Grayson Tech, Gwinnett Tech Partner for New Veterinary Surgical Suite on High School Campus

By Taylor Denman Sep 25, 2019


Dressed in scrubs embroidered with the Grayson Technical Education Program, a handful of Grayson High School students beamed at the new surgical suite that will take their veterinary science education to the next level.

Rebecca Scoggins is a senior at Grayson High School who wanted to be a veterinarian before she realized she was allergic to animal hair. She powers through, though, as a member of Grayson Tech’s veterinary science program, partly because seeing medicine and science in action is intriguing.

A partnership between Grayson Tech and Gwinnett Technical College will allow Scoggins and her classmates to observe routine veterinary surgical procedures and perform some hands-on tasks in post-op.

“Once you know what you’re going to be seeing and (Instructor Jennifer Allen) can explain to you what’s going on so you have more information before internships, you can impress the doctors with what you’re learning from this program and actually know what’s going on,” Scoggins said.

Most students in Grayson Tech’s veterinary science program ultimately want to pursue that rigorous path, according to instructor Jennifer Allen. But the Grayson Tech surgical suite will also serve students from Gwinnett Technical College who opt to take another career in the veterinary field: a career as a veterinary technician.

Veterinary technicians are credentialed professionals that assist veterinarians by providing anything from an initial exam of a patient to administering vaccines or anesthesia and preparing for surgery. The new Grayson Tech suite will be utilized by Gwinnett Tech Veterinary Technology students on Wednesday when veterinarian Michelle Goodnight will lead surgeries as Gwinnett Tech students assist her.

The surgeries are routine electives — a spay, neuter and mass removals — but open up Grayson Tech students to experience the day-to-day of a veterinarian and technician. Patients are provided by Gwinnett Animal Shelter, which offers its adoptable patients to Gwinnett Tech for spays or neuters before adopting them out to families.

“We’ll have at least one spay, one neuter and one mass removal (on Wednesday) to feel for those surgeries and have the flow down and remember all the equipment we need to remember,” Goodnight said.

The following Wednesday, Grayson Tech students will observe the surgery and take charge of record-keeping and monitoring vital signs of animals. Allen anticipated introducing her students to preforming lab work to check for internal pesticides and in-house blood work.

“It’s going to go above and beyond just surgery,” Allen said.

The partnership between Gwinnett Tech and Grayson Tech started with a conversation between Allen and Gwinnett Tech veterinary technology program director Brian Cheek. An American Veterinary Medical Association accreditation audit required Gwinnett Tech to move from the surgical suite at the Gwinnett Animal Shelter into a new facility to complete surgeries. The Gwinnett Animal Shelter suite included space for both surgical prep and procedure in the same room, but it’s no longer deemed medically safe to perform both tasks in the same space.

Allen, a graduate of Gwinnett Tech’s veterinary medicine program, spoke with Cheek about partnering to construct a suite inside Grayson’s technical school wing so that high school juniors and seniors in the program can observe while vet tech students gain the necessary experience in an environment up to industry standards.

“Tying in another Gwinnett County entity was a great opportunity for everything to be all-inclusive,” Allen said.

Construction of the surgical suite was funded by the General Obligation Bond Program that passed last November. Equipment in the surgical suite was paid for by Gwinnett Tech and Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Career and Technical Education department.

There are 52 students enrolled in Grayson Tech’s veterinary science program, split into two classes. Students will rotate in small groups of approximately four students per week observing surgeries. Some of the first Grayson students that observe elective procedures have already completed 15-week internships at local practices. Future students in the veterinary science program at Grayson Tech will receive hands-on experience from the surgical suite prior to their internships.

“This is going to get them a lot more prepared prior to that internship,” Allen said. “They’re not going to be seeing things for the first time. They’re not going to asked to restrain something or hold an animal or help with post-operative procedures for the first time.”

Principals exposed to local, in-demand careers during 'Field Trip'

via Gwinnett Daily Post by Taylor Denman

Heraeus materials have been part of some of the most significant events in aerospace advancement.

