Members of the pupil transportation community are mourning the recent death of industry veteran Al Sauvadon. He passed away on Oct. 20, 2023 in Discovery Bay, Calif.
Looking Back on Sauvadon's Career
According to an obituary shared by the California Association of School Transportation Officials (CASTO), Sauvadon moved to the United States from France in the 1950s. Though he struggled at a young age to learn English, he went on to become a prominent speaker in the pupil transportation industry.
After 31 years as director of operations and transportation for the Lucia Mar School District in California, Sauvadon became the West Coast administrative vice president for Student Transportation of America and was serving as a public relations administrator for STA until his death.
At one time, Al worked alongside his wife, Paula, at STA. Paula also was a public relations administrator.
Sauvadon was the state president of CASTO for three terms and sat on the state board of directors for many years. During the 1991 Annual State Conference, he received the highest recognition in CASTO: the Life Member Award.
Sauvadon received the Fred Sowash Award, named after the founding father of the California Department of Education Instructor Program, in 2011.
CASTO noted that Sauvadon was proud to say he graduated from Class #2 of the California Bus Driver Instructor Program. He continued to attend the graduation ceremonies for that program as a cheerleader for the new generation. He also was invited back to CDE year-after-year to teach as a visiting educator at the Transportation Administrators Program.
Sauvadon served as the keynote speaker at many chapter workshops, as well as the emcee at the Annual School Bus Safety Roadeos for more than 25 years.
Sauvadon also spent many years with the California Highway Patrol as a volunteer community officer in San Luis Obispo County. Prior to that, he served in the United States Air Force as a young man. He will be laid to rest at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in California with full military honors.
Remembering Al Sauvadon
CASTO responded to Sauvadon's death, saying in part: "Members and school bus drivers who have encountered Al will always remember his kind and humorous personality...he really cared about the school bus driver and the children who rode the yellow school bus."
Dr. Molly McGee-Hewitt, CEO and executive director of the National Association for Pupil Transportation, attended some of Sauvadon's programs through CASTO. Whenever an industry icon passes away, I am always reminded of how blessed our industry has been and continues to be. Al Sauvadon made a lasting and continuing contribution to pupil transportation. His life made a difference. NAPT sends our condolences to his beloved family. Our community mourns his passing and celebrates his contributions.
In a LinkedIn post, STA released a statement saying in part, "[Sauvadon] made an incredible impact on everyone who had the pleasure of working with him, from his co-workers at STA and those who heard him speak at conferences nationwide...our deepest condolences go to the Sauvadon family, his friends, and his colleagues. Al will be greatly missed."
NSTA Executive Director Curt Macysyn responded to Sauvadon's death in a statemente saying, "Al Sauvadon was an icon in the world of student transportation, and he left a profound impact through his efforts in both the public and private sectors. His last legacy, however, will be the support and focus he placed on school bus drivers and students they transported. He will be missed.”
Ronna Weber, executive director of NASDPTS, released a statement on Sauvadon's death, saying, "The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services mourns the passing of Al Sauvadon. We recognize the many contributions he made to the school transportation industry throughout his career, and we were all better for having him as part of our industry and our lives. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends."
Al's son George and daughter Susie predeceased him. He is survived by Paula and son Gary, daughters Terri, Michelle, and Anna. He also is survived by four-grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.