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What’s Left is What’s Right: Trucking With Dyslexia

Teaching To The Student at GNTC

 

Ashley Petty sits in the cab of a GNTC tractor-trailer while her instructor stands on the ground alongside the open door to the cab.
“Gordon County, Georgia’s Ashley Petty poses from the cab of a Georgia Northwestern Technical College Commercial Truck Driving program tractor-trailer. Standing in the foreground on a hot day at the college’s truck driving facility is Georgia Northwestern Technical College Program Director Robert Browder.”

 

(Northwest Georgia) – Not knowing which way to turn in life is a very common feeling among most adults. Whether it is figuring out how to pay the bills or how to handle raising a child, 32-year-old Ashley Petty knows those struggles all too well.

But for Petty, not knowing which way to turn in life is more than just an expression. It’s a trial that has led to a triumph in earning her Commercial Truck Driving certification at Georgia Northwestern Technical College.

You see, Petty suffers from dyslexia. The disorder makes learning to read, write, interpret symbols, etc… much more difficult than it is for your average college student. It doesn’t affect a person’s intelligence, but it makes cracking the code of everyday life a puzzle all on its own.

“I have what is called directional dyslexia,” said Petty in an interview at the Georgia Northwestern Technical College Commercial Truck Driving facility in Walker County, Georgia. “I had a tough time being able to figure out directions in transportation. If an instructor told me to turn the wheel to the right or left, I really had a problem. I had to find a new way to learn.”

For anyone who has ever attempted to “back-up” a trailer of any size as it is hitched to a pulling vehicle, they know it is a difficult task. Now, Petty was previously a bus driver for a Georgia school system before coming to GNTC. “However, that’s a different thing altogether when you back-up a bus. It isn’t split in the middle,” said Georgia Northwestern Technical College Commercial Truck Driving Program Director Robert Browder. “Manipulating the tractor and the trailer at the same time requires concentration and precision. With Ashley’s dyslexia, she saw this as a major problem to overcome. But, we just realized it meant we simply needed to teach her a little differently.”

Commercial Truck Driving instructions will have drivers make left or right-hand turns, as well as have to back up their trailers in one direction or the other. “I spoke with our Disabilities Services specialists at the college and they helped us think of some great learning techniques,” said Browder. “When we want her to turn the wheel to the right, she immediately knows to turn towards the hand with the ring on it. She now wears a ring on her right hand to remind her. Now, her ring hand is her right hand. She turns towards the ring.”

There are other little short cuts that Petty has learned along the way thanks to her college instructor and her classmates. “I’ve battled dyslexia all my life,” said Petty. “Now, my 10-year-old, Sidney, also lives with it and battles it herself in her classroom, too. However, partly as a result of how I’ve had to learn the hard way, she is now really starting to perform well in school. We simply wouldn’t let her take the easy way out. A good school and patient teachers have made that adjustment an easier one for Sidney at her school and me at mine.”

Before settling down in Gordon County, Georgia, Petty and her daughter lived in Murphy, North Carolina. She says one of her daughter’s teachers in North Carolina really made the struggle hit home for her. “She had a teacher that told us that if she can’t learn it the way she’s teaching it, she’d never learn it,” said Petty. “I told her how that’s not true. Sometimes, you have to teach something a little differently for particular students. Not all students learn in the same way.”

“What we found was that Gordon County has plenty of teachers who have been learning to work with children with all kinds of learning disabilities,” said Petty. “As a result, she is now right at her grade level in areas she had previously been struggling with before coming to the new school.”

As a student of Tolbert Elementary, her daughter is getting care and instruction she personally never got to enjoy when she was young. With more than 700 students at Tolbert Elementary, it is nearly five times the size of her last school in North Carolina. “The school may be larger, but the teachers at Tolbert have really taken the time with Sidney to help her learn how to succeed academically.”

