Commended for his tireless involvement in the industry and for pioneering many programs that promote safety and awareness, Randy McLerran was named SCHOOL BUS FLEET’s 2001 Administrator of the Year. McLerran, director of transportation for the Oklahoma State Department of Education, received the award at the National Association for Pupil Transportation’s 27th annual conference in Nashville, Tenn. McLerran has been with Oklahoma’s Department of Education for more than 20 years, coordinating transportation for 545 school districts. The initiative he has taken in stimulating change statewide and nationwide has brought him to the forefront of the industry. Dennis Essary, past SBF Administrator of the Year and former chair of NAPT’s Professional Growth Committee, has worked with McLerran and values his suggestions. “He has served on many state and national boards and is totally dedicated to our industry,” says Essary. A man of initiative
McLerran’s active involvement at all levels of pupil transportation has elevated him to a position of prominence in the industry. He has presented at state, regional and national conferences on topics such as driver training, program management and interactive learning activities. McLerran’s insights on industry trends have appeared in various publications. McLerran presently chairs the Oklahoma State School Bus Standards Committee. He also established the state CDL designated examiner program and the Oklahoma Schools Transportation Task Force, which drew national media attention. He wrote the Oklahoma School Bus Driver Training Curriculum and related manuals. His interest in improving school bus safety and raising awareness has resulted in two initiatives he is especially proud of. One is the Oklahoma School Bus Safety Speech Contest, which he helped to start in 1999 and has spawned a national competition. “It’s been remarkable. We’re promoting academic achievement, providing scholarship opportunities and promoting safety, which is the primary purpose,” he says. The second initiative is McLerran’s advanced collision avoidance course conducted in conjunction with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. McLerran developed the program based on his belief that it’s essential to teach drivers to control their vehicles with precision and accuracy in a high-speed environment. Started early, going strong
McLerran’s career in school transportation began as a senior in high school when he drove a school bus route. “It was a great experience to assume that responsibility so early on, and I really enjoyed it,” he says. Even while he was a social sciences teacher, a special education teacher and a principal at schools in Oklahoma and Texas, he drove a school bus. He said his academic background in special education and administration has proven invaluable as he develops training curriculum and tackles special-needs transportation. McLerran prizes the fact that through transporting children, he is “removing barriers to education.” “I like to think that part of our students’ achievement is because we ensure that they are transported in a positive environment and are ready to perform when they step off the bus,” he says.