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October 24, 2013  |   Comments (7)   |   Post a comment

14 phenomenal women in school transportation

In this new feature, we spotlight dedicated women from around the nation ranging from school bus drivers, trainers and administrative assistants to bus company executives, directors of transportation and state directors whose work helps to keep students safe.

by SBF staff


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Although she currently works in the transportation department at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Sandra Garcia has worked in others during her 28-year career at the district, which she says has given her an opportunity to learn the different aspects of each and see their importance.
<p>Although she currently works in the transportation department at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Sandra Garcia has worked in others during her 28-year career at the district, which she says has given her an opportunity to learn the different aspects of each and see their importance.</p>

Sandra Garcia
Senior Administrative Assistant
Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Miami

How did you get your start in the industry?
I have worked for Miami-Dade County Public Schools for 28 years, working in different departments. I came to the department of transportation in 1999. I currently work for Orlando Alonso, who oversees the operations side of transportation, as well as the vehicle maintenance part of the department.

What are your current job duties?
My current job duties are responding to requests from outside vendors asking for public records information, such as copies of personnel files, copies of our transportation handbooks, and media and television stations requesting information on certain topics. I also handle referrals regarding parent complaints, vendors soliciting their services, etc., and in my office, we make the recommendation for suspensions and dismissals of bus drivers and attendants based on their absenteeism, abandonment of the position or other reasons. We also handle legal cases that involve transportation.

What are your top professional achievements?
Working for the school district for 28 years in various departments. This opportunity has enabled me to learn the different aspects of each department and see the importance of each. Every department is an essential part of the puzzle that makes the district operate at its best.
 
What are your outside interests?
I have a 16-year-old son, and I keep busy with his afterschool activities, and he also plays the saxophone and participates in many music activities.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I am Hispanic (my parents are Cuban), but I was born and raised in Gary, Ind. I moved to Miami in 1980, where I finished my last two years of high school.

What is the best advice someone has given to you?
To never give up. Set your goals in life and be determined to reach them. Always stay focused and pursue your dreams, whether personal or professional. Always be willing to learn and take on new challenges in life.

What do you find most interesting about working in pupil transportation?
It’s interesting that there is always something unusual or unexpected that occurs in transportation. Just when it seems we’ve seen everything, something new comes along.


 

Diana Hollander says she finds the passion of those who work in the pupil transportation industry interesting — she says they are generous and ready to help whenever it’s needed.
<p>Diana Hollander says she finds the passion of those who work in the pupil transportation industry interesting — she says they are generous and ready to help whenever it’s needed.</p>

Diana Hollander
Program Officer, Pupil Transportation
Nevada Department of Education
Las Vegas

How did you get your start in the industry?
The job literally fell into my lap when no one wanted to do it. I raised my hand and said I would do it. I’m happy that I raised my hand.
 
What are your current job duties?

I’m responsible for school bus standards, the training manual, out-of-service criteria, and state and federal regulation enforcement and technical assistance. I am also the chair for the Nevada School Bus Safety Competition.

What are your top professional achievements?
How much I’ve learned. My achievements are that I completed school bus driver training and the National Safe Kids car seat certification. I also serve on the NASDPTS [National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services] board.

What are some of your outside interests?
Hanging with my family, traveling, cooking and shopping.

What is the best advice someone has given you?
It doesn’t matter who gets credit as long as it gets done. And don’t sweat the small stuff.

What are some of the key issues for school transportation in Nevada right now?
We had to correct legislation passed in 2011 that would have mandated fire retardant in the engine compartment of all new school buses. The result is that engine fire suppression systems will be required in all new school buses purchased in Nevada in 2016.

We will also attempt to get legislation that would allow stop-arm camera evidence to ticket violators.

Have you noticed growth in the number of women in leadership positions in the industry?
Not really. The men still beat us by more than two to one. There are a few more, but not enough to catch up with the men.

What do you find most interesting about working in school transportation?
The passion and innovativeness of the folks who work in this industry. It’s never boring, and the people are awesome, generous, giving and ready to jump in and help whenever necessary, not to mention lots and lots of fun!

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Read more about: First Student Inc., NAPT, NSTA

Finally, recognition for the fabulous women making student transportation customer friendly and improving safety. It's about time First Student has a female leader

Anonymous    |    Dec 28, 2013 08:36 AM

Congrats to all the well-deserving and hard working women recognized in your article. I have had the personal honor of working for Mrs. Kathy Houck and can categorically state that above her gender, she is a phenomenal leader of people.

Lionel Pinn    |    Dec 12, 2013 03:43 PM

I am very proud to tell folks I am a school bus driver, I live in a small community and have 36-50 student on my bus. Thank you ladies for being great role models to us and for going that extra mile. Keep up the great work! Our transportation supervisor is Mr. Todd Naylor and though he is a male I feel extremely safe and confident that our buses and routes are safe. I teach bus safety at our school so any new ideas you have to share is always appreciated. So proud to be in this bus family in Davie County NC.

Susan athey    |    Dec 10, 2013 07:40 PM

Congratulations to Wilma Crabtree, Kansas is indeed lucky to have her. She is always willing and beyond able to assist anyone who asked. She is one of the greatest in the school bus industry.

Kim Grandon    |    Dec 10, 2013 12:57 PM

@ Miss Diana Hollander, Let me answer that.... It is your love and passion for the industry, your down to earth qualities when communicating with others. You wear these qualities on your sleeve. Perhaps these make you a Phenomenal Woman!

Victoria DeCarlo    |    Nov 07, 2013 07:40 AM

Thank you for naming me one of the 14 Phenomenal Women in School Transportation in your November issue. I'm not sure what I've done to receive such an honor! Although I don't know all these women, some of them I do and feel honored to be considered one of them! Thanks for the nomination and nice article and for recognizing all the fabulous women who work in school transportation every day!

Diana Hollander    |    Nov 05, 2013 02:53 PM

WAY TO GO LADIES.....GREAT JOB!!

Ralph Knight    |    Oct 24, 2013 08:13 AM

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