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School Transportation News Seeks Upcoming Transportation Director of the Year

It’s that time of year again when the editors at School Transportation News consider the magazine’s next Transportation Director of the Year.

This year, however, the process started earlier than usual as the editors began developing a new criteria. Working with both the past Transportation Director of the Year awardees and the STN Advisory Board, a five-point criteria was created.

The Transportation Director of the Year is featured on the November cover of School Transportation News and is detailed in the issue. The winner also receives STN conference perks and is recognized throughout the year via various social media campaigns and articles.

Also new this year, STN will seek nominations from state directors and state association leaders. An email will be sent to representatives in the coming weeks, and nominations will remain open through the end of June.

The past five winners who aided in the new criteria are:

2018 – Nicole Portee
Denver Public Schools, Colorado
*Portee now serves as the assistant superintendent of operations for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina

2019 – Greg Jackson
Jeff Public Schools, Colorado
*Jackson now serves as the director of business development for School Bus Logistics company

2020 – Todd Watkins
Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland
*Watkins now serves as a consultant for the industry

2021 – Kayne Smith
Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, Texas

2022 – Jennifer Vobis
Clark County School District, Nevada

Related: WATCH: Day in the Life of a Transportation Director
Related: WATCH: 2022 Transportation Director of the Year, Jennifer Vobis
Related: (STN Podcast E39) Insightful Leadership: Meet the 2020 STN Transportation Director of the Year
Related: STN Transportation Director of the Year Keeps Focused on Family
Related: (STN Podcast E106) Collaborate & Optimize: Secrets for Enhancing Transportation Ops

Here is the new criteria:


  • Builds a strong culture and commitment to safety and trust (employee, parent, student and administration satisfaction)
    • Collaborative
    • Promotes personal and staff professional development
    • Champions a positive culture among staff, peers and stakeholders (places strong emphasis on retaining & retention of employees)
    • Promotes diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) in department and district-wide
    • Student-focused mentality
    • Surrounds oneself with experts in their specific fields
  • Catalyst for change
    • Adaptable
    • Innovative
    • Embraces new technology adoption
    • Special projects
    • Promotes Sustainability/environmental change
  • Excellent communicator
    • Clear focus on district goals
    • Helps people, advocates for transportation
    • Motivated
    • Responsive
    • Solutions-oriented
  • Experience
    • Grace under fire
    • Politically savvy, professional
    • Firm grasp on logistics/routing, general & special needs transportation, maintenance & procurement concepts

Industry Passion

    • Active in national and/or state associations, at STN conferences
    • Engages the local community (Is “face” of transportation in their area)
    • Mentors tomorrow’s leaders
      • Succession planning
    • Promote the industry

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