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December 07, 2010  |   Comments (4)   |   Post a comment

Longtime California state director to retire


John Green first became involved in pupil transportation as a school bus driver nearly 40 years ago. As he prepares to retire from his state director position, he discusses his career with SBF.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — When John Green starting working as a school bus driver after graduating high school in 1971, he had no idea that he was embarking on a long career in pupil transportation.

On Dec. 30, he will retire as California’s state director of pupil transportation, a position he has held for more than 13 years.

As he began driving a school bus after high school, Green attended junior college and planned to go into law enforcement.

Later, he landed a position as a school bus driver instructor for an agency in Santa Clara, Calif. He also became a reserve deputy sheriff.

In 1979, Green joined the California Highway Patrol (CHP), where he worked in school bus safety as well as farm labor. He was eventually offered a position as an instructor coordinator by the California Department of Education (DOE). Interestingly, he worked simultaneously for the DOE and the CHP for a time before going full time to the DOE in the mid-1990s.

In 1997, when Ron Kinney left as supervisor of the DOE’s Office of School Transportation (the position that is designated as state director of pupil transportation), Green was named to the role.

In an interview with SBF, Green reflected on his time in the industry. He said that although he didn’t originally plan to stay in pupil transportation, it proved to be a fulfilling career.

Among the accomplishments he’s proudest of, Green cited his role in guiding the implementation of California’s lap-shoulder belt requirement for school buses. He also helmed a needed revision of the state’s school bus behind-the-wheel guide.

Green’s office developed a school bus security program before 9/11, and he later presented it to other states.

Perhaps most of all, Green said that he’s proud of his staff and the job they do in training California’s many driver instructors and others involved in pupil transportation.

“I have a wonderful staff,” Green said. “In this unit, there’s 10 of us, including myself. We figure there’s about 27,000 to 28,000 licensed school bus drivers in California and about 1,200 certified instructors. So it’s a very extensive training network.”

A search for a new supervisor of the Office of School Transportation is underway. Green said he hopes his replacement will be named before he leaves at the end of the month.

His decision to retire came “after much reflection and weighing of options,” he said.

“I have known and worked with many exceptional people who also share my passion for the important work we do and work tirelessly in the pursuit of school transportation safety,” Green said. “The friendships, the professionalism and even the battles will be missed.”


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Congratulations John. You will be sorely missed, and I can't imagine things being the same without you. Hope to see you in the near future. Will you be attending conference? Thanks for everything.

Tony Taormino    |    Dec 08, 2010 08:36 PM

I am so happy for you. You have been my friend and mentor. You have no idea how much your calm exterior, sweet nature and gentle guidance meant to me as a new state director nearly 11 years ago. I thought that you had been California's transportation leader your whole live. When you get to Montana, please give me a call. I actually wish you could see what I see out my office window this morning. You would be here in a heart beat. Good luck in your "new career" of retiree - let's go fishing. :) Always your friend - Maxine

Maxine Mougeot    |    Dec 08, 2010 08:01 AM

Dear John, Where has the time gone. We both started in the industry in 1971. I started as a sub bus driver for Jordan School District. My father-in-law who was driving bus encouraged me to to this. I have jokingly stated that, "i believe he wanted me to work for a living." I planned on being a retired general conatractor at age 40. I still have that license and retired in 2005 from Jordan when offered the job of Director of Transportation in Park City School District. Since we first met I finally finished my education with an associate degree in business at SLCC and a bachelor degree in accounting at the U of U. What I cherish is the three short weeks I spent with you when Pat O'Hara sent a group of us from Utah to become trained and certified as instructors. What i learned from that special experiecne has definitely helped me and shaped me as a more competent instructor. what I learned has been instrumental in the way I drive a school bus. This includs my truck. My children have stated numerous times, "Dad, quit drivig your truck like a school bus." I tell them this keeps my truck safe and everyone in it and around it. They are exopensive just like a bus and need to be taken care of. the reference points and classroom techniques you taught us has been passed on to hundreds of drivers and district and state level instructors. i will always remember the "skid pan" and "someone" telling me to stop driving like a grandpa and put the pedal down. i can only speak for myself, but next to my marriage and our children, then my LDS mission, the time spent with you is one of the most cherished events of my life. I have wished many times that I could return for a refresher course to reinforce what I teach and do to verify that I have it right. Being able to visit and talk with you throughout my career has always been very helpful and beneficial to me and those who lives I touch on a daily basis. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for you

Brent Chaston    |    Dec 08, 2010 07:33 AM

John I will truely miss you. You have been an excellent leader and friend. Good luck to you and enjoy you have earned it.

Jeanne Rau    |    Dec 07, 2010 07:24 PM

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