Longtime Southeast educator wins award for work in recovery

Published 6:14 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2023


The Harlan County Chamber of Commerce has recognized Sheila Gordon, professor of social work and human services at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, as Harlan County’s Educator of the Year. Gordon has worked at the College for over 25 years.

First serving as a counselor for first-generation college students in the Southeast Student Support Services program, Gordon first taught classes on an adjunct basis. She recently began teaching full time, and she serves as a faculty advisor for students pursuing a degree in the helping professions—social work, human services, and counseling.

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“I work with many students from the recovery community who are building back their lives through educational opportunities at Southeast,” said Gordon. “I am honored to serve in this role and thankful that Southeast is at the forefront of supporting those in recovery.”

According to Gordon, students in recovery are able to earn a Recovery Coach Certificate in as little as two semesters and find well-paying jobs.

“I nominated Shelia for her work with the recovery community in the counties that we serve,” said Erica Farmer-Miller, workforce development training specialist. “As the new professor of our Recovery Coach program, Shelia has been busy meeting community members in each county, meeting new students, and attending meetings, and she’s been so enthusiastic. The students are drawn to her encouraging demeanor and calming voice.  Shelia is also a counselor, and that helps her to not only advise the students, but also to work with them professionally. We are very fortunate to have her in this role.”

“Sheila is so deserving of this award,” said Dr. Vic Adams, Southeast president. “An important part of our mission at Southeast is helping our vulnerable populations, and we would not be able to do this without talented, hardworking faculty members like Professor Sheila Gordon.”

Gordon holds an associate degree from Southeast, and from the University of Kentucky she earned both Bachelor and Master of Social Work degrees and a Master of Library Science.  She lives in Harlan with her husband, Forrest, a longtime employee of ARH. Their son, Joseph, attends Liberty University.