SGTC Instructor of the Year award for 2021.

Ludwig “Chef Ricky” Watzlowick has been named the 2021 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year for South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) for his work in the culinary arts program at SGTC. Dr. John Watford, SGTC President, presented the award to Watzlowick at a special ceremony held in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center rotunda on the Americus campus.  The Instructor of the Year finalists, their family members, and South Georgia Technical College officials and guests were on hand for the ceremony.

    “I am at a loss for words,” said Watzlowick after President Watford called his name as the SGTC 2021 Instructor of the Year.  “I was so honored to be nominated.  I am very surprised, but pleased. I was not expecting to be recognized for something that I love doing.  The students make it worthwhile. Being able to give students the confidence and knowledge to work in a field that they love and that will support them and their families is awesome.  Thank you so much for your support and I am truly honored.”

   SGTC Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year coordinator Vanessa Wall opened the ceremony and talked about the Rick Perkins Award process.  She recognized and thanked each of the finalists for agreeing to participate in the process.  The three SGTC finalists were:  Ludwig “Chef Ricky” Watzlowick of culinary arts, Dr. Raven Payne, general education – English instructor; and Chester Taylor – general education – Math instructor.

   Dorothea Lusane-McKenzie, SGTC’s cosmetology instructor and the 2020 Instructor of the Year, spoke briefly prior to the announcement of this year’s winner.  “I have truly enjoyed this year and I would like to thank Vanessa Wall for her support during this process.  She has made this an enjoyable year even with the COVID-19 restrictions.  To be able to represent South Georgia Technical College, my alma mater, has been a true honor.  And to each of you three finalists, I want you to know that if I can help you in any way, I am only a phone call away.”

    Prior to presenting the award, South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford said, “all three of these individuals are excellent instructors and I wish we didn’t have to select just one instructor of the year.  If you know these three individual instructors, you know they are all dedicated, fantastic, and very deserving of this honor.”

   He went on to add, “in my mind, there are three things that make a great instructor.  One is competence.  Instructors have to know the subject matter.  The second quality is that a great instructor cares about his or her students.  And the third most important aspect is that they have to be respected in their field.  They have to have that credibility from their peers and also the business community in order to help their students get jobs,” explained Watford.  “And each of these three go above and beyond to take care of their students and prepare them for the workforce and I am honored that they chose to teach at South Georgia Technical College.”

   After Watzlowick accepted the award from Watford, he was presented with a gift from Synovus Bank in Americus and also recognized with a monetary stipend from SGTC President Emeritus Sparky and Allene Reeves.  SGTC 2020 Instructor of the Year Dorothea McKenzie presented him with the Instructor of the Year banner to hang outside his program area.  He will also receive a premiere parking spot near his classroom for an entire year with Instructor of the Year signage.

The Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction honors the Technical College System of Georgia’s (TCSG) most outstanding instructors. The award has been an ongoing statewide event since 1991 and is designed to recognize technical college instructors who make significant contributions to technical education through innovation and leadership in their fields.

   As the SGTC Instructor of the Year for 2021, Watzlowick will compete with other Instructor of the Year nominees at the regional level, where three finalists will be chosen to represent the region in Atlanta in the statewide competition. The state winner will make many public appearances throughout the year, including addresses to the Georgia General Assembly, the governor and the TCSG Leadership Conference, to name a few, and will receive a $1000 grand prize. In addition to competing for the statewide Rick Perkins Award, Watzlowick will also deliver the commencement address at SGTC’s graduation ceremony in December 2021 as part of the Instructor of the Year honors.