Rick Brownlee has begun his tenure as the new lead instructor for Lanier Technical College's Adult Education Center in Dawsonville.
The former head of the adult learning center in Roswell, Brownlee replaced Kathy Davis who stepped down as lead instructor, but remains a teacher with the school.
Brownlee said that his goal is to make the school one of the most active learning centers in the state.
"I plan to utilize every inch of this place and every resource available, the community, its people, everything," Brownlee said. "I want the building full of activity, to reach out and help people who want to learn to read better, earn degrees or speak English better.
"I want to help this community and its people to be more educated so that this school is not only the best in the Lanier Tech family, but the best in the State of Georgia," Brownlee added. "To do that, we'll need the help and support of the community, because there are a lot of people to be reached. They need to understand that the GED program is just a small part of what we do."
After graduating from high school in Dekalb County, Brownlee enrolled in the University of Georgia. Brownlee was unable to complete his degree at the time due to the sudden loss of his father.
"Dad had a heart attack, so I came back and worked in law enforcement," Brownlee said.
He served 15 years in law enforcement, including time as an undercover narcotics officer for the Fulton County Sherriff's department, before finishing his degree and going into education.
He worked for several years in the Dekalb County school district, where he won two Meritorious Teaching Awards, and served seven years as an assistant principal at a Cobb County alternative school before going into corporate education.
Brownlee was the director of training and development for National Home Builder, but said he was thankful for his public education background when the housing market began to decline.
"Thank God I had education," Brownlee said. "I started two part-time jobs teaching English as a second language and then Lanier Tech hired me full time."
Brownlee has two Master's of Arts degrees, one in Education Leadership and one in Human Performance Improvement, and a Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science.
He lives in Cumming with his wife, LouAnn, and has three children and two grandchildren.