SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Cinda Meneghetti, who has served as Illinois' state director of pupil transportation for nearly 10 years, will step down at the end of February.
Meneghetti joined the Illinois State Board of Education in 2004 to manage the state’s pupil transportation claim reimbursement system. The next year, she was named state director of pupil transportation.
In the director role, Meneghetti's myriad duties have included setting up training for instructors who teach about 28,000 school bus drivers annually; reviewing transportation legislation; developing curricula and training materials; and maintaining Illinois’ electronic system that tracks requirements met for all school bus drivers and instructors.
Meneghetti told SBF that one of the highlights of her career in pupil transportation has been the people she has worked with.
"I have met the most caring and passionate people in this industry and am blessed to have been a part of this group," she said. "As the records show, this group is very successful in keeping our children as safe as possible while being transported to and from school."
As state director, Meneghetti has worked closely with pupil transportation professionals throughout Illinois. She has been particularly involved in the training of instructors, and she has interacted directly with school bus drivers to help them in getting their permits.
"It was very rewarding to hear from the field that my assistance was appreciated — as well as being able to express my appreciation to them for what they do daily for our children," she said.
Meneghetti added that she has also enjoyed being involved in the legislative arena, often helping to inform legislators about issues that needed to be resolved. She has also worked to educate parents and other members of the public about school bus safety.
Last year, SBF recognized Meneghetti in the "14 Phenomenal Women in School Transportation" feature.
Max Christensen, state director in Iowa and president of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, said that some of the key factors in Meneghetti’s success as a state director have been her “interest in the industry and passion for keeping kids safe. … Her good nature and great attitude have also been truly inspirational.”
With Illinois and Iowa being neighboring states, Christensen said that Meneghetti has been a close friend and colleague, as well as a valuable source of information.
“Much like local directors visit back and forth about weather or other issues, Cinda and I have always had this Iowa/Illinois neighbor thing going on, so when bad weather hits we’d often visit to discuss the weather in our respective neck of the woods,” he said. “I’m going to miss that, and I’m going to miss her. However, I do wish her the very best in retirement.”
Meneghetti's last day on the job will be Feb. 28. She said that she made the decision to retire from pupil transportation "with a very heavy heart," but it will allow her to focus on caring for her elderly parents and spending more time with her 11-year-old son.