GCPS transportation staff members are the first adults to interact with more than 133,000 Gwinnett students each school morning and the last to close their school day in the afternoon. They are charged with the safe delivery of students between home and school, driving the district’s 1,980+ buses more than 23.5 million miles each year. We're proud (and not surprised) that GCPS’ Transportation Department— the third largest transporter of schoolchildren in the U.S.— is considered one of the five best in the country by the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute.
On March 19, district leaders and School Board members recognized the district’s transportation professionals for their service to Gwinnett students and their families. Highlighting the evening event was the recognition of the 2018-19 School Bus Managers and Monitor of the Year—Regular Education Bus Manager of the Year Gretchen Arnold, Special Education Bus Manager of the Year Julie Peterson, and Bus Monitor of the Year Hannah Robinson — and honors for Michael Moody, GCPS Fleet Technician of the Year.
2018-19 Regular Education Bus Manager of the Year: If you ask her, Gretchen Arnold will tell you that she doesn’t have a job, she has “a calling by God.” She says that “calling” is to make sure her students receive safe and caring transportation. Ms. Arnold says transporting students gives her purpose. She has more than two decades of experience and currently drives routes for Brookwood HS, Gwin Oaks ES, and Five Forks MS.
2018-19 Special Needs Bus Manager of the Year: As a driver, Julie Peterson drives routes in the Grayson and Brookwood clusters, while also transporting students who attend Oakland Meadow School and the Buice Center. The 15-year veteran says making kids smile and feel special is the fuel that keeps her going. She says, “I want to make my students feel special and I want them to know that they are special to me. Each and every one of the kids that I drive brings me joy in my everyday life.”
2018-19 Special Needs Monitor of the Year: Monitoring and driving GCPS school buses is a family affair for Hannah Robinson. Ms. Robinson and her sister are monitors in the same zone and their mother is a school bus driver. Hannah says her mom encouraged her to get into the “family business” and it quickly became clear. She made the right choice. “I love it so much,” Ms. Robinson shares. “My driver and the kids, they never fail to make my day!”
The selection of the 2018-19 winners is the result of an extensive process. First, they were nominated by their colleagues in their transportation zone. There are 25 regular education zones and 12 special education zones. Nominees then were given a written and driving skills test. Eleven finalists were selected – five regular education bus managers, three special education bus managers, and three special education bus monitors. A judging committee selected the winners from among the finalists.
Don Moore, executive director of Transportation for GCPS, applauded the efforts of all staff who safely transport Gwinnett students to and from school. He shares, “It was an honor to be able to recognize some of our best drivers and monitors at our annual awards banquet.” “Our bus drivers and monitors ensure their students arrive safely, on time, and ready to learn,” Mr. Moore says. “We appreciate all they do for the school system and the students we serve.”