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August 20, 2013  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Directors wearing 2 hats balance responsibilities

Bus service is just one part of the duties many transportation directors need to juggle on a daily basis. Getting the right people on board, delegation, planning and prioritizing are essential.

by Nicole Schlosser - Also by this author


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Michael Shields (far right), director of transportation and auxiliary services, Salem-Keizer Public Schools, says that the first thing a transportation director with dual responsibilities needs is a good team. That means staff that can see the big picture, get along with others, want to serve the community and are excited about what they are doing.
<p>Michael Shields (far right), director of transportation and auxiliary services, Salem-Keizer Public Schools, says that the first thing a transportation director with dual responsibilities needs is a good team. That means staff that can see the big picture, get along with others, want to serve the community and are excited about what they are doing.</p>

Create an action plan
When overwhelmed, identify your goal and desired outcomes, and design a plan to accomplish it, Shields advises. Then, create an action plan to achieve those outcomes. Break the goal down into subcomponents, such as different cash and time elements necessary to achieve the desired outcome and who’s responsible to make it happen. Shields also finds checklists helpful for this.

“Think in terms of the Olympic circles,” he suggests. “Each department and school is an individual circle, but they all overlap in some fashion. We identify how to fit them in that action plan, and design it to meet the greater needs of the school district.”

Thinking long-term, he also writes a five-year action plan, since some goals won’t be accomplished in one year.

Prioritize projects, tasks
Fedoruk is responsible for all aspects of St. Paul’s school buses, as well as the facilities, including oversight of the maintenance and capital projects. Since the school board can’t afford two directors, it streamlined by having one director oversee two departments.

Additionally, his workload got even heavier, as the board had three significant capital projects approved. Each involves approximately two meetings a month and correspondence between meetings, so his reliance on his staff has increased even more. And Fedoruk has coped by prioritizing.

“When your workload becomes overwhelming, make sure that you’re addressing the must-need items first,” he says. “Work on other items on an as-you-can basis.”

He has also learned not to let stressful situations faze him.

Conversely, having one director versus two has brought about fiscal and communication efficiencies. For example, Fedoruk reports on both departments to the secretary treasurer and superintendent, establishing quicker and  more consistent communication with them instead of having two people reporting on the same topics.

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