The NAPT Special Needs Transportation Award, which is sponsored by Q’Straint, was awarded during the NAPT Summit to Teena Mitchell, special needs coordinator for the transportation department at Greenville County Schools located in northwestern South Carolina.
“My mission in serving students with disabilities is to continue to educate myself and others who provide the transportation services,” Mitchell told STN. “Being well-informed and connecting with others in our field helps us make the changes within our district to better serve the children. It also helps us make educated decisions when faced with challenges daily.”
With 75,000 students transported each day via yellow school bus, Greenville County Schools is South Carolina’s largest school district in terms of transportation and the 44th largest in the nation. Mitchell has been manager of the Special Needs Bus Center since 2009. She holds the distinction of being the first person to ever receive NAPT’s Certificate of Special Needs Transportation, which she secured in 2014 and includes completing eight educational classes as well as passing a final exam. Last year, she received the NAPT Continuing Education Award, which is sponsored by Thomas Built Buses.
The position of special needs coordinator was recently developed at Greenville County Schools, and “will likely see more students with disabilities served on general education buses as well as special needs buses,” explained Mitchell.
“I have moved into this new position so that I can focus on student needs and overseeing the training necessary to ensure the students receive the appropriate transportation service and remain safe on our buses,” she continued.
“Teena is recognized and proves every day that she is an expert in the field of special needs transportation,” said Director of Transportation Adam James. “She is an advocate for special needs children and works tirelessly to ensure that we have the best program that we can to service their needs.”
Mitchell shared with STN that student transportation is the most rewarding career field she has worked in. "Serving students with disabilities is a humbling experience, but most of all, it is a privilege!" she said.