Thirty-year industry veteran Ronnie McCallister became Florida's new state director of student transporation on July 7 following the retirement of Charlie Hood.
Hood left the Florida Department to become executive director of the National Association of State Directors of Student Transportation Services.
McCallister told STN that he actually celebrates his 30th anniversary in December, but it's a minor detail for a man his predecessor said is as familiar, or more familiar, than he is with the state director's role and duties.
"I am excited that the position was filled so quickly and with someone who is experienced with the operations of our office, with Florida, and with all our school districts," Hood told STN. "Mr. McCallister is well-respected throughout the state."
McCallister joined the Florida Department of Education about 20 years ago after working at the local school district level, where he got his start as a school bus mechanic for his home district of Wakulla County Public Schools, south of Tallahassee. He returned to the local level two years ago for Orange County Public Schools, serving the greater Orlando area. He was the senior administrator of fleet services.
But he added that a desire to be closer to family, including his ties to the state level, brought him back to the state department of education as assistant transportation director.