LEBANON, Tenn. — The technicians at a transportation department here have earned the Blue Seal of Excellence for their district.
Wilson County Schools’ bus technicians passed the required exams to earn the distinguished certification, which is given by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). The ASE is an independent nonprofit organization that was created in 1972 to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying automotive professionals.
“We want to educate people about [the certification] and see more districts nationwide go out for it,” said Shane Cook, assistant director of transportation and service manager. “Here at Wilson County, we try to stay involved with ASE and do anything we can to further our education on service and having safe school buses.”
Cook added that he believes that Wilson County Schools is one of the only public school districts in the state that have earned the Blue Seal of Excellence.
The department’s eight technicians service 180 school buses and 60 white fleet vehicles for the district’s maintenance, food service, and technology departments. The buses transport about 13,000 students daily, and that number is climbing quickly.
“Tennessee's [population] is rapidly growing,” Cook noted.
To earn the certification, every technician had to take a computer-based test. At least 75% of technicians must already be ASE certified before taking the exam to qualify to earn the Blue Seal of Excellence. In the school bus category, there are seven areas of testing that technicians must pass to become master certified. Five of Wilson County Schools' technicians were already master certified, and the three others are certified and are working on obtaining master certification.
The technicians invested significant time in studying for the exams because they are committed to increasing their knowledge, Cook said.
“Any time you increase your knowledge, you are doing a better job,” he added. “Our goal at Wilson County Schools is 100% safety, 100% of the time. If you don’t have the knowledge you may not know what you’re doing. It shows me they are concerned about the duty they have to make sure the buses are running safely and securely.”
The technicians also attend a two-day technical workshop put on by the Tennessee Association of Pupil Transportation every year.
The transportation department will soon receive the Blue Seal of Excellence, which includes a customized plaque, window decals, a counter mat, and a technicians’ code of ethics poster.
Cook added that working to obtain the certification would not be possible "without the understanding and support from the director of schools, assistant director of schools, and the transportation director."