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September 01, 2006  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

A Look Back at SBF Award Winners

The pupil transportation industry has been graced by individuals who have contributed to its betterment at the local, state and national levels. The following people were recognized by SCHOOL BUS FLEET for their efforts.


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Paul Stewart (1982)
Stewart, who retired as the director of pupil transportation for the West Virginia Department of Education in 1978, had a career in pupil transportation that spanned 40 years. He is credited with pioneering the use of diesel-powered school buses in the early 1950s. Stewart was a past president of the NAPT and was among the first to be inducted into the association’s Hall of Fame, in 1997.

Bill Griggers (1983)
Griggers served as executive director of transportation for the Fulton County (Ga.) School System. While there, he realized there was a lack of quality bus safety data and conducted three national surveys aimed at advancing statistical information on accidents and safety. He served as chairman of the legislative committee for the Georgia Association for Pupil Transportation and developed student safety education programs. To recognize his accomplishments, the Fulton County School System gives out the Bill Griggers Driver of the Year award.

Dennis Newton (1984)
As the state director of pupil transportation in Kansas, Newton was responsible for compiling and disseminating the Annual Loading and Unloading Zone Survey. Although he did not found the survey, he started a more sophisticated method of collating data and expanded the distribution of the report. This report helped draw attention to loading and unloading zone safety and encouraged states to mandate the use of devices such as stop arms and crossing control gates.

Ray Kroll (1985)
Kroll was a charter member of the Minnesota Association for Pupil Transportation and acted as president of the association in 1978, 1980 and 1981. His accomplishments include his longstanding campaign for school bus safety and his leadership in the NAPT School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest. He also served as the first-ever chairman of the Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee.

Lee Corneau (1986)
Corneau was recognized for his dedication to improving communications in the industry. He authored many articles for SCHOOL BUS FLEET and other industry publications. As a specialist in pupil transportation for the New York Department of Education, he developed a program to train a group of master instructors and have those instructors train other drivers.

Lee Ednie (1987)
Ednie was transportation director for Penn Hills School District in Pittsburgh when he received the award. During his tenure at Penn Hills, he bolstered both safety and security on buses, responding to a general increase in violence and rebellion. He also served as president of the NAPT for two years and received the association’s Distinguished Service Award in 1993.

Ron Kinney (1988)
Kinney began his career as a part-time school bus driver while attending college. He then became a full-time driver and mechanic and joined the pupil transportation program at the California Department of Education. Eventually, he was promoted to director of pupil transportation for the department. He later served as president of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) and the California Association of School Transportation Officials.

George “Ed” Donn (1989)
Donn, a former transportation supervisor at school districts in Maryland and Georgia, was given the Administrator of the Year Award for his vision and constant efforts to elevate the NAPT and boost the professionalism of the field. He twice served as president of the NAPT and was inducted into the NAPT Hall of Fame in 2001.

Don Carnahan (1990)
When he received the award, Carnahan was the state director of pupil transportation in Washington state. He is a past president of NASDPTS and NAPT and served on the board of directors of the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute. In 1990, he chaired the 11th National Congress on School Transportation.

Ernest Farmer (1991)
As a longtime state director of pupil transportation in Tennessee, Farmer received the award because of his efforts to promote school bus safety at both the local and national levels. Farmer has worked in pupil transportation more than 30 years, and has written numerous articles about school bus safety and pupil transportation management for SCHOOL BUS FLEET. His dedication to students was so strong that he postponed his retirement to ensure local schools had a state pupil transportation representative.

Charlie Hood (1992)
Hood, state director of pupil transportation in Florida, is the past steering committee chairman of the National Congress on School Transportation. He organized the 2005 conference in Warrensburg, Mo. He has also contributed his leadership to the industry in other ways, including as a former president of NASDPTS and the Southeastern States Pupil Transportation Conference.

Carroll Pitts Jr. (1993)
One of the most respected individuals in the industry, Pitts is the executive director of transportation for the Cobb County (Ga.) School District. He has been a strong contributor at the state and national levels, serving as president of the Georgia Association for Pupil Transportation, the South Carolina Association for Pupil Transportation and the NAPT. In 1999, he received the NAPT’s Distinguished Service Award.

Terry Voy (1994)
Known as an expert on all aspects of educational transportation, Voy received the Administrator of the Year award while he was a transportation consultant for Iowa’s Department of Education. An Iowa native, Voy’s commitment to school bus safety motivated him to take on numerous projects: He spent four years overseeing the development of a school bus-specific driver-training simulator, and he served as co-chairperson of the wheelchair standards committee and bus body standards committee for the National Conference on School Transportation.

