By Mr. Robert Timmons (Jackson)April 28, 2016
The commander of the Soldier Support Institute's officer student company is a virtual rock star at the Adjutant General School on Fort Jackson.
Nicknamed "Da-Ma'am" by one of her charges, Capt. Bethany G. Dumas is the kind of leader who takes time to get to know her students and help transition new officers into the Army and in turn being named TRADOC's instructor of the year.
"She is 'Da-Man,'" said 2nd Lt. Gary Henderson a student at the AG School and Bowie, Maryland native. "She knows herself and is a great help to students. She really takes time out to help."
While teaching the basic officer leader course, Dumas fundamentally changed the way portions of the course are instructed. She moved one portion of the mail handling course and moved it outside to sand tables instead of the "death by PowerPoint" of inside lectures.
"We set it up like a ROC, or rehearsal of concept drill," the seven-year officer said. "I laid it out and we walked through by phase line how mail is delivered from the United States to the hands of the deployed Soldier and all the organizations that would touch it."
It was this change in teaching style that got her noticed.
"I basically changed the way it was taught," she said. "I invited my director to attend the block of instruction and at the end he decided it would be good for me compete for instructor (of the year)."
She took home the best instructor honors for her division at the schoolhouse and at SSI before competing at the TRADOC level.
Dumas graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2009 and joined the Army as an AG officer where she would be stationed with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York. She is scheduled to join the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina when her tour at Jackson ends.
She found being an instructor to be the most "rewarding" experience she has had in the Army.
"I am honored and humbled because I know there are many great instructors who work here with me and across the Army," she said about being the top instructor in the Army. "Overall I am very humbled and excited."
The example she sets for the students doesn't go unnoticed by the junior officers around her.
Even though he has only been in the Army six months, 2nd Lt. Brian Abrams, from Montville, Ohio, has noticed Dumas' professionalism and finds it a "relief" how much she is willing to offer advice to junior officers.
The highlight for the running enthusiast is "being able to shape the careers from the start point of brand new officers."
Instructors must be the best examples she said.
Instructors must be the standard bearers "from PT to treating people with fairness, respect and professionalism or just setting the standard in every way you can; because we are the first exposure to an Army officer for many of the brand new second lieutenants."