CCTC's Castleberry honored as SC's Professor of the Year

Josh Castleberry - Award Ceremony

Central Carolina Technical College's own Josh Castleberry has been named the 2013 South Carolina Governor's Professor of the Year for two-year colleges. The distinguished winners of the Professor of the Year award were announced Thursday, March 7, at a press conference held in the Rotunda of the Capitol. Selected from a total of 30 candidates nominated by their respective intuitions, the recipients of the prestigious award exemplify excellence in teaching and student advising. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the award.

Castleberry was nominated for the award by a group of his peers and students at Central Carolina. That group was excited to share Castleberry's story in hopes of his being recognized.

"There are not enough words to describe Josh Castleberry," said Nancy Bishop, Dean of Business and Public Services. "He is such a dynamic guy, and we hoped to communicate all the things he has done while he's been at Central Carolina, what he means to Central Carolina and to the students he teaches every day."

Dr. Drew Accardi, Department Chair for Science, said Castleberry's support and leadership extends beyond the classroom.

"Josh has always been very supportive to other faculty and staff, and especially to his students. He always has time and is willing to assist the students with their projects and their activities. He has the spirit and enthusiasm to promote not only learning, but going beyond the typical expectations of the classroom," Accardi said.

Graduating with a Master of Arts degree in Earth and Environmental Resources Management (MEERM), Castleberry is an Instructor and Academic Program Manager with Central Carolina Technical College in Sumter, South Carolina.

Castleberry's love of the environment started at a very young age as he spent every possible minute outside catching "critters". His love of the outdoors continued through high school and undergraduate school where he earned his Bachelor's in Biology.

Castleberry says his original intent was to take a job with the Department of Natural Resources as a wildlife biologist, but in one of life's unexpected twists, a hiring freeze was in effect when he graduated. The only job he could find was a high school teaching position. He said he was disappointed...at first. But after a very intense adjustment period, he found that sharing his love of the environment and conservationist ethic in an educational setting was far more enjoyable than any job he could have ever hoped for.

While teaching at the high school, Castleberry decided to further his education. He became aware of an opportunity to earn a master's degree in his preferred field, Environmental Science. Even better, he was able to secure one of his childhood heroes, Rudy Mancke, as his major advisor. He started by augmenting his education and experience with certifications (including those in HAZWOPER, OSHA General Industry Outreach Trainer, Certified Erosion Prevention & Sediment Control Inspector, and D-level licensed Biological Wastewater Operator).

After just two years at Central Carolina Technical College, Castleberry was promoted to program manager for the Environmental Engineering Technology Department. Under his leadership, the department's program was moved to a distance education format and three supporting workforce development certificates were created. This change allowed for more than doubling the number of students in the department without sacrificing the quality of education.

Castleberry is active in the community, and within his college community. He is the recycling coordinator, an active member of the Health and Wellness committee, and the go-to-guy for questions about sustainability and environment. In his local community he serves on the Sumter Earthday committee and the Sumter Stormwater Solutions committee. He has served as the merit badge coordinator for Troop 339's Hornaday Weekend (a weekend dedicated to the Hornaday award, given in scouting for scouts who focus on conservation).

At the state level, he is active with the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina (on whose board he has served) and he is the Chair for the Swamp Fox district of the Water Environment Association of South Carolina. He also serves annually as the special topics coordinator for the Envirothon.

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Date/Time Published:10/9/2014 2:08