Lanier Technical College's Dawson County Adult Learning Center recently welcomed a new full-time lead instructor.
Sharon Clark, 53, who first started working in adult education in 2005, began as lead instructor in August.
"I am here to do the best I can for this community. I am meeting new people and learning about opportunities in Dawson County," Clark said last week.
Clark first started her teaching career as a high school English and journalism teacher in Buna, Texas, before moving to Georgia 28 years ago.
She then served as a teaching assistant for 10 years in the Department of Language Education at the University of Georgia.
Clark said she has an idea of what it is like to be an adult going back to school and can identify with her students.
She returned to school to receive her master's degree and specialist degree from the University of Georgia after she had previously received her bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.
Clark is passionate about working with adults because they are "really motivated" to learn, she said.
"I can say that adult education is the most rewarding teaching-learning experience because when someone decides to go back and finish their education that helps not only them but the people around them," she said.
She sympathizes with adults' difficult schedules when they come back to school. She remembers how hard it can be to juggle classes with work and family.
"It takes family support because there are children to be cared for, meals to be cooked and households which need to be run while the parents or family members are here working on their GED," she said.
"We have a good support system and we will try to help people overcome those obstacles so they can get to their classes."
Clark is thankful for the center's volunteers and donors, especially the Reading Education Association of Dawson County.
"We have a lot of help here in Dawson County. The R.E.A.D. board is very supportive with supplying volunteers to teach classes and scholarship money to help students with the testing fee. It's nice to be in such a supportive community," she said.
Clark was previously the lead instructor at the Banks County Adult Learning Center and worked at the Lanier Career Center in Hall County.
She said these positions helped her understand how to best teach adult students.
"Our concern is meeting you where you are and helping you get where you need to be. It's very nonjudgmental and noncompetitive," she said.
The Adult Learning Center offers free GED evaluation classes, as well as classes in the areas of math, grammar and reading.
The center administers the GED test every other month and offers scholarships to those who are not able to afford the testing fee.
Sandy Long, instructor and administrative assistant, said the center is glad to welcome Clark.
"She is a great fit and we look forward to working with her to have a successful program with her as lead teacher," Long said.
Clark said one of her goals is to reach more than 100 GED graduates this year.
For more information on the center, call (706) 265-1690. The center is located at 388 Hwy. 9 North, Dawsonville.