DES MOINES, Iowa — The winner of Iowa’s prestigious Tom Horn Memorial Award this year is Paul Heide, the recently retired transportation director for Storm Lake Community School District.
Heide, who was nominated for the award by several people, started with the Storm Lake district in 1984 as a mechanic and driver. In 1987, he was appointed transportation director, a position he held until his retirement on July 1 of this year.
While serving as Storm Lake’s transportation director, he continued as mechanic, supervisor and other duties that the position required. He served his entire school transportation career at the same school district, although he worked under seven superintendents during his 31-year career.
Over the years, Heide has seen growth in his fleet, the district’s enrollment and the responsibilities of his job. He has also watched many changes in the transportation industry in general, particularly in technology. Heide noted that he believes the state of Iowa has a great transportation system coupled with an outstanding support system.
The Tom Horn Memorial Award is presented each year to someone who has shown extreme dedication and purpose in his or her work over the past year, exhibiting outstanding leadership and service to his or her school district and community and to the safe school transportation of children in Iowa. The award is the most prestigious honor given to members of the school transportation industry in Iowa.
The Tom Horn Memorial Award is named for the late founder of the Iowa Pupil Transportation Association, which along with the Iowa Department of Education and Iowa Association of School Boards sponsors the annual Iowa School Transportation Conference. This year's event was held July 20-22 in Des Moines.