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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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Jody Pressley says that a top achievement of her career is watching people she has taught and supported move into management positions in the industry.
<p>Jody Pressley says that a top achievement of her career is watching people she has taught and supported move into management positions in the industry.</p>

Jody Pressley
TIMS Project Leader
UNC Charlotte Urban Institute
Charlotte, N.C.

How did you get your start in the industry?
My husband worked at the bus facility [at a school district] in Charlotte when we married. A few years later, a position opened to help the district phase in a state-supplied software sold by EDULOG that we call TIMS (Transportation Information Management System), which was spearheaded by Derek Graham [now North Carolina’s state director]. I was hired, and I did the initial start-up work by learning the software, entering stops, runs and routes as well as perfecting a digitized map.


What are your current job duties?
At UNC-Charlotte, I provide daily support and assistance to school districts to help promote efficient bus routes. This includes a variety of tasks, such as conducting training classes, computer and software support, phone support, and consultation with various school personnel helping districts apply various strategies or techniques to provide safe transportation for students to and from school.

Tell us about how TIMS works and how it benefits school districts in North Carolina.
TIMS is a system of computer-assisted bus routing and scheduling to help school districts manage school transportation operations, and it provides tools to identify and implement efficient routing strategies.

What are your top professional achievements?
Watching people who I have taught and supported through the years move into management positions in school transportation, such as transportation directors/supervisors across North Carolina and nationally.

What are your outside interests?
We have a fully restored 1968 Chevrolet Impala that my father bought brand new. We enjoy taking it to car shows and cruise-ins. I also enjoy shopping for antiques.

What is the best advice someone has given you?
Keep your head down, work hard and listen to whoever is ahead of you, because you are going to learn something from them.

What do you find most interesting about working in school transportation?
It is all about getting children to and from school safely. There is never a dull moment!


 

Alex Robinson says her top professional achievements are representing NAPT in Dubai during the first international school bus conference and becoming an executive director in the largest school district in the country.
<p>Alex Robinson says her top professional achievements are representing NAPT in Dubai during the first international school bus conference and becoming an executive director in the largest school district in the country.</p>

Alex Robinson
Executive Director
New York City Department of Education, Office of Pupil Transportation

How did you get your start in the industry?
In 1987, I was working as a special-education teacher/behavioral therapist and was asked to “be in charge” of the behavior on the buses in Orange County, Fla.

What are your current job duties?
I’m responsible for the overall operation and management of the Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) for the New York City Department of Education (DOE). I have an incredible leadership team that makes it possible.

What was most challenging and/or rewarding about serving as president of the National Association for Pupil Transportation [NAPT] while also working as executive director of the OPT at the New York City DOE?
Being president of NAPT has allowed me the opportunity to continue to spread my passion for what we do worldwide. Doing so while beginning a new adventure in New York City has been a challenge but very rewarding!

What are your top professional achievements?
Representing NAPT in Dubai during our first international school bus conference and becoming an executive director in the largest school district in the country.

What are some of your outside interests?
Leadership training, learning new languages, being outside, and traveling with my hip-hop dancing 17-year-old as she goes on auditions and dance competitions.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I fly more than 16,000 miles a month so I can work in New York City and maintain my life as a single mom in San Diego.

What is the best advice someone has given you?
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive and do that, because what the world needs are people who have come alive.

Have you noticed growth in the number of women working in leadership positions since you started in the industry?
Some since I started — still not enough!

What do you find most interesting about working in pupil transportation?
I find it interesting that this is such a “self-regulating” industry — the rules that govern our safety are often initiated by us. Everyone knows each other or knows how to access each other, and we share resources. It’s a community where people actually want to see their colleagues succeed and whose members are genuinely happy when they do!

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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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