NAPT Awards Highlight Training Efforts, Heroism

Posted on October 29, 2018
NAPT inducted special-needs transportation expert Dr. Linda Bluth into its Hall of Fame.
NAPT inducted special-needs transportation expert Dr. Linda Bluth into its Hall of Fame.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Honors for training efforts, dedication, technical feats, and a student’s heroic act were handed out during the annual National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) conference.

Here are the association’s 2018 award winners:

This year’s Heroism Award, sponsored by Blue Bird, went to Karson Vega, a seventh-grader who attends La Grange (Texas) Independent School District (ISD). Vega got behind the wheel of his school bus after the driver had a medical emergency in February 2018. Upon gaining control of the bus, Vega turned the emergency flashers on and proceeded to find a safe place to pull over and stop the bus, according to NAPT.

The Continuing Education Award, sponsored by Thomas Built Buses, was given to Laura Preston, the assistant director of transportation for Liberty (Mo.) Public Schools. Preston is currently working toward her Certified Director of Pupil Transportation (CDPT) through NAPT, and plans to take more of the association’s personal development (PDS) courses, according to NAPT.

Winning the School Bus Driver Training Award, sponsored by IC Bus, was Jimmy Lacy, supervisor of training and safety for Kanawha (W.Va.) County Schools. Lacy was honored for developing the district’s nine in-service training programs, including pre- and post-trip inspections, air brake checks, and railroad crossing training, according to NAPT.

The Special Needs Transportation Award, sponsored by Q’Straint/SureLok, was presented to Peggy Stone, supervisor of Transportation Exceptional Students for Kanawha (W.Va.) County Schools. As the lead trainer for all new and existing school bus operators and monitors, Stone has created her own training manual to provide instruction on how to secure wheelchairs and to emphasize the importance of safe evacuation in the event of an emergency.

NAPT’s Distinguished Service Award was presented to Joe Hart, the former director of transportation for Killeen (Texas) Independent School District (ISD). (Hart retired in June 2017.)

After serving 17 years at Killeen ISD, Hart was honored for his dedication to the district and providing efficient transportation service to the community.

This year NAPT inducted special-needs transportation expert Dr. Linda Bluth into its Hall of Fame. Bluth is a past president of the organization and a longtime advocate for safe transportation in school reform efforts. She currently works for the Maryland Department of Education.

Zach Davis of Colorado (shown right) won the top technician spot in the America's Best competition.
Zach Davis of Colorado (shown right) won the top technician spot in the America's Best competition.

Meanwhile, school bus technicians and inspectors who placed in the America’s Best competition on Saturday were presented with awards by Lloyd Givens, maintenance manager at Special School District of St. Louis County in Missouri.

The top competitors for 2018 are:


1. Zach Davis, Colorado
2. Travis Fackrell, Utah
3. Carl Landis, Arkansas


1. Kyle Shanahan, Colorado
2. Aaron Brooks, West Virginia
3. Jerrod Jacobs, Texas

Scholarships were also presented at the conference:

  • Kristen Billingsley, president of Heavy Duty Bus Parts/Ultra LED, presented the Brandon Billingsley School Bus Driver Trainer Continuing Memorial Ed Scholarship to Stephanie Walker.
  • Kevin Mest, senior vice president of passenger services at Zonar, announced the nine Don Carnahan Memorial Grant recipients for 2018.
  • Dr. Peter Lawrence presented the Dr. and Mrs. Peter and Linda Lawrence Scholarship to Shana Alford.

Related Topics: conferences, heroism awards, NAPT

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