Director of Special Education for Dawson County Schools Hershel Bennett presented Jennifer Souto with a special award during the October meeting of the board of education.
Souto is a Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant and the Speech Department Lead of Dawson County. According to Bennett, she has gone above and beyond what is expected in her position and is impacting the lives of children.
"She became the speech lead during pre-planning, not knowing she was going to be the speech lead when she came to work that morning," Bennett said.
Souto has a department of six people and manages seven schools, as well as hundreds of students, according to Bennett.
In her role, Souto finalizes speech annual reviews, manages all the schools as the main contact person, attends county-wide lead meetings and holds county-wide speech meetings to keep all of the therapists up-to-date with new information.
She is also responsible for updating materials and manuals as well as information on Schoology.
"I love seeing my students persevere, overcome and beat all odds stacked against them," Souto said.
The award, "Taking Care of Business," was started about three years ago and, according to Bennett, has been given out about seven times.
"She has done a great job there," he said. "She's a true team player, never batted an eye."
Riverview Elementary Principal Julia Mashburn agreed with Bennett's assessment.
"Lots of things have happened, but you would never know that from the way Jennifer took it on," Mashburn said. "She is so extremely organized and it is a complex matter to deal with that kind of case load and all the logistics that go with it."
Souto came to the Dawson County School System two years ago from Fulton County. She has worked in special education for 11 years and has been a therapist for the past five.