A new leader is at the helm of the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT). Dr. Molly McGee-Hewitt stepped into her role as CEO and executive director of the organization in November. She earned a master's in school business leadership and a Ph.D. in adult education and training. McGee-Hewitt brings over 25 years of experience in public education and association management and leadership to the position. McGee-Hewitt previously served in executive leadership positions with two large and prestigious educational associations: the California School Boards Association and the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), where she most recently served as CEO.
While serving with CASBO, McGee-Hewitt worked closely with a Transportation Professional Council to develop an education program specifically for school transportation leaders.
In this interview with School Bus Fleet, McGee-Hewitt shares what challenges the NAPT hopes to address in the coming year, as well as which pupil-transportation-related issues are on her radar, and what she believes pupil transportation will look like five years from now.
1. What challenges does the NAPT hope to address in 2023?
Our greatest challenges will be to serve our existing members, expand our membership, and build strong business partnerships. Providing our members with the professional development, tools, resources, and information they need to excel will be a priority. We will explore alternative methods and ways to deliver professional development, provide certification opportunities, and strive to provide training to enhance their leadership skills. Our mission will be our focus- empowering and supporting the pupil transportation profession by providing communication, leadership, education, advocacy, and resources.
With the support of our member leaders and professional staff, we can address these challenges!
2. How does your experience in public education influence your approach?
I am so grateful for my experiences in public education. From riding a bus as a child, to working as a classroom teacher, site and district office administrator, and school board member -- all these roles provided me with an invaluable perspective. My experience has provided me with a unique career that has not only served education but also educational associations! I have enormous respect for school transportation professionals and the work they do every day. My goal is to work with them to expand our association and to provide exceptional resources and services for them.
3. How have NAPT's in-person events been received as the COVID-19 pandemic has waned?
Our events have been welcomed! Our members tell us how valuable they find the information, the networking, and the opportunity to discuss issues with colleagues from around the country. We are excited to welcome back our Annual Conference and Trade Show this fall and to expand our in-person events.
4. What pupil transportation-related issues are you keeping an eye on right now?
As you can imagine, the issues impacting our members vary but the issues impacting the profession are consistent. Public policy and advocacy are a priority. Working with regulators and representing the needs of the members will always be a priority.
Specific issues on my radar include:
- Bus driver recruitment, training, and retention.
- Leadership training for current and aspiring directors.
- Electric buses.
- Alternative forms of student transportation.
- Addressing special education transportation needs.
- Seat belts.
5. What do you think pupil transportation will look like five years from now?
I think pupil transportation will reflect each school district and the communities they serve. For example, in states committed to electric buses, I see these expanding. In communities that need alternative ways to transport students, I see them embracing alternatives and utilizing outside providers. In every school district, I see our members providing leadership and recommendations to their administration that meet the needs of their students. I believe our members will utilize the best technology, equipment, and practices in the industry to meet the needs of their students and districts.