HomeManagementTexas Transportation Director Receives 2023 Grandolfo Award

Texas Transportation Director Receives 2023 Grandolfo Award

Julie Hrebicek, the director of transportation for Magnolia Independent School District in Texas, is this year’s recipient of the Peter J. Grandolfo Memorial Award of Excellence.

Hrebicek is the 16th recipient of the award and was honored on Monday at STN EXPO. Lisa Nippolt, the western region manager of Q’Straint’s school bus and paratransit market announced Hrebicek as the winner following opening remarks from Linda Grandolfo, Peter’s widow.

“Our 2023 winner also treats everyone with kindness and respect,” Linda Grandolfo said, adding that like Peter, Hrebicek’s passion is found in students with special needs. “Even though 18 years have passed since he passed away, the value of his memory and dedication to the industry remains.”

About the Award

 

Peter Grandolfo was a director of transportation for Chicago Public Schools, a school board member for 35 years, a National Association for Pupil Transportation board member, and local and national school bus trainer. He spent the last two and a half years of his life as the bus supervisor and router for Northside Learning Center in Chicago. He died suddenly on Jan. 22, 2006.

 

The award in his honor was established the following year by friends and colleagues Bill and Colette Paul, the founders of School Transportation News. The award recognizes a school transportation professional who exhibits exemplary service on behalf of the nation’s schoolchildren, especially those with disabilities.

Hrebicek has been with Magnolia ISD for 23 years and exhibits exemplary service on behalf of public-school children nationwide. She started as a substitute bus driver, which allowed her to work and be on the same schedule as her children while also continuing her education. She held positions as a full-time school bus driver, special needs bus driver, lead driver, school bus driver trainer, trip coordinator, routing supervisor, and assistant director prior to becoming director of transportation in June of 2022.

Linda Grandolfo added that Hrebicek accomplished all of this while battling and defeating cancer. “Our 2023 winner is a kind soul that treats everyone with love, kindness and respect. Students, parents, employees and administrators’ lives are better because of her.”


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One story that illustrates Hrebicek’s character is the time she slept at the transportation office with staff who were unable to return home during flooding.

“My heart started pounding,” Hrebicek told School Transportation News following the announcement, on when she realized that was the award recipient. “To do, what I love to do, and for somebody else to think that that’s special … we do it for the kids, and we do it for each other, and there’s no reward expected. The award is doing what we do.”

She added that the people in transportation do the job because they love it. “There were no words, it’s like a shock. Overwhelming” Hrebicek continued. “This has been a fantastic experience.”

She added that she knew of Peter and his lasting inspiration on the industry. “So that is huge,” she said. “To be chosen … I am very thankful.”

Nominations for next year’s award will open later this year.

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