Jimmy Hodges – Athens State University

jimmy-hodgesMy grandfather, Lawrence Sebring, was an elected official and entrepreneur in Scottsboro, Alabama for many years. I will always remember the advice he gave me as a teenager, “Get an education son. That is one thing you will never regret.” I admire people who know from a young age what they want to do, then attain the education that is required. I have always considered myself a “work in progress.” I like to refer to myself as a “Life Long Learner.” I earned my Machine Tool Technology Certificate from Wallace State in April of 1982. After working as a machinist in the aerospace industry for a few years, I discovered that a degree was needed if you were going to be promoted. As a result, I earned my Associates in Applied Science in Machine Tool Technology in May 1990 from Calhoun Community College and my B.S. Degree in Management of Technology from Athens State in June of 1992.

I worked as an Associate Manufacturing Engineer in Huntsville, Alabama for several years. I returned to Athens State in the spring of 2001 to pursue a B.S. degree in Career / Technical Education. I was hired as the Drafting Instructor at the Earnest Pruett Center of Technology in Hollywood, Alabama in August of 2000. Athens has always been there for me when I needed additional education.

I was never a traditional college student; I always took either night or weekend classes while working during the day and helping my wife raise three children. My wife has always been supportive and encouraging of my educational aspirations. I continued my education at The University of Alabama, where I earned my Master’s and Educational Specialist degrees (EdS) in Educational Leadership. In addition to being a full time teacher during the day, I served as an Adjunct Instructor at Northeast Alabama Community College from August of 2004 to August of 2009. In June of 2009, I was hired as the Drafting Department Chair at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Alabama. I was promoted to Dean of Applied Technologies in November of 2011, where I am currently serving, and once again back in school in pursuit of a Doctorate (EdD) in Higher Education Administration at The University of Alabama, in hopes to be completed in 2016.

Athens State has a reputation for graduating highly skilled teachers. I have encouraged many people over the years to attend Athens State and have witnessed the positive change that has occurred in their lives as a result. I treasure the education that I experienced at Athens State University and the camaraderie of the instructors that continues even after all these years.