Willie Smith, a driver with WE Transport, has been named School Bus Driver of the Year for 2023 by the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT).
Smith received the award at NYAPT’s annual conference and trade show in Saratoga Springs on July 11. He was recognized for overall excellence and an exceptional safety record as a school bus driver and driver trainer in Nassau County.
“It is our tremendous honor to present Willie Smith with the New York Association for Pupil Transportation’s 2023 School Bus Driver of the Year Award,” said David Christopher, executive director of the NYAPT. “Willie demonstrates all the best qualities of a school bus driver in New York state – from ensuring the maximum safety of all his students each day to the tireless dedication he exhibits throughout his training and mentoring of hundreds of other drivers. Willie leads by example and represents the true pinnacle of his profession.”
Smith, a retired corrections officer and father of six, started with WE Transport in 2006, where he currently drives for the Sewanhaka Central High School District in Floral Park, N.Y. He became a 19A certified examiner in 2015 and a school bus driver instructor in 2018. He has trained or re-trained more than 1,000 school bus drivers and driver candidates. Also, he has won several state and local school bus driving competitions and received numerous driver safety awards.
NYAPT encourages qualified applicants to apply in local school districts for driver openings in the upcoming school year. Many New York school districts face driver shortages and offer bonuses, paid training and licensing, and other incentives for new drivers.