Mike Roscoe (1995)
Roscoe received the award while serving as the state director of pupil transportation in Kentucky. Previously, he had also held the same title in the state of West Virginia. Known for his technical expertise in school bus transportation, he is a past president of the NAPT and former chairman of the National Safety Council’s School Transportation Executive Committee.

Judith Dahlstrom (1996)
Dahlstrom’s lengthy background in the pupil transportation field and dedication to school bus safety clearly established her as a deserving winner. The first woman ever to receive the award, she has served as a transportation director for more than three decades and spent 10 years on the NAPT’s board of directors. Dahlstrom may be best known as chair of the National School Bus Safety Week Committee. The annual event promotes bus safety through a national poster contest and other informational programs.

Joe Glover (1997)
With a deep commitment to the industry, Glover served as director of transportation at Mansfield (Texas) Independent School District and president of the Texas Association for Pupil Transportation. While on NAPT’s Professional Certification Committee, he redesigned the driver certification test, and his work in the area of recertification helped to bring pupil transportation to the next level of safety and professionalism.

Bobby Gaffney (1998)
Gaffney began his educational career as an agriculture teacher who occasionally substituted as a school bus driver. By 1990, he had become the transportation director at Woodford County (Ky.) Schools. He turned what had been an average transportation system into one of the best in the country. Gaffney has also served as president of the Kentucky Association for Pupil Transportation and sat on a number of state committees and task forces.

Joe Mirabella (1999)
Mirabella was transportation director at the Cherry Creek (Colo.) School District when he received the award. During this time, he also served as chairman of the NAPT Professional Growth Committee. But perhaps he is best known for championing a controversial issue: advertising on school buses. His motivation was safety, because he believed the increased revenue from advertising could be used to replace older buses and outdated safety equipment.

Alexandra Robinson (2000)
Combining special-needs expertise with strong management skills and a willingness to serve the industry, Robinson has helped to advance pupil transportation at the local, state and national levels. She began her career as a counselor and teacher of children with severe autism. After serving as a liaison between schools and bus drivers, she transitioned into pupil transportation, eventually becoming transportation director at San Diego Unified School District. She also co-authored “Access and Mobility,” a handbook on special-needs transportation that gained national attention.

Randy McLerran (2001)
McLerran’s career in school transportation began as a senior in high school when he drove a daily school bus route. Later, as a teacher and principal, he still drove a school bus. Eventually, he was named pupil transportation director for the Oklahoma Department of Education. The award acknowledged his broad range of educational transportation experience and accomplishments, but perhaps his most important program was the Oklahoma Bus Safety Speech Contest, which has been expanded into a national contest.

Bob Pape (2002)
Pape, who was transportation director at Lawrence (N.Y.) Public Schools, served as NAPT president in 2001 and ‘02, helping the association secure funds to purchase its offices in Albany, N.Y., and establishing significant financial reserves for research and development. Also, Pape served on the board of the New York Association for Pupil Transportation and was the first president of the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute.

Dennis Essary (2003)
Essary, who was killed in a motorcycle accident on June 27, 2003, received posthumous recognition for his contributions to pupil transportation. Essary served two terms on NAPT’s board of directors, including one as president, in 1995 and ‘96. He received the association’s Distinguished Service Award in 1998. As the transportation director at Beaverton (Ore.) School District, he supervised more than 250 employees and oversaw the operation and maintenance of more than 250 buses and 160 other district vehicles. He also served as transportation director at North Kansas City (Mo.) School District.

Donald Tudor (2004)
Tudor, state director of pupil transportation in South Carolina, has generously contributed his time, energy and wisdom to both NASDPTS and NAPT, serving on the boards of both associations. In addition, he played a pivotal role in helping to pass “Jacob’s law,” a South Carolina law prohibiting the use of 15-passenger vans for school transportation. He has also made key contributions to the National Congress on School Transportation.

Larry Riggsbee (2005)
Riggsbee received recognition for his longtime service with Sumner County (Tenn.) Schools, as associate director. In addition, he serves the Tennessee Association of Pupil Transportation as executive director and executive secretary and spent two terms as the association’s president. Throughout his career, he has always kept in mind his mission to meet the needs of the young people he serves. His constant dedication can be seen in a sign above his door, which simply reads, “Is it best for the children?”

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