MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The spotlight was on outstanding pupil transportation professionals on Sunday evening at NAPT’s revamped awards banquet.
The goal, officials said, was to emphasize the importance of honoring the industry’s achievements — and to add a touch of glamour to the ceremony.
“We are a group that does great work and doesn’t like to get out and say, ‘Look at what we did,’ — but we need to,” Theresa Anderson, co-chair of the awards program along with Launi Schmutz, told SBF. “These are very important awards.”
The result of the revamping was a red-carpet, semi-formal affair with dinner and musical accompaniment.
In past years, an additional awards program was held on the morning after the evening program. NAPT Executive Director Mike Martin said that the association decided to combine those two events, so all of the awards were given out during the evening ceremony.
“The fundamental concept is to celebrate and recognize the people who are really the stars of the event: the award winners themselves,” Martin said.
Here are the honorees:
• Larson Quality Award — Dysart Unified School District, Surprise, Ariz.
• Heroism Award (sponsored by Blue Bird) — Cathy Snow, Elk Grove (Calif.) Unified School District
• Continuing Education Award (sponsored by Thomas Built Buses) — Heather Handschin, Spotsylvania County (Va.) Schools
• Driver Training and Safety Award (sponsored by IC Bus) — Steve Simmons, Columbus (Ohio) City Schools
• Special Needs Transportation Award (sponsored by Sure-Lok) — Victoria Creech, Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, Fla.
• SBF’s Administrator of the Year — David Anderson, Adams 12 Five Star Schools, Thornton, Colo.
• America’s Best School Bus Technician — Alan Fidler, Tippecanoe School Corp., Lafayette, Ind.
• America’s Best School Bus Inspector — Jack Defibaugh, Greenbrier County (W.Va.) Schools
• School Transportation News Leadership Award — Charley Kennington, Innovative Transportation Solutions, Houston