Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) transportation staff members are the first adults to interact with nearly 130,000 Gwinnett students each school morning and the last to close their school day in the afternoon. They are charged with the safe delivery of students between home and school, driving the district's 1,900-plus buses more than 23.5 million miles each year. In fact, GCPS is the third largest transporter of schoolchildren in the country. With a focus on safety, personalized service, and accountability, it’s no surprise that GCPS’ Transportation Department is considered one of the five best in the country by the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute.
On March 14, district leaders and School Board members had the opportunity to recognize the district’s transportation professionals for their service to Gwinnett students and their families at GCPS’ 19th Annual Awards Banquet. Highlighting the evening event was the recognition of Mechelle Stewart, Lloyd Breck, and Dixie Bridger who were named School Bus Managers and Monitor of the Year.
2016-17 Regular Education Bus Manager of the Year-- Mechelle Stewart
Mechelle has been driving for GCPS for nine years and is currently a Team Leader for the Central Gwinnett Cluster. She enjoys family time outdoors and curling up with a good book. The reason she drives is… “I enjoy working with kids. As a driver I get to meet a lot of different kids and get to know their personalities.”
2016-17 Special Education Bus Manager of the Year-- Lloyd Breck
Lloyd has been driving for GCPS for four years and drives for GIVE Center East, Magill Elementary School, and Norton Elementary School. His hobbies are photography and woodworking. When asked why he drives a school bus, Lloyd replied, “I enjoy working with the students and parents. I feel like I make a difference by helping, respecting, and encouraging the students.”
2016-17 Special Education Bus Monitor of the Year-- Dixie Bridger
With eight years of experience driving with GCPS, Dixie is now a monitor for The Bridge and ADAPT programs at Northbrook Center, Craig Elementary School, and Crews Middle School. She loves watching movies, going to craft shows, and shopping. Dixie said she needed to return to work after the passing of her husband. She had been in property and casualty insurance claims work for 33 years and wanted a change. She loves children and her free time in the summer.
The selection of the 2016-17 winners is the result of an extensive process. First, they were nominated by their colleagues in their transportation zone. There are 26 regular education zones and 12 special education zones. Nominees then were given a written and driving skills test. From the pool of nominees, 11 finalists were selected— five regular education bus managers, three special education bus managers, and three special education bus monitors. A committee selected the winners from among the finalists.
“While each zone representative and the three winners have different backgrounds, the one thing that all have in common is the love for the students they transport,” said Don Moore, GCPS’ director of Transportation. “The drivers and monitors who were recognized at the banquet exemplify and validate why we are recognized as one of the best Pupil Transportation Organizations in the Country. Please join me in congratulating this year’s winners.”