Alexandra Robinson, executive director of the Office of Pupil Transportation at the New York City Department of Education, took home the 11th Annual Peter J. Grandolfo Memorial Award of Excellence last week from the STN EXPO.
“To say I am grateful for this honor is an understatement,” Robinson said. “Peter was both a good friend and admired colleague who I miss dearly; to be awarded something in his name is truly humbling and something I will forever cherish.”
Grandolfo’s widow Linda, who also manages the STN EXPO conference registration booth, commented that Robinson and her late husband were close friends who shared a passion for spreading industry knowledge as well as a belief in education and training being the key to safety.
Linda Grandolfo opened the July 10 ceremony by describing her late husband’s passion for the school bus industry and transporting students, especially those with special needs. He was the director of transportation for Chicago Public Schools and served on the NAPT board.
“Even though 11 years have passed since Peter suddenly passed away, the value of his memory and dedication remains,” Linda Grandolfo told an assembly of about 600 conference attendees at the beginning of the morning general session keynote address. “I do believe that Peter would be so very proud of all of you and of your amazing dedication to our students who ride a yellow school bus. The responsibility each of you accept everyday no matter your area of student transportation is something he continued to not only learn about but something he wanted to share with anyone who would listen.”
James “Bud” Fears, Q’Straint’s sales manager for the western and central regions, announced Robinson as this year’s winner. She was unable to make it on stage for award due to work-related conflict, so STN accepted on her behalf.
Robinson is a past-president of the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) and a current tenured faculty member of the Transporting Students with Disabilities & Preschools National Conference. She is also a past-president of the California Association of School Transportation Officials.
She began her current position in December 2011 after serving as interim director of transportation for Montebello Unified School District near Los Angeles and prior to that as director of transportation for San Diego Unified School District from 1996 to 2011. Robinson started her pupil transportation career as crisis intervention specialists for a Florida school district before becoming a coordinator for the Exceptional Student Education program at the Florida Department of Education.
School Transportation News first awarded the Grandolfo Award in 2007 along with sponsor Q’Straint/Sure-Lok to Randy McLerran, who at the time was the state director of pupil transportation at the Oklahoma Department of Education.
Robinson followed her Grandolfo Award win with the 2017 President’s Award on Sunday night from the New York Association for Pupil Transportation. NYAPT recognized Robinson with for her role in the formation of the Coalition for School Bus Safety and for her “innovative ideas regarding child safety and efficient school transportation services for all children.”