ALBANY — With more than 2,000 employees, whose duties range from keeping school campuses clean to teaching algebra and coaching young athletes, the Dougherty County School System is a large employer with an important mission by any stretch of the imagination.

In a recent Best Place to Work contest hosted by The Albany Herald, the school system was named tops in categories that included best overall place to work, best benefits program, best boss and best overall leadership in the large company category.

The “boss,” Schools Superintendent Ken Dyer, said it was a group effort across the board — from the Dougherty County School Board to the teams at individual schools — that makes the organization run smoothly.

“I’m very pleased that the Dougherty County School System was recognized as the best big employer in the area,” he said. “We’ve been very active in creating a positive environment for our employees.

“To be recognized as the best employer overall is a testament to our staff and senior leadership and support staff.”

Health and wellness programs, including helping the system’s employees deal with stress during COVID-19, are some initiatives that the superintendent says he thinks stand out.

During the pandemic, the Dougherty School Board has shown its concern for employees’ health by approving $1,000 bonuses for employees who get fully vaccinated. And Dyer and his staff have initiated safety protocols that include a wide range of protective measures from air filters in classrooms to a face mask requirement to initiating COVID testing on school campuses.

“Our goal is to make the Dougherty County School System a destination for the best employees in the state of Georgia, and we set out on that effort every day,” Dyer said. “There are a wide range of employee benefit offerings that help employees realize just how important they are.”

The superintendent attributed his success as a boss to his seven “bosses” on the School Board and the system’s leadership team.

“None of these things we are doing would be possible without our board,” he said. “Our board members recognize our employees are important for a successful school system. I have an amazing team that supports me. It’s not one person doing this; it’s a group doing this.”

Natalie Dixon, CEO of Concrete Enterprises/Express Disposal, also gave credit to that company’s employees. Concrete Enterprises was named runner-up in the category of best to work for overall.

“We’re grateful to have top-notch team members that enjoy coming to work every day,” Dixon said. “They are the secret to our success, so in reality, this award is a reflection to them and their dedication to creating an excellent and fun place to work.”

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