The long-time transportation section chief for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and past president of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, Derek Graham, said he plans to remain aligned to the school bus industry following his retirement on Feb. 28.
Graham logged 33 years in student transportation, the first four as a research assistant and assistant director with the Institute of Transportation Research and Education at the University of North Carolina. He joined NCDPI in 1988 as a project manager, responsible for implementing the Transportation Information Management System for districts across the state. He then served as a software manager overseeing statewide information, budget, HR and education reporting management systems for two and a half years before being named transportation section chief in August of 1995.
Graham served as NASDPTS president in 2007 and 2008, and on the NASDPTS executive board for a total of eight years. On top of being state delegation chair for the past 21 years, Graham is a founding member of the American School Bus Council; a past president, treasurer and board member of the Southeastern States Pupil Transportation Conference; NCDPI agency representative on the North Carolina Geographic Information Coordinating Council, North Carolina Operation Lifesaver board member; and steering committee vice-chair for the National Congress on School Transportation.
Currently, Ben Matthews, director of safe and healthy schools support at NCDPI, is leading the search for a replacement to “ensure there is no disruption to the services provided by the DPI Transportation Section,” Graham said.
Graham added that he looks forward to becoming a school bus industry consultant starting this spring.
“It seems that the time to give that a shot is right now, while I’m young enough to keep working and to enjoy starting something new,” Graham said in an email to the NASDPTS executive board announcing his retirement.
Graham said he has been blessed during his career in working with an “amazing team” of administrators from local education agencies throughout North Carolina, as well as staff at DPI, ITRE and the University of North Carolina.
“I will treasure these relationships and friendships forever,” he added.