Early NAPT History
The groups mentioned in the following industry history all are viable groups and each has made a significant contribution to school transportation safety. Each of the named organizations primarily served some specific area of interest, and did not encourage or accept membership from any and all persons engaged in and/or with interest in pupil transportation. The National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) was, and is needed as an organization where members of other pupil transportation groups, regardless of specific areas of interest, can join together in a common bond. As such, the expertise, experience, and wisdom of all interested persons can be brought to focus on problems and needs of the entire industry.
Dr. Robert (Bob) Isenberg, an NEA executive, took the newly formed Rural Pupil Transportation Association in 1939, under his leadership and provided the group with excellent direction. Bob’s travel and other related experiences in connection with this activity were provided thorough NEA. Thus, there were no membership dues, board of directors, etc. when he left NEA and joined AASA (American Association of School Administrators). In (1969-1970) he took the group along as part of his portfolio. Upon his untimely death, September 1, 1972, AASA still assumed sponsorship of the National Conferences; Philadelphia 1972 and Denver in 1973. Bob’s death resulted in considerable apprehension for those actively engaged in the work of the group about its’ future. Whereupon, AASA “calmed the waters” by assuring their continuing sponsorship for the immediate future. The reorganization within AASA, the economy, and expenses of the conferences forced some difficult decisions. Speculations had also arisen about affiliations with one of the groups previously mentioned, a circumstance which would surely result in a loss of identity and existence of a school transportation organization where all persons, interested or involved could meet and work as equals, with the same goals, regardless of specific interests and purpose. The group had tried other alternatives to either reorganize or go independent.
For the Philadelphia Conference in 1972 and the Denver Conference in 1973, Dr. John Goodspeed Stuart, another AASA Associate Executive Secretary, served in the capacity formally served by Dr. Isenberg.
During the Denver Conference 1973, AASA had determined that due to internal reorganization, the economy and expenses, they would no longer sponsor the group. With this knowledge, once again speculation and controversy arose over the nature and/or affiliation of the group. It was decided at this time to form an ad hoc committee for reorganization. The committee members were: Anthony “Tony” Miller, Maryland, Dr. Orv Parrish, New Jersey, William E. Gallagher, Pennsylvania, Ralph Martin, Missouri, and Jack Kaufman, Iowa. Counseled by Dr. John Stuart, the committee worked for a year drawing up a constitution, now called the by laws. At a “Constitutional Convention” type meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, December 2-5, 1974, a constitution was officially adopted, officers were elected and NAPT was formally organized in the present format. The conference had regular meetings and conference activities taking place.
The delegates attending the National Pupil Transportation Conference held in Cincinnati, Ohio, voted to form the National Association for Pupil Transportation.
This Association replaced the original sponsorship of the Department for Rural Education and later the American Association of School Administrators as the nucleus of a body of all persons involved in school bus pupil transportation. Now formally organized and without a sponsorship NAPT became financially independent through membership dues and equipment shows.
The By laws of the Association defined the objectives of NAPT:
To promote and to provide leadership for the improvement and advancement of pupil transportation; to work particularly for the improvement of the economy, officing and safety of pupil transportation; to serve as the spokesman for all who are engaged in pupil transportation; to serve as an agency for the collection and dissemination of information and to provide publications, conferences, research and other services which may promote our objectives.
Robert A. “Bob” Larsen of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was elected as the first President of NAPT and has devoted countless hours in setting the foundations for a strong and lasting association.
Elected as the Vice President - President - Elect was William E. “Bill” Saunders of St. Louis, Missouri. Bill was doubly honored by being selected as the recipient of the SCHOOL BUS FLEET award for Outstanding Pupil Transportation Administrator.
A seven member Board of Directors was also elected consisting of one member from each of the four geographic regions and three at-large members. The regional Directors were elected as follows: Mary Amyot of Rochester, New York, representing the Northeast, Randy Ingle of Fort Worth, Texas, representing the Southeast, Jack Kaufman, of Dubuque, Iowa, representing the Midwest which also includes Canada, and Jerry Shumway, of Phoenix, Arizona, representing the Southwest. The at-large Directors elected were Ron Goodwin of Greenville,
South Carolina, Anthony Miller of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and Tom Valentine of Vero Beach, Florida.
The terms for the members of the Board of Directors were determined by drawing lots for one, two, and three year terms. One year terms were drawn by Randy Ingle and Ron Goodwin The election of one regional and one at-large director and a president-elect had been scheduled for the Conference in Fort Worth.
The First Annual Conference and Equipment Show held in Fort Worth November 10 -13, 1975 accelerated membership.
The NAPT Strategic Plan
In 2009, the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) Board of Directors adopted a strategic plan that guides the Board in determining the activities of the association.
