With a focus on safety, personalized service, and accountability, it's no surprise that the Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) Transportation Department is considered one of the five best in the country by the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute. GCPS transportation employees are the first staff members to interact with approximately 130,000 Gwinnett students each school morning and the last to wave goodbye in the afternoon. They are charged with the safe delivery of students between home and school, driving the district's 1,900+ buses more than 23.8 million miles each year. In fact, GCPS is the third largest transporter of schoolchildren in the country.
On March 13, district leaders and School Board members had the opportunity to recognize the district’s transportation professionals for their service to Gwinnett students and their families at GCPS’ 20th Annual Awards Banquet. Highlighting the evening event was the recognition of Thomas Reinhardt, Ray Hushon, and Linda Ward who were named School Bus Managers and Monitor of the Year.
2017-18 Regular Education Bus Manager of the Year— Thomas Reinhardt
Having joined the school district three years ago, Tom Reinhardt drives routes for Discovery HS, Richards MS, and Baggett and Benefield elementary schools. He says his job allows him to do two things he enjoys the most— driving and interacting with others. He adds, “Every day I get the privilege and honor to have a positive impact on the lives of my students.”
2017-18 Special Education Bus Manager of the Year—Ray Hushon
Ray Hushon enjoys his work transporting students with special needs in the North Gwinnett and Lanier clusters, as well as students who attend Northbrook Center and the GIVE Center. He shares, “I try to make their bus ride a learning experience; I know it is one for me.”
2017-18 Special Education Bus Monitor of the Year—Linda Ward
Linda Ward has served for three years as a bus monitor. When asked why she does this job, she refers to the flexible schedule and the ability it gives her to make a difference in a child’s life. She shares heart-warming stories of how special it is to bring joy to some of her students’ days. “They may not be able to speak but they are full of laughter,” she says
The selection of the 2017-18 winners is the result of an extensive process. First, bus managers and monitors were nominated by their colleagues to represent their transportation zone. There are 25 regular education zones and 12 special education zones. Nominees then completed both a written test and a test of their driving skills. From the pool of nominees, 11 finalists were selected-– five regular education bus managers, three special education bus managers, and three special education bus monitors. A committee of judges selected the winners for each category from among the finalists.
At the event, Transportation Director Don Moore applauded the efforts of all staff members who safely transport Gwinnett students to and from school. In recognizing this year’s winners and others recognized at the banquet, he said, “As a school district, we cannot focus on teaching and learning if students are not at school. Our bus drivers ensure their students arrive safely, on time, and ready to learn. They are the best of the best and we appreciate all that they do for the school system and the students we serve.”