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Three faculty members and staff were honored as Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College faculty members of the year and were recognized during the South Carolina Association of Technical Education Association’s annual conference on Feb. 17-19 in Myrtle Beach.
Bookstore manager Katie Hightower is an excellent administrator; English instructor Dr. Tamara Miles is an excellent teacher; and Connie Gleton’s administrative assistant physical assistant is an outstanding award-winning employee.
SCTEA is a professional association of technical education staff and others interested in higher technical education.
Hightower worked at the college for 43 years. She began her career at OCtech on August 1, 1978 as a bookstore assistant and then became a manager.
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“Working at OCtech has been my vocation in my life,” she said. “Teachers and staff are becoming your extended family, not just your colleagues.”
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Hightower is part of the College Foundation’s relief team and is a member of the WHO Committee, which recognizes outstanding staff. She is also a board member of the Association of South Carolina Colleges and has been recognized for her contributions to the association.
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Hightower is an active member of St. George’s Baptist Church, where she works as a Sunday School principal, Sunday preschool teacher, is a member of the choir and assists in the college student ministry program. She was recognized by the South Carolina Baptist Convention for outstanding service as a church clerk.
In 2019 and 2020, she was nominated for Teacher of the Year.
“During our fall meeting of faculty and staff, the speaker encouraged us to get to know our students,” Hightower said. “Over the years, I’ve found this to be one way to become part of their path at OCtech. Although I do not teach in the classroom, I feel that I contribute to their educational goals by showing kindness to them and encouraging them as they struggle with lessons, work, family and financial problems. ”
“When a student comes into a bookstore to say ‘thank you,’ I’m happy to know what has affected their lives,” she said.
Since joining OCtech faculty in 2004, Miles has taught English at all levels of the college, as well as the humanities and college courses. She has served as the coordinator of the College’s Presidential Scholars Program and is an advisor to the Alpha Alpha Delta OCtech branch of the Phi Theta Kappa International Society of Honor.
Under her leadership, the PTC branch has sponsored a number of community and college service projects at the regional and international levels. In the fall of 2021, the organization collected things for dozens of “blessings” for homeless children and handed them over to the Samaritan House in Orangeburg. She has been awarded the Horizon Award as an outstanding PTK advisor, and the executive has received five stars for three consecutive years in addition to many individual accolades and achievements.
Miles is part of the Advisory Board for the region PTK Carolina and the Council of the Poetry Society of South Carolina. She trained InsideTrack coach taught consultation workshops on the Internet, and held the position of Vice-President of the Faculty Council of the College. Her poems, essays, reviews, flash fiction, memoirs and other works were published in various magazines and anthologies.
“Since entering OCtech, I’ve been inspired by many women in management positions, and I was hoping to follow their example,” said Miles, who received his doctorate in higher education leadership at Walden University in 2020. “I have had the opportunity to serve the college in a variety of meaningful ways, and my efforts have been recognized and appreciated.”
Glitan started working at the college in 1993, initially as a study in the bookstore, then a full-time financial aid and student services before moved to its current administrative role in the Physical Plant College in 1998.
“In all the years of work in OCtech I got married, had a baby, lost loved ones, and then the child grew up and got married,” – she said. “During all these life events there was my working-class family.”
This is the second time Gleton has been named Teacher of the Year. She is also a laureate of the WHO OCtech Award.
Glitan served in the Council of the College of staff for more than 20 years and was a member of the department in Orangeburg-Calhoun International administrative associate professionals, performing a variety of leadership positions in both. She is also a volunteer and help in college events throughout the year, and also helped with student service initiatives phone call to encourage students in their journey OCtech.
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“When I think of OCtech, it’s not just my place of work – it’s my home away from home with my big family,” Glitan said.