BALTIMORE — Special-needs transportation expert Dr. Linda Bluth has officially retired from her position at the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), but a full schedule of speaking engagements, consulting work and other activities is keeping her plugged into the pupil transportation community.
Bluth has long been a key source of guidance on transporting students with disabilities, particularly through her presentations at industry events, her writing and her work at the MSDE, where she most recently served as special initiatives education program specialist.
Although Bluth retired from her MSDE position on June 30, she told SBF that she is continuing to work part-time for the agency as a consultant.
Bluth, who is a past president of the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), also recently completed the fifth edition of the NAPT manual Transporting Children with Disabilities.
Other items on her still-busy schedule include presenting at state meetings, extensive expert witness work and helping senior citizens who are denied mobility transportation.
“I’m not very good at retiring,” Bluth joked.
Bluth’s work with the MSDE stretches back to 1997. She held several roles during her tenure, including chief of the Office of Special Education Administration and Quality Assurance and Monitoring, and chief of the Office of Nonpublic Placements. Earlier in her career, she served as a Baltimore City Public Schools administrator, a professor at numerous universities and a special-education teacher.
At last year’s NAPT Summit, Bluth won the Sure-Lok-sponsored Special Needs Transportation Award. She also received NAPT’s Distinguished Service Award in 2000.
NAPT Executive Director Mike Martin said that people throughout the pupil transportation community, and particularly those in specialized transportation, have benefited from Bluth's work.
"She is a thought leader who is always on the leading edge, if not breaking new ground," Martin said. "By the same token, she also has a deceptively deep knowledge of operations. Most people think of her as a 'policy person,' and she is, but she regularly visits transportation facilities, she rides buses and she talks to people everywhere she goes. She knows her stuff because she's seen it and she's done it."