For the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) had the chance to induct new members into the association’s Hall of Fame.
Making up for lost time, the committee chose four worthy recipients that were announced during the annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 30:
- Pete Baxter, a school transportation director from Indiana and 2009’s School Bus Fleet Administrator of the Year.
- Mike Martin of New York, a longtime NAPT executive director who now serves as a senior consultant for HopSkipDrive.
- Don Paull of Texas, a school transportation consultant and board member with the NAPT Foundation.
- Donald Tudor, former director of transportation for South Carolina’s Department of Education and an NAPT Foundation board member. He was SBF’s Administrator of the Year for 2004.
Said Paull: “I didn’t start out in this career. I chose another career to start in. And I don’t have proof of it, but I think God had another plan than I had for myself. So I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had here and there have been many, many people who have made this opportunity for me. It’d probably take me two days to tell you there’ve been so many good people that have worked with me over the years.”
Baxter thanked several school transportation industry professionals during his remarks, noting: "I wasn't able to accomplish what I did in the industry without some assistance."
In remarks read by Tim Ammon of Zonar, Martin reacted to his induction by saying: "In my heart there is doubt that I deserve this recognition alongside the titans of school transportation whom I hold in respect and reverence. ... But there should be no doubt, no question of my gratitude and pride in receiving this honor."
"This is an honor for me," said Tudor, "and I want to thank my wife, who's sitting over here. But the idea that you're honoring me, I just want you to know that me working for you has been my honor all these years."
The NAPT also bestowed the Distinguished Service Award on John Hennessey of Massachusetts, who was SBF Administrator of the Year in 2019. He’s expected to retire from his position at Worcester Public Schools at the end of 2023.
Other honorees during the conference included:
- Stephanie Walker of Georgia for the Continuing Education Award.
- Kenny Mulder of Missouri for the Special-Needs Transportation Award.
- Peggy Stone of West Virginia for the School Bus Driver Training and Safety Award.
- Dillon Reeves, a student who saved the day on his Michigan school bus, for the Heroism Award.