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INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS


SMOOTH TRANSITION SEASONED FLORIDA TRANSPORTATION HEAD BECOMES NEW NASDPTS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HELPING TO KEEP THE ASSOCIATION GOING STRONG


WRITTEN BY SYLVIA ARROYO D


uring the time Florida hosts the 68th Southeastern States Pupil Transportation Conference in Daytona Beach, Fla., from June 28 to July 2, Florida State Director


Charlie Hood will become the new executive director of NASDPTS. At this joint conference with the Florida Association for Pupil Transportation, he will be providing his last “state of the state” update to FAPT members. Te timing of the change just happened this way.


Hood, who in June will celebrate 33 years with the Flori- da Department of Education, the last 24 as state director of student transportation, replaces Bob Riley, who announced his retirement in December. Since then, Riley has been on a month-to- month contract basis with NASDPTS until the end of June, or until a new executive director was hired. In March, NASDPTS held finalist interviews at the Transport-


ing Students with Disabilities and Preschoolers National Confer- ence in Nashville, Tenn., and shortly after made its choice. Hood said he’s always held a special place in his heart for NASDPTS, the national as- sociation that represents state agency officials who oversee student transportation. He noted the diversity of the people and groups who make up the association’s membership, and the way NASDPTS serves state directors by influencing upcoming policy initiatives and informing members. “We state directors are not the only mem- bership group, but we’re certainly an important part of NASDPTS. We always try to do our best to find out who all our members are, and how we can help all those different groups to do their jobs better,” he said.


WHEN CHARLIE TALKS, PEOPLE LISTEN


Before being state director, from 1975 to 1981, Hood was a mas- ter ASE automotive and truck technician at dealerships in the Tal- lahassee, Fla., area and was a technical writer of vocational instruc- tion manuals in diagnostics and repair of automotive technology at Florida State University. As state director, Hood’s responsibilities have included providing leadership, training and assistance to school districts and charter schools to ensure safe, cost-effective transporta- tion for Florida’s public school students. He knows well how NASDPTS has helped state directors with student transportation issues in their states. He recalled a time when the Florida Legislature was considering a bill to require two-point lap belts in school buses. He turned to the group for assistance. “Te association was instrumental in policy guidance and keeping us apprised of what the feds were up to at the time, so we could, in


26 School Transportation News May 2014 this writing.


Hood said it will be bittersweet leaving his state director position and not seeing his colleagues each day, as well as Florida’s local directors and all others in student transportation. But he’s excited about what NADSPDTS does now, and its potential ventures into new areas. He said he’s looking forward to not only the policy-making, but


the day-to-day, behind-the-scenes work of what makes NASDPTS tick, such as website updates and keeping regular and reliable con- tact with its members. “What we can do with technology to be more efficient and get- ting the word out; I think it’s a good fit,” he said. “I will try my best to fulfill the trust placed in me.” 


CHARLIE HOOD


turn, be knowledgeable and advise our state legislature on the safety and economic considerations,” Hood explained. He also mentioned another time when the Florida Association for Pupil Transportation borrowed much of the verbiage from NASDPTS’ position paper on adver- tisements placed on the exterior of school buses. Tanks to the group’s research into the topic, Hood said there have been no successful legislative proposals to allow ads on yellow buses in the state, and there was no bill even introduced by this year’s Florida Legislature. During his membership with NASDPTS, Hood also


served as president of the group from October 2010 to October 2012. Tough all candidates for the executive director position were


“How many other transportation professionals regularly check the federal register and newsletters? Charlie does. So


do I, now.” —Leon Langley, Maryland


“outstanding,” Hood’s breadth of knowledge and experience in the industry were “impossible to ignore,” stated NASDPTS President Elect Leon Langley, state director of pupil transportation for the Maryland State Department of Education. He’s known Hood for the six years he has been state director, and compared him to the E.F. Hutton TV com- mercials from the ’70s and ’80s. Te popular phrase in each commercial aired by the stock brokerage firm was “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” “Tat is Charlie to me,” Langley said. “As


state director, he is one of the first of my colleagues I call when I have questions as it relates to federal regulations. How many other transportation professionals regularly check the federal register and newsletters? Charlie does. So do I, now.” Hood will be the third NASDPTS


executive director, following Bob Riley and Charlie Gauthier, who served from 1995 to 2005. He technically will be the first state di- rector, as well as the first former NASDPTS president, to step into this role.


Hood’s replacement as state director wasn’t known at the time of


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