Now, Commercial Truck Driver-to-be Ashely Petty may have received similar care and instruction at Georgia Northwestern, however, when she was a child, life experience alone taught her quickly she would learn in her own way. Originally from Cobb County, Georgia, her biological parents separated when she was only four years old. Her mother would die four years later. She then bounced from group home to group home before ever having a chance of being adopted. From being a troubled teen and being relocated to state youth facilities to going through the adoption process at 13-years-old, Petty learned early that things were simply different for her. She learned that things would never come easy.

“My adopted mother noticed I had signs of dyslexia in high school,” said Petty. “I could figure out the answer to questions. However, I couldn’t prove it on paper. I was inverting numbers whenever I did math problems.”

A 2007 graduate of Fannin County High School in Blue Ridge, Georgia, Petty wasn’t sure what kind of career her future would hold. After graduation, she worked several different jobs, never really gaining any traction in any of them. So, after more than a decade of dealing with foster families, her troubled teen years, and a struggle just to survive high school and now life, she knew she didn’t want the same thing for her daughter.

“Now, while in college, I made myself work harder,” said Petty. “My boyfriend is a diesel mechanic. There were times where when he was working a commercial truck yard, I would come to visit and I would get the chance to get into the cab of a tractor-trailer. With me driving a stick-shift car, working a manual transmission in a tractor-trailer felt pretty natural to me.” Once she took her first drive around the truck yard, Petty was hooked.

Today, just one class away from having a two-year Associate’s Degree, Petty is looking to a brighter future for her and her little family. But, it’s a future that has roots in the past. It turns out after meeting her biological family over the past few years, she learned her biological grandfather was a truck driver. As well, several other members of her family had long-hauls down the highways on a regular basis, themselves.

Now in 2018, Petty is looking for close-to-home options for a commercial truck driving opportunity which will allow her to hit the open road. “I’ve spoken with some local companies just recently and hope to hear from them, soon,” said Petty. “But, I really need to be close to home for my girl. I’m proud of the opportunities I’m now facing, but I want to be able to help my daughter get a jump start on life that was almost impossible for me to have when I was young.”

GNTC offers more than 200 other programs online and on-campus. Campuses are located in Ringgold (Catoosa County Campus), Rome (Floyd County Campus), Calhoun (Gordon County Campus), Rockmart (Polk County Campus), Rock Spring (Walker County Campus), and Dalton (Whitfield Murray Campus).
Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 16,402 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,750 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 8,652 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. The Student Help Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 844-348-7659 or via online chat at https://helpcenter.gntc.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

Summer Semester Starts Soon

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Morgan Makes Finals, Kinman Semis at State

maceyintv
GNTC’s Macey Morgan, left, gets ready for an on-camera interview during a portion of the 2018 State GOAL Competition in Atlanta, Georgia this week.

(Atlanta, GA) – GNTC’s Macey Morgan may not have taken home the top prize in the 2018 State GOAL competition, but she was one of nine remaining finalists in Atlanta, Georgia this week. The competition is held each year to help determine the state’s top student in the Technical College System of Georgia.

GNTC instructor Stephanie Kinman was a semi-finalist in the Rick Perkins Award competition also being held this week in Atlanta, Georgia. The Perkins Award is given to the state’s top instructor in the Technical College System of Georgia.

Congratulations to Macey Morgan (GOAL) and Stephanie Kinman (Perkins) for representing Georgia Northwestern Technical College exceptionally well this week!

Logistics of Life in the Spotlight: The Warren Family at Georgia Northwestern

(Catoosa County, GA) – This may be the cutest set of pictures you’ve seen today. Watch for the story of Catoosa County Campus student Jason Warren and his young family. You’ll hear more about them later this week. Jason’s son, Lucas, is the 2018 Gerber Baby Spokesmodel!

Hear from this GNTC Logistics and Supply Chain Management major and his wife Cortney about their very special toddler and the spotlight that has been cast on them these past couple of months; as well as the light they hope gets shed on families around the world who face challenges each and every day.

Have a great week at GNTC!

