J. Alvin Wilbanks put it aptly when he said that Sharon Bartels is “the poster child for lifelong learning.” The superintendent and CEO of Gwinnett County Public Schools had many nice things to say about his former co-worker after the annoncement that she will be retiring from her position as president of Gwinnett Technical College on May 1.
Bartels has served in that position since 1996, a tenure that has seen the school grow by leaps and bounds. The technical college had just two buildings when Bartels became president, but now has nine, along with plans to open a satellite campus in north Fulton County at the beginning of 2016. With nearly 12,000 students per quarter, it is one of the largest technical colleges.
Among many accomplishments at the school, she is credited with creating the Gwinnett Tech Foundation, and that foundation’s first capital campaign a third of the cost for the George Busbee International Center for Workforce Development.
Bartels also stood out in the community. She has served on numerous boards, was named a Gwinnett United Way Legacy Award winner in 2008 and was named Citizen of the Year by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce in 2009.
But her top accomplishment, according to Wilbanks, was that she made it her mission to ensure that Gwinnett Tech was a good place for students, no matter what stage of life they were in or what previous education they had.
Said Bartels: “It’s been my privilege to work with the best faculty, staff and boards in the state. I often say that at Gwinnett Tech we change people’s lives, and I am certainly proud to have had a role in that.”
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