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2019 Counselor of the Year Named

Timothy C. Ward
Director of Public Affairs: 
Joan Heath
Contact Name: 
Lori Benoit
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September 24, 2019
2019 Counselor of the Year Named
Shantekia Gooch recognized

FORSYTH, Ga. –  The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) honored Shantekia Gooch of Dodge State Prison (SP), as Counselor of the Year at the 15th Annual GDC Awards ceremony on September 24 at GDC headquarters in Forsyth, Ga.  Several key officials were on hand for the ceremony, which was attended by more than 400 guests. Making the award presentation with Commissioner Timothy C. Ward were Alton Russell, Board of Corrections Chairman, Christopher Clark and Donnie Pope, Board of Corrections, and Assistant Commissioner Jay Sanders.

“Counselor Gooch is a dedicated employee who always goes the extra mile,” said Assistant Commissioner Jay Sanders “She continuously strives for excellence and looks for ways to improve the programs she facilitates.”

Counselor Gooch began working with the agency in 2005 as a Correctional Officer and worked diligently to obtain her Bachelor’s degree, while working full-time.  Counselor Gooch has implemented several programs and learning activities for the offenders at Dodge SP to assist them with successful re-entry and changing their criminal behaviors.  Offenders continually express to upper management that they have gained many valuable skills and tools from Counselor Gooch’s classes. 

The award is presented to recognize a Counselor whose contributions to counseling have made a significant impact on offenders, staff, volunteers and GDC stakeholders.  They counsel and guide offenders in matters such as decision making, reducing criminal behavior, attending required programming, addressing behavioral issues and designing a life plan that will aide them in becoming law abiding citizens



About the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC)

The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) has one of the largest prison systems in the U.S. and is responsible for supervising nearly 52,000 state prisoners. It is the largest law enforcement agency in the state with approximately 10,500 employees. For more information on the GDC, call 478-992-5247 or visit

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