School transportation consultant Peter Lawrence and industry veteran Dick Fischer discussed how following rules can save drivers and school districts hard lessons in costly litigation during the...

School transportation consultant Peter Lawrence and industry veteran Dick Fischer discussed how following rules can save drivers and school districts hard lessons in costly litigation during the NAPT conference in Columbus, Ohio.

Photo: Wes Platt

For the first time since before COVID-19 shut down in-person conferences, the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) held its annual gathering in Columbus, Ohio. And it was my first time attending as executive editor of School Bus Fleet.

Honestly, it was sometimes overwhelming, but in the best way: so much content for an attendee to choose from. But one could easily catch the themes NAPT wanted to capture for its members, from professional growth and leadership to battling driver shortages to adapting to new school transportation technologies.

Besides great informative sessions and engaging keynote speakers, the NAPT also got down to the business of electing new officers and bidding farewell to Rick Grisham, the association’s outgoing president. Grisham, director of student transportation for Richland County (South Carolina) School District One, is succeeded as president by Teena Mitchell, another South Carolinian who coordinates special-needs transportation for Greenville County Schools.

Other new officers elected at the conference include:

  • President-Elect: Keith Kaup, previously NAPT’s Region 4 director and transportation director for Pearland Independent School District in Texas.
  • Region 4 Director: Rosalynn Vann-Jackson, chief supporting services officer for Broken Arrow Public Schools in Oklahoma, succeeded Kaup.
  • Affiliate Director: Maritza Valentin, national account manager for AMF-Bruns of America.

The NAPT board also agreed to a three-year extension to the contract of Dr. Molly McGee-Hewitt, the association’s executive director.

During the conference, NAPT inducted four familiar faces into the association’s Hall of Fame:

  • 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.

The NAPT 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.

Congratulations to all the award recipients and best of luck to the new officers. Looking forward to seeing everyone at next year’s event, scheduled for Oct. 4 in Oklahoma City.

Got school transportation news? Reach out to School Bus Fleet Executive Editor Wes Platt at

About the author
Wes Platt

Wes Platt

Executive Editor

Wes Platt joined Bobit in 2021 as executive editor of School Bus Fleet Magazine. He writes and edits content about student transportation, school bus manufacturers and equipment, legislative issues, maintenance, fleet contracting, and school transportation technology - from classic yellow diesel buses to the latest EPA-funded electric, propane, and CNG vehicles.

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