 

Cassandra Wheeler Named Newest Board of Directors Member at GNTC

Two people standing at the foot of a long indoor staircase on the Gordon County Campus of GNTC
Pete McDonald (right), president of GNTC, congratulates Cassandra Carter Wheeler (left), northwest regional director at Georgia Power, for becoming the newest member of GNTC’s Board of Directors.

Cassandra Carter Wheeler, northwest regional director at Georgia Power, was recently sworn in as Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) newest Board of Directors member by Pete McDonald, president of GNTC, at a meeting held on the Gordon County Campus in Calhoun.

Wheeler has served in leadership positions at Southern Company subsidiaries for more than 17 years. In her current role, Wheeler is responsible for the operations, sales, customer service, economic and community development, and external affairs activities for Georgia Power customers in the northwest Georgia region. Wheeler works out of the regional office in Rome.

Prior to becoming northwest regional director, Wheeler served as plant manager at Plant Hammond, Georgia Power, 2014-17; plant manager at Plant Gadsden, Alabama Power, 2012-14; maintenance manager at Plant Miller, Alabama Power, 2009-12; maintenance and engineering manager at Plant Yates, Georgia Power, 2009; compliance and support manager at E.C. Gaston Steam Plant, Alabama Power, 2006-09; operations supervisor at E.C. Gaston Steam Plant, Alabama Power, 2006-07; assistant to the vice president of Governmental Affairs, Southern Company, 2005; assistant to the executive vice president of Power Generation, Southern Company, 2003-05 and 2006; operations team leader at Miller Steam Plant, Alabama Power, 2001-03; E/I maintenance team leader at Miller Steam Plant, Alabama Power, 2002-03; and senior engineer at Miller Steam Plant, Alabama Power, 2001-02.

She also was a design engineer for Mead Corporate Engineering from 1997 to 2001 and served as an electronics/avionics technician in the U.S. Air Force from 1987 to 1994.

Wheeler received a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati and master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Alabama.

Georgia Northwestern’s Board serves both in a community advisory capacity and in a limited administrative capacity, performing certain oversight responsibilities as designated by State Board policy. The local Board is comprised of 16 members from the business and industrial communities from nine counties in the service area (Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties). State Board Policy defines the role and responsibilities of the local Board. Board members are selected because of their experience, ability, and dedication to deal with issues that relate to the mission of occupational education and are without contractual, employment, or personal financial investment in the school.

Listed are members of GNTC’s Board of Directors showing (left to right) the Board member’s name, county, place of employment, and title:

• Rhonda Beasley, Walker, Roper Corporation, manager of Human Resources
• Robert Bradham, Whitfield, Dalton Chamber of Commerce, president and CEO
• Vann Brown, Whitfield, Brown Ox Ventures, Inc., president
• Dr. James Cantrell, Dade, Dade County Board of Education, director of School Operations
• James “Jay” Henry, Catoosa, Shaw Industries, director of Operations Support
• Albert “Al” Hodge, Floyd, Rome Floyd Chamber, president and CEO
• Paul Meredith, Chattooga, Mohawk, director of Manufacturing
• William “Terry” Nesbitt, Gordon, U. S. Army, retired Major General
• Robert “Bob” Owens, Floyd, OTR Wheel Engineering, Inc., chief financial officer
• Brittany Pittman , Murray, Murray County Government, former sole commissioner
• Kenna Stock, Floyd, Harbin Clinic, chief executive officer
• Michele Taylor, Gordon, Calhoun City Schools, superintendent
• John Thomas, Whitfield, Dalton Utilities, chief energy services officer
• Cassandra Wheeler, Floyd, Georgia Power, northwest regional director
• Dr. Phillip Williams, Chattooga, Trion City Schools, superintendent

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 16,402 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,750 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 8,652 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start. For more information about GNTC, visit us at GNTC.edu or contact a Student Help Center at any one of our six campus locations at 866-983-4682. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

Great Race, Great Automotive Team From GNTC

GNTC’s Automotive Technology program will compete in the Great Race in 2018!