The German manufacturing company developed glass sensors 50 years ago that were used on the Apollo 11 mission to gauge the distance of the moon from a laser sensor on Earth. Recently, materials from the company, which has a plant in Buford, were part of the satellite Gravity Probe B that helped proved Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.

On Thursday, though, the company’s sights were set on the surrounding communities when it hosted groups of Gwinnett County Public Schools principals and members of its central office for a presentation and tour of its Buford quartz glass plant.

Roughly 60 GCPS school leaders, mostly high school and middle school principals, as well as a few district administrators, heard from Heraeus employees about their career paths that led them to the company, and how GCPS can better prepare students for careers in manufacturing or engineering.

“Long term, we need to make sure we keep the skills that keep manufacturing here,” Heraeus’ Buford Plant Manager Tim Jenkins said. “We need to, in my mind from a corporate perspective, give back to the community. Even if we personally don’t gain from this, if the community gains, we gain.”

College isn’t for everyone, but if Heraeus can find job candidates with the problem-solving capacity and basis in mathematics necessary to be successful in the industry, the company can teach them the business aspect of the job.

The Principals Field Trip exposed local school leaders to career possibilities and opened the door for partnerships in the tech and health care industries, as well. Heraeus was the first of four stops on GCPS’ Principal Field Trip on Thursday, which also included Gwinnett-based factories and headquarters for Okabashi, IBM and Kaiser Permanente.

“We’re constantly looking for that workforce readiness, but also the ability to move into a college or a career with the skills that they need,” GCPS Associate Superintendent Steve Flynt said. “So partnering with the industry experts gives us the opportunity to learn what they need as far as skills, and what we can prepare our students to do as we go into post-secondary.”

The guests from GCPS first viewed a presentation from several employees at the Buford plant, who outlined what they look for in candidates for entry-level jobs with the company. It doesn’t always have to pertain to technical skills, but sometimes temperament.

Principals then toured a few parts of the facility and observed some of the pristine glass tubes being melted and molded. The fused quartz rods can weigh hundreds of pounds and applied as components in welding or millimeters thick and used for the conductive cores in fiber-optic cables.

Meadowcreek High School principal Tommy Welch said he wasn’t only interested in the kinds of jobs high school graduates could enter into with an associate degree, but some of the entry-level jobs that require bachelor’s degrees, doctorate degrees or masters in business administration. He is looking to better inform himself to keep Meadowcreek’s four academies on the cutting edge.

“I’m looking around, who has an MBA? Who has a Ph.D?” Welch said.

Educating educators is another byproduct of Thursday’s principal field trip. It’s not only important to keep students informed about the majors they can study in college, but also what their career path could look like once they have degrees. The attendance of middle school principals, Flynt said, is important for vertical integration that starts with students exploring their interests as middle schoolers.

“A lot of these careers, we don’t know about,” Flynt said. “Getting out and learning what’s in our own back yard, helps us relate that to the real world for students.”

Jenkins has been with Heraeus for 18 years, and he’s spent the past 13 years as the Buford plant manager. He is a mechanical engineer with an MBA, and he hopes some exposure to careers in engineering helps guide 17- and 18-year-old students during a time in which it could be difficult to decide on an intended career path.

Heraeus’ meeting with GCPS principals on Thursday is like a “first dance.” Heraeus is open to the idea that the relationship could develop into the creation of technical programs that help public school students in Gwinnett County earn associates degrees from technical colleges, and some principals that were guests on Thursday’s tour had questions for Heraeus managers about what a technical program could look like. By creating an avenue for students to earn associate degrees sooner, the risk of them falling off track after high school graduation lessens.

Heraeus has already partnered with Lanier Technical College for an electrical maintenance apprenticeship program that provides a hands-on experience performing electrical mechanical duties and classroom training at Lanier Technical College.

Maxwell High School's Charles Kachmar Wins National Harbor Freight 'Tools for Schools' TEacher of Excellence Award

Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, as a part of the Smidt Foundation, supports skilled trades education in US public schools, sponsoring a Teacher of Excellence award—a financial prize of $100,000 to three first-place finalists with $70,000 going to the school’s trade program and $30,000 going to the winning teacher. Career and Technical Education instructors from across the country apply to be recognized as one of the “most passionate, skilled teachers” operating a “skilled trade program with a proven record of performance.” Applicants submit essays and complete reflections on learning modules, connecting those modules to their own teaching. Applications are then reviewed by a panel of judges drawn from diverse worlds, including education, skilled trades, community development, business, philanthropy and the arts.