The Board utilized the services of a professional facilitator to collect, assimilate and discuss information related to environmental factors external to each school district that will have the greatest impact (positive or negative) in the near future on school transportation service providers; environmental factors within each school district that will have the greatest impact (positive or negative) in the near future on school transportation service providers; the most important problems faced by the employing organization of the individual member of the NAPT; the most important problems currently faced by the individual member of the NAPT; the strengths of NAPT that positively differentiate it from other related or competing organizations that also serve or address the needs of the NAPT membership; and the weaknesses of NAPT compared to other related or competing organizations that also serve or address the needs of the NAPT membership.
The qualitative responses to these questions were assimilated by the facilitator and used to establish the parameters a Strategic Planning Retreat that was held in conjunction with one of the Board’s quarterly meetings. During the meeting, participants identified the following strategic priorities and general goals for each topic:
Expand NAPT’s Role in Coordinating Industry Activities
Participants expressed concern about the level of coordinated activity among individuals and organizations active or influential in pupil transportation. This lack of coordination could lead to a variety of problems, ranging from unwise resource allocation to mixed-messaging when communicating with legislative or regulatory bodies.
In addition, participants believed many policy makers either had misperceptions or were simply uninformed about important issues related to pupil transportation and the impact of policy decisions on pupil transportation, which results in poor policy decisions that decreased the level or quality of service within school districts or make it difficult for members to effectively implement these new policy initiatives.
Identify common issues and concerns.
Create positive working relationships between these organizations for the benefit of the industry.
Create mechanisms for action to address joint concerns.
Increase the ability of the industry to speak with one voice.
1. NAPT will attempt to organize an industry summit of the three main organizations active in pupil transportation issues to identify common industry issues and map out a process for collaboration where interests of the three groups intersect.
Goals for the Summit:
2. NAPT will develop a “State Links” strategy to help state associations operate even more efficiently and effectively.
Improve coordination between state and national associations on common problems and issues, especially by helping state associations develop specific plans and consistent messaging to educate their congressional representatives, federal agencies & state agencies, other industry associations and members on issues important to pupil transportation.
Improve overall service and support to members.
Improve understanding of pupil transportation issues and their impact on school districts.
Reinforce NAPT’s standing as the industry leader and “big tent” for industry discussions
Goals of the State Links strategy:
3. NAPT will expand its Public Awareness Campaign to educate Congress as well as relevant state and federal agencies on the role and resources of the NAPT so that policy makers are more informed on the issues of pupil transportation and NAPT’s role in addressing these issues.
Improve policy-makers understanding of critical issues within pupil transportation.
Improve policy-makers understanding of the impact of specific state and federal initiatives on pupil transportation.
Improve policy-makers awareness of the role of NAPT and its members.
Goals of the Policy-maker Awareness Campaign:
Complete and Distribute NAPT’s Training and Professional Development Model
Increase the capabilities of transportation managers.
Increase the professionalism of transportation managers.
Solidify NAPT position as the industry’s best source of training information and knowledge.
Participants were concerned that NAPT has not completed its comprehensive training curriculum for members and other potential audiences. While discussions and initial courses have been developed, they are not currently sufficient for the industry’s needs.
Within the next two years, NAPT will develop a comprehensive training curriculum for both members and nonmembers in transportation management designed to educate these individuals on key competencies in pupil transportation.
Goals of the NAPT Training and Professional Development Model:
Develop a Methodology to Enable NAPT to Collect Quantitative Information About the Industry
Participants wanted quantifiable data regarding the characteristics, concerns and needs of the industry in general and NAPT members in particular. This information was considered important to make sure that NAPT develops specifically targeted membership programs, services and educational content.
Strategy Statement: Help the association understand what these individuals know and do not know about topics related to pupil transportation.
Identify information or resource needs.
Collect information that will enable NAPT to track trends in the marketplace over time.
NAPT will contract with a consultant to implement a new process to collect quantitative information on the characteristics and needs of both members and non-members.
Goal of the Information Collection Project:
Using data to determine and share Best Practices
Develop a Specific Membership Growth Strategy
Increase membership retention
Increase new member acquisition
Increase membership revenue
Increase political credibility through larger membership
Increase influence of industry through larger membership
Participants wanted to be able to ensure a broad base of representation of industry within the membership. Increased membership not only increases revenue it improves NAPT’s ability to position themselves as the “industry’s voice”.
The NAPT will develop and implement a formal plan for membership recruitment and retention of school transportation personnel.
Goals of the Member Recruitment and Retention Plan:
The Board reviews the goals and objectives for each strategic priority during the course of developing the business plan for each objective. This is a topic of discussion at every board meeting. NAPT members are invited to offer comments on anything written above. Additional information about the status of each objective will be released via the NAPT Dispatch.