See all our School Bus Fleet Trailblazers of 2023 in this article.
Works for: Richland School District
Role: Assistant Director of Transportation
Describe a day in your professional life.
Carrier: Most of my days start and end with me out in the field with my drivers, transporting our students to or from school. Once back in my office, I handle the success of our students when drivers are challenged with behavior or other concerns. I work with them on different styles of student management, while keeping school admin teams in the loop to allow for communication and support from them and parents. We strive to keep students on the bus rather than suspending their services. I also handle our athletic and academic charter bus requests and work with our drivers union to determine what work we keep for our staff and what is permitted to be chartered. I also work with our routing team to make sure that our software is working properly and if the system is not functioning, I work cooperatively with our routing company and our Information Technology Department. I am currently in the process of working on two projects, 1) implementing a Kindergarten Orientation program for incoming and current kindergarten families. 2) working with our district counsel and board to update our transportation student conduct board policy.
What brought you to the student transportation industry?
Carrier: I originally started out with an interest in nursing but found that it wasn't quite my wheelhouse. I started working for a school district in 2010 and fell in love with it, knowing that there are staff who are the first and last to make an impact in students' lives. I observed many great drivers make connections with "their kids" on the bus. In 2016, I stepped up and took it upon myself to put myself through a Pupil Transportation Management Training Program in conjunction with a local university and state transportation association and in 2022, our state's Driver Instructor Training Course to become a driver trainer.
What’s something critical that you’ve learned during your time in the student transportation industry?
Carrier: There are two groups who keep the transportation department running: drivers and students. Our students are our customers, we are here to support them and ensure they are successful in their ride to or from school. The drivers are an integral part of a student's success and our job as administrators is to support drivers in their needs and to make sure they are feeling appreciated and valued because if they don't, students feel that and then they're effected. Value both groups and your department and district will be successful.
What’s your advice for someone considering a career in this industry?
Carrier: Two pieces of advice: First, network, network, network. Seek out a leader(s) in the industry who you can build that mentor/mentee relationship with; find out their secrets. Join your state association if you have one. If you're lucky enough to live in Washington State, join the Washington Association for Pupil Transportation, go through the Pupil Transportation Management Training Program and the Driver Instructor Training Course. Second, if you choose to make a career in this industry, be confident in yourself and your abilities but don't allow yourself to become overly confident and have your staff see you as being cocky or being on a power trip; be there for them and they'll be there for you.