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CABOT, Ark. – A special education teacher in Cabot is Arkansas Teacher of the Year 2022.
In addition to being a special education teacher at Stagecoach Elementary in Cabot, Jessica Saum is also a mother, military spouse, and advocate for children with special needs and military families. Little did she know that today would be the day she would win a teacher’s highest honor.
What began as a fake Pep rally to read was really just a ruse.
“The Pep rally seemed a bit suspicious, but I couldn’t accept that it would really happen,” said Saum.
Saum named the Arkansas Teacher of the Year award the honor of his life.
“I have so much joy and so much appreciation for everyone who has helped me reach this point,” she said.
Saum’s list of successes is long, but what sets her apart is her advocacy for her students.
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She knows that special education is difficult and the needs are great.
“And I knew I was able to meet those needs, and I wanted to meet those needs,” Saum said.
As a teacher who is also a military spouse, Saum works tirelessly to support military families because she understands it. While her mother, father, son, and daughter were at the ceremony to congratulate her, someone went missing.
Her husband, Lt. Col. Shane Saum, is currently on a one-year deployment.
“We’re very lucky to have face time with him mornings and evenings and we try to keep in touch that way, but it’s difficult not to have my best friend with me,” she said.
Their path to success was not typical and hard-won. And in those difficult times she said she thought of the children.
“I just remember it, yes,” Saum said. “Every child. Every child deserves the best. Every child deserves the chance to be successful, and every child deserves that we expect them to achieve great things.”
Jessica will begin her service this July. She said she would continue to work with Little Rock Air Force Base to work to better serve military families and students. She said she wanted to talk to Dr. Connect with Jill Biden through the First Lady’s Joining Forces Initiative, which helps spouses find quality employment opportunities.