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4 Hall educators to be honored at career, technical education event
Kristi Sims Picture
Kristi Sims

Four Hall County educators, all in career and technical education, will be honored Tuesday as state award winners at the group’s annual conference.

The Georgia Association of Career and Technical Education started Sunday and runs through Wednesday in Atlanta.

To be honored are:

• Rhonda Samples, director of career, technical and agricultural education for the county, 2015-16 Work-Based Learning administrator of the year.

• Deana Harper, North Hall High School, Work-Based Learning coordinator of the year.

• Christy Carter, Flowery Branch High School, new Work-Based Learning coordinator of the year.

• Kristi Sims, North Hall High School, new marketing education coordinator of the year.

All four are eligible for the Work-Based Learning educator of the year, which will be named Tuesday.

• Samples has been with Hall County Schools for 34 and a half years. She is a graduate of North Hall High.

She began teaching at North Hall High in 1981, started the marketing program at Chestatee High School in 2002-03 and has been youth apprenticeship coordinator, assistant director and director for CTAE for the county schools.

She has been the state marketing education coordinator of the year and national marketing education coordinator of the year.

Samples got her bachelor’s degree in fashion from Brenau University and master’s in marketing education and education specialist in marketing education from the University of Georgia.

She also had the vocational director certification and administrative leadership specialist add-ons from UGA.

“CTAE courses engage young people in authentic work experiences and help mold a student’s future career path,” she said.

• Harper has been teaching for 19 years, all at North Hall High, where she started as a business teacher.

Before teaching, she worked in industry for 10 years.

She earned a Bachelor of Science in business education from North Georgia College in 1988 and a master’s in curriculum and instruction from American College of Education in 2012.

She is the state chair for Work-Based Learning.

“My business teacher from high school, Mrs. Ann Skelton, was my role model and inspiration,” she said.

She said she is thankful for the knowledge and experience gained in industry. “I’ve always felt that my personal experience validated my ‘expertise’ in the eyes of my students,” she said.

• Carter has been teaching for four years — two in marketing and two in Work-Based Learning.

She worked in public relations and event planning for a nonprofit agency before teaching.

She graduated from UGA with a Bachelor of Science in marketing education at UGA in 2012 after leaving college two years into her degree because of her father’s terminal illness.

“I have lived in Hall County for 32 years and my career journey to become an educator began in high school. My teacher/ WBL coordinator, Mrs. Jennifer Killingsworth, was amazing and I fell in love with CTAE,” Carter said. “I can vividly remember telling her that my career goal was ‘to one day have her job.’”

She added, “I am passionate about CTAE programs. It was instrumental to me when a family emergency landed me into the workforce unexpectedly. I had the skills necessary to enter the workforce and promote myself because of WBL.”

• Sims also has been teaching for four years. She started at North Hall High in 2012 as the marketing teacher.

Before teaching, she worked seven years doing internet marketing and sales for a local auto dealership.

At North Hall, she got the marketing program industry certified and opened and supervised a student-operated print shop. She has worked with 18 state Distributive Education Clubs of America winners.

Sims received a Bachelor of Arts degree in advertising and a master’s in teaching from UGA. She is a graduate of North Hall High and a former state DECA officer.

“I was inspired by my high school marketing teacher, Mrs. Rhonda Samples, who led me to discover my love of marketing and provided me with many opportunities to gain valuable real world experience,” she said.