LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Cheryl Wolf, an expert on transporting students with special needs, is set to retire from her school district position on March 1.
Wolf said she plans to remain active in the industry as a consultant.
"I will continue to be available to answer questions, offer special-needs transportation training to school districts that have a need for it, and help them navigate the ever-changing paths of special-needs transportation," she told SBF.
Wolf began her involvement in the pupil transportation industry in 1983, starting as a substitute school bus driver. In the years since, she has held a variety of positions: route driver, driver trainer, special-needs transportation trainer, special-needs transportation coordinator, safety and training supervisor.
In August 2000, she was appointed to her current role of transportation supervisor for Lafayette School Corp.
When asked what initiated her focus on special-needs transportation, Wolf said that "once I met the kids, I was hooked."
Initially, her district didn't have a structured training system for drivers of students with disabilities.
"As it became clear that our special-education program was growing and the needs of the students that we would be transporting were more complex, a training program was needed," Wolf said. "The development of that training program was an ongoing process over several years."
She said that a key development in her career was when she first attended the Transporting Students With Disabilities and Preschoolers (TSD) conference.
"Networking with the speakers and other transporters at the conference was amazing," Wolf said. "I knew at that time I wanted to be a part of that amazing group of people who wanted the safest transportation for our kids with disabilities."
Wolf went on to become part of the tenured faculty for the TSD conference, and she has also served in other key industry organizations, including the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), the National Congress on School Transportation and the School Transportation Association of Indiana.
At the 2008 NAPT conference, Wolf was honored as a recipient of the Special-Needs Transportation Award.
Throughout her career, she said, she has appreciated "meeting so many wonderful people that have the same passion for special-needs transportation that I do."
Wolf said she will continue her involvement with the TSD conference. She will also remain national coordinator of the National Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo.
Wolf can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (765) 426-9747.