CINCINNATI — 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 celebratory breakfast.
During the awards banquet, Jeff Carpenter of Blue Bird presented the Blue Bird Heroism Award to John Fothergill of Southeast Polk Community School District in Pleasant Hill, Iowa, for his actions on Aug. 27, which was the district’s first day of school.
Fothergill was on an afternoon route and stopped his bus and ordered the students on board to evacuate after he saw smoke coming from under the hood of the bus. He said that shortly after the students were evacuated, the bus was engulfed in flames.
Peter Lawrence, director of transportation at Fairport (N.Y.) Central School District, received the NAPT’s Distinguished Service Award for his numerous contributions to the pupil transportation community. This includes assisting with the NAPT’s Professional Development Series and providing scholarships for his colleagues to attend industry training events.
Also during the awards banquet, SCHOOL BUS FLEET Publisher Frank Di Giacomo presented the Administrator of the Year award to Mike Connors of Brevard Public Schools in Florida.
Finally, Bill Paul, founder of School Transportation News, was inducted into the NAPT Hall of Fame by outgoing NAPT president Linda Bluth.
During the Leading the Day: Recognition for Exceptional Performers celebratory breakfast, honorees were recognized for excellence in safety, as well as school bus maintenance and inspection.
The transportation staff at Allen (Texas) Independent School District was honored by John Thompson of IC Bus with the Driver Training Team award, which recognizes a school district transportation operation that has gone above and beyond the minimum training requirements. Thompson noted that the Allen district transportation staff has completed, among other accomplishments, a rigorous Transportation Security Administration program. Carl Cater, director of transportation for the district, was on hand to accept the award.
Also recognized were the first-place winners of this year’s “America’s Best Technician” and “America’s Best Inspector” competitions — Alan Fidler of Indiana and Jack Defibaugh of West Virginia, respectively.
Finally, Don Carnahan, vice president of business development at Zonar Systems, announced the recipients of a $50,000 grant from the company and NAPT that will go toward the purchase of Zonar equipment. Carnahan said that the company awarded a $50,000 grant to every school district that applied for one, for a total of eight school districts. The recipients are:
• Northshore School District in Bothell, Wash.
• Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker School District in Pigeon, Mich.
• Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21 in Schnecksville, Pa.
• Lewis Palmer School District #38 in Monument, Colo.
• Zeeland (Mich.) Public Schools
• Salt Lake City School District
• Provo (Utah) City School District
• Alpine School District in American Fork, Utah