Two Georgia Highlands College employees will be honing their leadership skills during the next two years.
Travice Baldwin Obas and Jillian Petro were chosen to represent the college in the Cobb Education Consortium Leadership Academy, a two-year program meant to prepare employees at member institutions for greater leadership roles in the community they serve and at the institution where they work.
The consortium is composed of public education entities in Cobb County: Chattahoochee Technical College, Cobb County School District, Georgia Highlands, Kennesaw State University and Marietta City Schools.
Obas, an associate professor of communication, was chosen to represent the faculty in the academy, while Petro, a senior admissions recruiter, was picked to represent the staff.
“I consider it an honor to be invited to participate, and I am excited about the opportunities for service and the community interaction that the CEC offers,” said Obas, who has taught at GHC since 2003.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this exciting program,” Petro said. “I am looking forward to meeting all of the new members and strengthening my leadership skills.”
Participants in the academy are chosen at the institutional level, usually through a competitive process. Obas and Petro were nominated by their supervisors and confirmed by GHC President Dr. Don Green.
Both women, who work on GHC’s Cartersville campus, were excited to be selected for the academy.
“I have been quite fortunate to be placed in numerous leadership positions during my education career,” Obas said, “and what ultimately drew me to this program was the focus and attention placed on the development of participants to enhance their current leadership roles, while also seeking to help participants move into more active levels of administration, collaborate with fellow educators and provide opportunities to identify and implement projects and activities that meet the public educational needs of students in Cobb County.”
Petro, 24, who has worked for the college a little over two years, said she loves to meet new people and is “always looking for new ways to network with others within our field and area.”
“I believe participation in the Leadership Academy will help strengthen my leadership skills as well as teach me new ways to continually improve the service we provide to our students,” the Rome resident said.
The first year of the academy gives participants the opportunity to network and attend a variety of seminars and presentations, retreats, school visits, governmental activities, guided readings and interaction with CEOs.
During the second year, members tackle a community-based group project guided by a committee of specialists and designed to further their professionalism and expertise.
Obas and Petro joined other academy members for a three-day retreat at Camp Mikell in Toccoa last week, where they participated in seminars and activities designed to develop stronger collaborations among educational partners.
“The three-day retreat was chock-full of team-building, leadership development and educational activities,” Obas, a Kennesaw resident, said. “In addition to learning more about the educational system of Georgia, we participated in indoor/outdoor team-building exercises that tested our physical and mental endurance, trust and commitment to our group members. We learned about personality types and how essential each personality type is to the overall function of the group. A vigorous discussion took place about how to identify who we are as leaders and how we develop the leader within us.”
Petro, the Move On When Ready adviser at the college, said the group had the chance to hear from “inspiring leaders in our local education community” at the retreat, which also gave her “a way to meet others in my area, bond with them and learn from them.”
“I learned that leadership qualities can be dynamic,” she said. “When put into different situations, leaders can adapt their role to suit the group they are in. I found myself trying to be a supporter in a group that had multiple leaders and a leader in a group that had none. The retreat also solidified my love for education and students.”
At the retreat, Obas — who teaches courses in public speaking, human communication, mass media and interpersonal communication — learned exactly how dedicated the consortium is to helping its members become better educators.
“The biggest takeaway for me was the unwavering commitment of this organization to provide a unique experience in which we as educators can come together and work collaboratively in our efforts to improve the educational experience for students in Cobb County,” she said.
The next outing on the agenda for the pair is school visits on Dec. 3.
“I am thrilled that one of the first stops will be a tour of Georgia Highlands College, Cartersville campus,” Obas said. “We look forward to welcoming the academy members and showcasing the benefits of having their elementary, middle school and high school students consider attending GHC.”
Petro added they also would be visiting Chattahoochee Tech and schools in the Cobb County and Marietta City districts.
For more information on the consortium, visit http://www.cobb-ed-consortium.org/.