A military instructor at the University of North Georgia (UNG) recently earned the Army Basic Instructor Badge, becoming the first ROTC instructor in the nation to do so.
Sgt. 1st Class Shannon Clark, a native of Newport News, Virginia, has been teaching for a year and a half, according to a press release from UNG.
The badge is earned by certified noncommissioned officers (NCO) who work as instructors and is part of the Army's Instructor Development and Recognition Program, which seeks to "professionalize" instructors. The badge comes with promotion points for some pay grades.
The program is voluntary, and to earn the badge candidates must first complete the U.S. Army Cadet Command instructor certification process, followed by completing 80 instructional hours in a classroom setting, and be evaluated twice by a evaluator that has successfully completed the Evaluating Instruction Course (EIC).
"Sgt. 1st Class Clark is an NCO who takes charge and accomplishes tasks, specified or implied, and meets mission requirements all while taking care of the cadets in her platoon," said Sgt. Maj. Kerry Dyer, UNG's chief military science instructor. "Anyone that knows her knows that she's one of the most honest, reliable and dependable NCOs, who gives full attention and 100 percent in everything she does. It's no surprise how much time she committed to earn this prestigious badge."
Clark said the process has also helped her refine her teaching skills.
"I think throughout your career you should always put yourself in positions to be assessed; it's the only way you can get better," she said. "For me, it wasn't so much about getting the badge as it was to make sure I was doing what I am supposed to be doing as an instructor – to provide quality teaching. It was about perfecting myself and making better second lieutenants."
There are three more military instructors – including UNG instructors Sgt. 1st Class Jason Bent and Staff Sgt. Jeremy Broughton – currently going through the instructor badge process.