LOUISVILLE, Ky. — At the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) awards ceremonies here Sunday night and Monday morning, it was clear why school bus transportation is by far the safest way for kids to get to school.
The dedication, innovation and bravery for which several people were honored were also examples of how the pupil transportation industry has attained such success in its mission.
For performing first aid and reviving a student who had stopped breathing, school bus driver Dreana Trent of Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Schools won the Blue Bird Heroism Award (see story in October issue of SBF or online).
Oklahoma state pupil transportation director Randy McLerran (center in photo) was honored by Sure-Lok for his efforts to enhance the transportation of students who have special needs. McLerran facilitates an annual conference in his state that focuses on special-needs topics. It is modeled after the national Transporting Students With Disabilities and Preschoolers event, and it brings in nationally renowned speakers.
Transportation Director Mark Linstrom and his department at Troup County (Ga.) School System were awarded by IC Bus for their exemplary school bus driver training program, which goes above and beyond state-mandated training.
Industry veteran David Pace of Virginia Beach (Va.) City Public Schools was named SBF’s Administrator of the Year (see separate story).
Transportation Director John Lyles of Clayton County (Ga.) Public Schools won Thomas Built Buses’ Continuing Education Award, and Transportation Director Brian Weisinger of Spring Independent School District in Houston won the STN Leadership Award.
Also honored were the previously announced winners of the recent America’s Best competition, school bus inspector Nikolas Warejcka and technician David Smith.
Comedian Mack Dryden served as host of the Sunday night awards banquet for the third year in a row, using a talk show-type setup to chat with award winners and presenters, often getting them to share funny stories.
The highlight of the night came as Tom Cellitti of Navistar was being inducted into the NAPT Hall of Fame (see separate story for more on Cellitti). During his time as an executive for Navistar’s bus business, now called IC Bus, Cellitti began a tradition of giving out jackets to NAPT attendees each year.
NAPT President Bill Tousley has held onto his jackets over the years, so he and NAPT staff members put on a mock fashion show to present the various styles of the jackets (with colors ranging from drab brown to bright yellow). Joke entries included a vest with an IC logo affixed, which was described as a future choice due to global warming, and a caveman tunic, which was said to be the first IC “jacket.”