SUWANEE, Ga. — A special-needs school bus manager and monitor were among the transportation professionals recently recognized by a local school district.
On March 19, Gwinnett County Public Schools board members and leaders honored Julie Peterson as its 2018-19 Special Needs Bus Manager of the Year and Hannah Robinson as its 2018-19 Special Needs Monitor of the Year at its annual awards banquet.
Also receiving accolades were Gretchen Arnold, who was named the 2018-19 Regular Education Bus Manager of the Year, and Michael Moody, who was named the district’s 2018-19 Fleet Technician of the Year, according to a news release from the district.
Don Moore, the executive director of transportation for the district, presented the awards and shared the following information about the bus managers and monitor:
• 2018-19 Special Needs Bus Manager of the Year:
Julie Peterson, a 15-year school transportation veteran, said that making kids smile is the fuel that keeps her going.
“I want to make my students feel special and I want them to know that they are special to me,” Peterson said. “Each and every one of the kids that I drive brings me joy in my everyday life.”
• 2018-19 Special Needs Monitor of the Year:
Monitoring and driving Gwinnett County school buses is a family affair for Hannah Robinson. Robinson and her sister are monitors in the same zone and their mother is a school bus driver.
Robinson said that her mother encouraged her to get into the “family business” and it quickly became clear she made the right choice.
“I love it so much,” Robinson said. “My driver and the kids, they never fail to make my day.”
• 2018-19 Regular Education Bus Manager of the Year:
If you ask her, Gretchen Arnold will tell you that she doesn’t have a job, she has “a calling by God.” Arnold said that that “calling” is to make sure her students receive safe and caring transportation.
Arnold said that transporting students gives her purpose. She has more than two decades of experience and currently drives routes for three schools.
The selection of the 2018-19 winners is the result of an extensive process, according to the district. Winners were first nominated by their colleagues in their transportation zone. There are 25 regular-education zones and 12 special-education zones. Secondly, nominees were given a written and driving skills test. Eleven finalists were selected: five regular-education bus managers, three special-education bus managers, and three special-education bus monitors. A judging committee selected the winners from among the finalists.
Moore applauded the efforts of all staff members who safely transport Gwinnett County students to and from school.
“It was an honor to be able to recognize some of our best drivers and monitors at our annual awards banquet,” he said. “Our bus drivers and monitors ensure their students arrive safely, on time, and ready to learn. We appreciate all they do for the school system and the students we serve.”