Charles (Chaz) Kachmar was selected in November of 2018 as one of the three $100,000 finalists for Harbor Freights Tools for Schools Teacher of Excellence. Mr. Kachmar is the welding program instructor and pioneer at Maxwell High School of Technology. Since 2012, Mr. Kachmar has consistently grown his program and provided his apprentices with hands on experiences and access to jobs right after graduation at Maxwell. His passion and love for his students and craft is known to everyone who has spent time in his midst, now including those at Harbor Freight Tools for Schools.

Teacher Job Shadow Week 2019!

Starting Monday, February 4, some Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) teachers will spend a week shadowing professionals in a multitude of industries, including healthcare, engineering, marketing, government, and information technology just to name a few. This is the fourth year in a row GCPS’ Academies and Career and Technical Education Office has sent teachers from across the school district to local businesses and organizations during Teacher Job Shadow Week.

This weeklong event allows GCPS teachers to spend time in the workplace to learn about trends, skill requirements, and opportunities in industries related to their subject area in order to enrich and strengthen their teaching and bring relevance to student learning. Both career and technical education (CTE) and core subject teachers (e.g. math, science, language arts, and social studies) from the district’s seven Career- and College- Readiness Academy high schools— Berkmar, Central Gwinnett, Discovery, Lanier, Meadowcreek, Shiloh, and South Gwinnett— will pair together to visit organizations and businesses such as Gwinnett Medical, Gwinnett Health Department, Gwinnett Water Resources, Rocket IT, The Weather Channel, Novelis, and others. (A complete list of participating businesses can be found on the next page.) The teachers then will have an opportunity to develop lessons and projects for students, drawing from the shadowing experience to connect learning across subject areas while showing relevance to real-world jobs and situations. CTE teachers from the rest of the district’s high schools have the opportunity to shadow local businesses as well, continuing to build lessons and experiences that will make students more marketable to their future employers.

This event ensures teachers have the opportunity to improve their pedagogical practices by incorporating new industry methods, labor market information, and employment skills that meet current industry standards. The educational goal of the experience is to increase a teacher's ability to connect theory and practice and bring an understanding of workplace practices and policies (e.g. problem solving methods, practical applications of theory, leadership concepts) into the classroom, thus increasing the relevance of student learning.

The following businesses are partnering with GCPS to host teacher shadowing opportunities the week of February 4-8. This list is complete as of January 23; however, additional participants may be added.

Collins & Arnold Construction

Gwinnett Medical

The Weather Channel


Gwinnett Water Resources

Gwinnett Juvenile Court

City of Lawrenceville

The Path Project

Rocket IT

Community Sustainability Enterprises

Lund International

Bexley Law Firm


GGC Film

Gwinnett Coalition of Health and Human Services

Rock Paper Scissors

Mighty 8th Media

H3 Media

Hudgens Center

Gwinnett Technical College

Skillshot Media


Gwinnett Department of Health

Snellville First Baptist Church Food and Beverage

Gwinnett Emergency Management

Big Mouth Signs

Atlanta Braves

Goddard School

Schuff Steel

Reeves and Davis achieve national recognition

GCPS educators earn national honors for work in career and technical education

Jody Reeves, executive director of Academies and Career and Technical Education, has been named DECA’s Administrator of the Year. DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. The organization has impacted the lives of more than 10 million students, educators, school administrators, and business professionals since it was founded in 1946. DECA’s programs and activities have constantly evolved as they use the latest technology and apply cutting edge educational research. Administrators are recognized for their creativity and innovation in promoting DECA within their schools and community. Ms. Reeves, who was nominated by Mill Creek High School, exemplifies such qualities. 

