PORTLAND, Ore. — Pupil transportation professionals were honored here on Sunday night and Monday morning during the National Association for Pupil Transportation's (NAPT) annual awards banquet and the Leading the Day: Recognition for Exceptional Performers celebratory breakfast.
During the awards banquet, Steve Barker of Sure-Lok Inc. presented the company's Special-Needs Transportation Award to Marisa Weisinger, who serves as technical specialist for Innovative Transportation Solutions in Houston.
Launi Schmutz, director-at-large/treasurer for NAPT, presented the Larson Leland Quality Transportation Award, which recognizes the administrator of an operation who has worked diligently to improve his or her operation's service to students. This year's recipient was Carol Stamper, director of transportation for Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) Schools.
Thomas Built Buses recognized the winner of its fifth annual Children's Choice essay contest, Chancellor Coger, as well as the school bus driver who Coger wrote about in his essay — Lester LeMasters of Monongalia County Schools in Morgantown, W.Va.
As SBF previously reported, Coger was being bullied by another student on a regular basis after they got off the bus. LeMasters came up with a way to solve the problem by adjusting bus stops. Coger's essay about LeMasters' efforts earned LeMasters the title of Driver of the Year in the contest.
Thomas Built Buses President and CEO Kelley Platt presented plaques to Coger and LeMasters during the evening.
Another award presented during the evening was the Distinguished Service Award. National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) President and Florida's state director of school transportation Charlie Hood received the award from NAPT President-Elect Alexandra Robinson.
Finally, SCHOOL BUS FLEET Publisher Frank Di Giacomo presented the 37th Annual Administrator of the Year Award to Pete Japikse, Ohio's state pupil transportation director. To read more about Japikse and his career in the industry, click here.
On Monday, NAPT Region 3 Director Bill Tousley hosted the Leading the Day: Recognition for Exceptional Performers awards breakfast.
Shaun Dennis of Traverse City (Mich.) Area Public Schools, who recently placed first in the America's Best school bus inspector competition, was recognized for his achievement by Don Carnahan, vice president of business development at Zonar Systems (Zonar was an event sponsor). America's Best school bus technician winner Tim Knoll of Berlin-Milan Local Schools in Milan, Ohio, was recognized by Dwight Lee of Hydrotex, which was also an event sponsor.
Moreover, Tim Barnes from Delco Remy spoke about the company's partnership with America's Best to provide the Technician's Scholarship. Delco Remy will provide eight scholarships next year.
Finally, the School Transportation News (STN) Leader Award went to Don Carnahan of Zonar Systems.
In addition to being on hand to recognize Shaun Dennis and accept the STN award, Carnahan spoke about Zonar Systems bestowing 10 scholarships to industry professionals to attend this year's NAPT Summit. A list of winners can be found here.
Likewise, Peter Lawrence, director of transportation for Fairport (N.Y.) Central School District, spoke about the Peter and Linda Lawrence Training Scholarship, which covered the conference registration fee for two individuals.
NAPT President Linda Bluth and her partner, Betsy Eisman, were also recognized for their efforts to assist in paying for field trips for needy students. In 2009, the pair committed $500 a year for the next 10 years to cover the costs of transportation, entry fees, supplies and classroom resource materials. This year, grants went to North Bend School District 13 in Oregon for a marine biology field trip and Evergreen Public Schools in Vancouver, Wash., for a trip to a college fair.