Mike Bullman received an award from the South Carolina Department of Education for his 40-plus years of commitment to yellow school buses and student safety.
Bullman, the South Carolina Department of Education director of transportation, was recognized Tuesday during a board meeting by state Superintendent Ellen Weaver with the agency’s first Spirit of South Carolina Award.
According to a Facebook post by the department, the award “recognizes Mike’s enthusiastic leadership and tireless commitment to the transportation safety of South Carolina students, which reflect South Carolina’s twin mottos of hope that propels hard work.”
In a video featuring former and current SCDE employees, Bullman, who is also a member of the School Transportation News editorial advisory board and a lead instructor for the National School Bus Inspector Training Program offered at STN EXPO, is described as a dedicated person who is committed to the safety of students via yellow school buses.
“In some ways, Mike has one of the least visible jobs in the agency running our transportation office,” Weaver stated via the video. “But in some ways, he has one of the visible jobs because we see those beautiful yellow buses on roads across our state every single day. And so, it’s Mike and his hard work, his servant leadership that really propels our transportation in a way that prioritizes excellence.”
She continued, “And that really prioritizes customer service, serving the students of this state. And so, it’s a real privilege to be able to come to work every day knowing that we have a Mike Bullman on our team, who is doing his best to ensure that we serve our students with excellence.”
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Bullman started his career at SCDE in 1980 as a fuel specialist, and from there he worked his way up the maintenance department ladder. Since then, he has become an expert in all aspects of the state’s transportation system. Bullman was named director of maintenance in 2012 and then director of transportation in 2021.
Bullman, left the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services Annual Conference in Arlington, Virginia, early this week to accept the award. He said he was not told why, only he had to be there “no questions asked.” In typical Bullman fashion, he obliged without a second thought.
“If I deserved it at all, it’s only because of the incredible knowledge and leadership this industry has and has been willing to share,” he told STN. “The willingness to share and teach others is one of the defining characteristics of student transportation.”