Low morale. Buses breaking down. Buses running late. Those were a few of the critical issues facing John Franklin when he arrived at Atlanta Public Schools in May 2014.
The transportation department had “a fractured work culture,” as Franklin put it. And despite having some of the newest school buses in Georgia, the fleet was plagued by mechanical failures that racked up big towing bills.
As executive director of transportation for Atlanta Public Schools, Franklin has led a turnaround that has ramped up the reliability and efficiency of the fleet while boosting relations with employees and the public. All this for a large metropolitan operation that runs more than 300 buses in some of the nation’s worst traffic to transport 27,000 students to and from school.
“Atlanta Public Schools went through several transportation directors prior to John, and he gave them what they needed most at the time: leadership with a vision for continuous improvement,” said Mark Lindstrom of TransPar Group, who previously served as director of transportation for neighboring district Marietta City Schools. “His visionary leadership has been the key.”
For his tireless efforts to provide safe and efficient pupil transportation in Atlanta and elsewhere throughout his career, School Bus Fleet has named Franklin its 2017 Administrator of the Year. The award was presented at the National Association for Pupil Transportation conference in Columbus, Ohio.
An in-depth profile of Franklin will appear in the January issue of SBF.