The Great Race – a cross country endurance race with vintage vehicles – will take place from June 23 to July 1 and will start in Buffalo, N.Y., and end in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada! Two GNTC students will alternate as drivers and two GNTC students will alternate as navigators in a 1955 Desoto Fireflite and compete in the X-Cup Division. Watch the video to learn more about the Great Race and “Team Desoto.”

Generals Stop In For A Visit At The CCC

(Catoosa County, GA) – Students from Heritage High School (Catoosa County, Ga) toured the Catoosa County Campus (CCC) of Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) Thursday. GNTC handles the largest number of dual-enrollment students in the state of Georgia.

Deadline for summer admissions to GNTC online and/or on-campus is April 23.

#getfocusedgethired

College classroom full of high school students listen to college instructor at front of the class.
Students from Catoosa County, Georgia’s Heritage High School stopped in for a tour of GNTC’s Catoosa County Campus in Ringgold, Georgia Thursday.

Elizabeth Anderson Named Vice President of Academic Affairs at GNTC

Close-up picture of Dr. Elizabeth Anderson from Georgia Northwestern Technical College.
Dr. Elizabeth Anderson of Rockmart the new vice president of Academic Affairs at GNTC.

 

(Rome, Georgia) – Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) has named Dr. Elizabeth Anderson of Rockmart the new vice president of Academic Affairs. She will fill the role previous held by Dr. Mindy McCannon, who retired in February.

 

Anderson brings more than 16 years of educational leadership experience to her new position at GNTC. Prior to her new role, she served as the dean of Arts and Sciences at Chattahoochee Technical College (CTC).

 

As vice president of Academic Affairs at GNTC, Anderson is responsible for the administration and evaluation of instructional services at all six GNTC campuses, off-site locations, and online education. She also is responsible for new program development and implementation, library services, disability services, tutoring, and apprenticeships.

 

Anderson is a member of the Georgia Mathematics Advisory Council with the Department of Education as the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) representative of higher education.

 

“We are very proud to have Dr. Elizabeth Anderson join the staff of GNTC as our new vice president of Academic Affairs,” said Pete McDonald, president of GNTC. “She brings many years of higher education experience to benefit the students of GNTC having served as a faculty member and academic dean at Chattahoochee Technical College.”

 

Anderson began her educational career as a mathematics teacher at Summerville Middle School, 2002-03, mathematics teacher at Cedartown High School, 2003-08, and a Learning Support Mathematics Instructor at Kennesaw State University, 2009-11.

 

At Chattahoochee Technical College, Anderson served as an instructor of Mathematics, 2008-11, associate dean of Mathematics, 2011-15, and dean of Arts and Sciences, 2015-18. She also served as the TCSG math representative for the Georgia Department of Education’s committee for developing effective assessment in K-12 education.

 

Additional higher education academic leadership duties at CTC included serving as program director for Interdisciplinary Studies, presenter for CTC’s Learning Support Redesign at the SACSCOC Annual Meeting, 2013, advisor of the National Technical Honor Society, 2013-16; CTC Council on Advisement, 2015-16; Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Committee, 2013; GOAL student interview panel, 2012; and Innovative Advisory Committee, 2011.

 

“I am truly excited to be here and be a part of the GNTC team,” said Anderson. “I am confident we will do great things for our students and community.”

 

Anderson earned a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from Jacksonville State University, master’s degree from JSU in Secondary Mathematics Education, and a doctoral degree in Higher Education Leadership from Mercer University. She received Magna Cum Laude honors as an undergraduate and was a member of Phi Kappa Phi at MU.

 

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 16,402 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,750 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 8,652 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. The Student Help Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 844-348-7659 or via online chat at https://helpcenter.gntc.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

Term B Dates You Need To Know NOW!

Bobcat student is standing close the camera. The back of his blue Bobcats t-shirt is in the foreground. Other people are in the background out of focus.
Dates “Term B” Students Need To Know Now!

Below are a few important upcoming dates you MUST KNOW for Term B at GNTC!

February 26                Last day to register for B term until drop/add opens

February 28                Payment Deadline

March 1                       Drop for non-payment

March 5                       First day of B term

March 5 – 7                 Drop/add

 

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