     Dustin Davis, an instructional coach in the Academies and Career and Technical Education department, has been named the 2018 Georgia Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Administrator of the Year and the 2018 Georgia Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Administrator of the Year. Davis, who recently joined the central office staff, served as an advisor for both organizations while he was still in the classroom. He also was elected by his peers as the Chairman of the Georgia FBLA Board of Directors. In 2015-16, while Mr. Davis was teaching at Brookwood High School, his school’s FBLA chapter was named Georgia Chapter of the Year. This year, Mr. Davis is serving as President of the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education. 


Teens at Maxwell High School of Technology are able to gain job skills while serving on global missions in third world countries.


Teens at Maxwell High School of Technology are able to gain job skills while serving on global missions in third world countries.

Thanks to a partnership with Identify, a non-profit organization, students are able to provide medical care and education to people abroad using skills gained during the school year. The nonprofit has mission trips to Venezuela, Ecuador, the U.S. and Canada. 


CBS46 anchor Sharon Reed talks to teens who recently returned from a mission trip in Guatemala to show us why this story is so "Positively Georgia."

Read more:

GCPS Career and Technical Education Teachers Take Home Big Awards, Well Represented at GACTE


The annual Georgia Association of Career and Technical Educators (GACTE) was a showcase of Gwinnett County Public School’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers and their talents. The conference was held in Athens, Georgia from July 15 through 17 in its 71st year of supporting and celebrating CTE teachers and courses across the state. On the last day of the conference, attendees witnessed Gwinnett’s CTE teachers as finalist in several awards categories and saw Dustin Davis, a former business and finance teacher at Brookwood High School and current instructional coach within the Academies and CTE office, elevated to the position of president for GACTE for the 2018-19 calendar year.

Teacher of the Year Awards finalists included South Gwinnett High School marketing teacher, Kimya Rainge for New Teacher of the Year, Discovery High School JROTC instructor, Lt. Col. Rob Booker for Teacher of the Year, and Shiloh High School healthcare teacher, Dr. Krystal Tomlin for Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year. In addition, Maxwell School of Technology’s principal, Jell Hall, was a finalist for Administrator of the Year and business teacher Keri Beth Jones of Dacula Middle School was a finalist for the Carl Perkins Outstanding Service Award, which the GACTE website describes as teachers “who have used CTE to make a significant impact on their community and demonstrated leadership in programs and activities that promote student involvement in community service”.

Beyond the numerous award finalists, GCPS also had a strong contingent of teachers presenting each day of the conference, sharing best practices and leading the way instructionally for teachers across the state. As career and technical education becomes a stronger focus across the country, GCPS will continue to work to lead the way for students and teachers alike in the pursuit of career and college readiness at both the state and national level.

Gwinnett Career and Tech Education program gives students skills beyond the classroom

Hear more from our Executive Director, Jody Reeves, about how the Gwinnett Career & Technical Education program is giving students skills beyond the classroom.

Thank you to the Gwinnett Daily Post for featuring our innovative schools and programs and the unique opportunities that they are providing our students!

Shiloh high school seniors jennifer lopez and mark everette help a guest during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the cvs mock pharmacy at shiloh high school. the mock pharmacy is part of gwinnett county public schools' effort to secure partnerships with local companies. (File Photo) 

Shiloh high school seniors jennifer lopez and mark everette help a guest during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the cvs mock pharmacy at shiloh high school. the mock pharmacy is part of gwinnett county public schools' effort to secure partnerships with local companies. (File Photo) 

"Traditionally, students attending Gwinnett County Public Schools have had options such as dual enrollment and Advanced Placement classes to help them get ahead in their academic courses. However, there is a third option, one that allows students to get experience in a job field while still getting course credit. That option is choosing one of the pathways in the school district’s Career and Technical Education program.

“We have increased significantly our involvement in CTE programs here in the last four years,” said Jody Reeves, GCPS executive director of academies and career and technical education. “The number of CTE students we serve is more than 70 percent of the counties combined in the state of Georgia. We have a significant student population that takes advantage of CTE.”

Schools such as Shiloh High School have partnered with CVS to form a mock pharmacy, allowing students to get experience as a pharmacy technician and also train to get certification.

“This allows students to earn credentials and certifications that will help them be employed when they graduate,” Reeves said. “We believe that all students need some type of post-secondary education beyond high school.”