By GRAYSON LEE MAXWELL
Rutherford County Schools
Ashley Dumat has spent a significant part of her legal experience helping children, which is why she was eager to join Rutherford County Schools.
As the new assistant general counsel — a position created to assist RCS General Counsel Monika Ridley — Dumat will put her extensive experience to good use.
A native of Murfreesboro and alumna of Oakland High School, Dumat received her degree in English and went on to study at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. She started her 20-year legal career with insurance defense, family law and by representing those in need.
She joined RCS in December.
“Here we serve families,” Dumat explained as the reason for choosing RCS, “and we want to do the best for the families and children in the school system. That’s exactly what I’ve been wanting to do my entire career — serve children.”
In her previous roles, Dumat often represented abused and neglected children. She has, in many cases, served as guardian ad litem — a representative who advocates for the best interest of children.
“As guardian ad litem, you work with children from a lot of educational backgrounds, such as those with special education needs,” Dumat said. “Your appointment order from the judge allows you to advocate for those kids in education settings.”
In her new role, Dumat will continue serving the best interest of students and will spend much of her time assisting the special education department.
“I knew there was a need for someone to handle special education matters,” Dumat said, adding, “Helping children and families, that is the thing I gravitated towards most.”
In law school, Dumat didn’t know these types of opportunities existed, she said, but her own passion for seeing children succeed helped drive her to apply for the RCS position.
“You think you’ll go and be a partner somewhere — that has never been my journey — I have always needed to work in something that matters to me,” Dumat said, “where I felt like I was doing something, making a difference and helping children and families. I realized child welfare was something that could be a career, something where there was a lot of need. It was a natural fit for me.”