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2022-23 Above & Beyond Awards recipient: Jacob Southmayd

Jacob Southmayd headshotHe is our student's biggest advocate. The children see him and they begin smiling or want to run up and hug him. He is full of energy, is creative, and meets each child on their own level.” 
- Sarah Hernandez, Anoka-Hennepin staff member.

Jacob Southmayd, a special education teacher at Dayton Elementary School, has been recognized as a 2022-23 Above & Beyond Awards recipient. He has found innovative ways to meet the needs of the students and utilize technology to best serve both students and staff on a day-to-day basis. 

“Working with my co-teachers, paras, classroom teachers, and administrators, we tried out-of-the-box ideas that had never been seen at our school before to address social and emotional needs,” Southmayd said. “It took all of us to make the risks worth the rewards and our students express daily how much love and support they feel, knowing that we see them as more than just another student in the system.”

Southmayd has worked for the district for four years; previously serving as an explorations/core teacher at Brookside Elementary School, and a fourth grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School for the Arts. Everyday, he sets up the technology needed for the teachers and paras to be successful in their classrooms. He also implemented the use of Google products for teachers and paraeducators to collaborate electronically and increase efficiencies, which gives the teams real-time updates on students to provide support when needed.

Southmayd believes that each person brings strengths forward that we can all learn from. 

“Like our students, I challenge myself to bring my unique skills and personality traits into my duties as a teacher. I find it imperative that I am seen around the school often, offering whatever skills I may have,” he said. “I need to model not only what the students know my job to be, but also qualities of citizenship that benefit the entire school community.”

The 2023 Above & Beyond Awards ceremony to honor Southmayd and 12 other exceptional employees took place March 29 at the Educational Service Center (ESC).

Watch his video profile.