Leyner Argueta, program director of Business Management at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, was named the 2019 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year for the Technical College System of Georgia during a banquet honoring the system’s most outstanding instructors and students at the Grand Hyatt in Atlanta on Wednesday, April 17.
As the 2019 Rick Perkins Award winner, Mr. Argueta received a $1,000 cash prize and will serve as an ambassador for technical education in Georgia. He will make many public appearances throughout the year, including addressing both chambers of the Georgia General Assembly.
An instructor at Georgia Northwestern since 2015, Mr. Argueta teaches management and supervisory development on the Whitfield Murray Campus in Dalton. He is a resident of Calhoun and is bilingual in English and Spanish.
The son of immigrants, Mr. Argueta had to overcome many obstacles growing up including being born with only one hand and being diagnosed with kidney failure at the age of 21.
“Just like my father, I see my struggles and challenges as a platform,” said Mr. Argueta. “Today I tell my students, just as my father told me, stand on my shoulders I promise you’ll get a better view.”
From 2010 to present, Mr. Argueta has served as the pastor and founder of Faith Moves Church in Calhoun.
“Every now and then when my life gets tough, I remember the reason for my passion,” said Mr. Argueta. “My father always said to me as a child ‘I came to this country to give you a better opportunity,’ an opportunity that he didn’t have.”
Prior to becoming a resident of Georgia, Mr. Argueta was a government sales account manager for CDW in Chicago. In this role he oversaw the logistics of all international sales, which included negotiating a multimillion dollar contract with the Department of Education of the Virgin Islands.
He was a senior real estate agent for JMAC Real Estate in Chicago, 2004-07; sales manager for D&K International in Elk Grove, Il., 1998-2003; and managing partner of golf manufacturing and distribution for Argado Inc. in Chicago, 1998-2000.
Mr. Argueta earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration management from Dalton State College in 2014 and a master’s degree in business administration from Shorter University in 2017.
“I would wake up at 3 a.m. to go to a 4 hour dialysis treatment and then go work at a full-time job,” said Mr. Argueta. “After work, I would rush to make it to my English 1101 class. That sure wasn't a walk in the park.”
An active member of the community in Calhoun, he has served as vice chair of the Governing Team at Red Bud Middle School, 2014 to present; chairperson for the board of directors of Voluntary Action Center, 2010-16; and governing counsel at Red Bud Elementary School, 2011-14.
The last Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year winner to represent GNTC was Troy Peco, director of Automotive Technology, in 2013.