NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The American School Bus Council (ASBC) recognized Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Ray Robinson with the School Bus Champion Award during the 2014 Transporting Students with Disabilities & Preschoolers National Conference.
Robinson is the head of the pupil transportation division of the Highway Patrol and also serves as Tennessee’s chief safety inspector for school buses. Officials said his myriad responsibilities over school buses have led many to refer to him as a de-facto state director for pupil transportation.
Max Christensen, president of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, presented the award to Robinson on behalf of ASBC at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.
“Lt. Robinson has earned a reputation as a stickler for safety, valuing a thorough inspection process, and doing all he can to ensure that every Tennessee school bus is in tip top shape from a safety perspective,” Christensen said.
Robinson expressed his gratitude to the school bus community for the award. “To someone who works a lot with oil and grease, there is no bigger honor than to be recognized by your peers,” he said.
He also talked about the massive responsibility he feels to keep kids safe on the school bus, saying, “It’s easy to stand up in front of a group in a state trooper uniform and say a few words. It’s much more important to go out and to make a difference in the lives of our children and our school systems.”
Robinson is the first law enforcement official to receive a School Bus Champion Award since the recognition program’s inception in 2013.
Past recipients are:
• The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
• The state of Utah
• Slain bus driver Charles Poland Jr.
• School bus contractor executive Dale Krapf
• Washington state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn
• Dorn’s Chief of Staff Ken Kanikeberg
The School Bus Champion Award recognizes exceptional support for and advancement of the school bus industry. Recipients include individuals and entities whose leadership has produced demonstrable positive outcomes for the communities they serve, as well as the industry as a whole.