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Johnelle and


Brandon Kelly Transportation Administrative Assistant / Mechanic | Baldwin County, Alabama, Public Schools


Keeping it in the family, the husband and wife


team of Brandon (31) and Johnelle (35) Kelly both perform superior work for Baldwin County’s Transpor- tation Department. Johnelle started out in the depart- ment as a custodian while in high school, and now serves as the transportation coordinator’s administrative assistant. Brandon is a mechanic and assists the shop foreman. “I am the central contact point for nearly every position in the shop so I have a lot of hats that I wear on a daily basis.” Johnelle explains. She is instrumental in driver training and budget management. “What makes Brandon unique is his willingness to learn and grow,” Transportation Supervisor Anthony Pollard says. Brandon


approaches each day with conscientiousness and a can-do attitude, whether it includes discussing driv- er concerns, training new mechanics, or present- ing classes to over 200 drivers. The department is a busy, fast-paced place.


“I love the fact that I don’t have a mundane position where every day is exactly the same.” Johnelle says. Brandon adds, “Each day is different and that keeps it interesting.”


But it’s not just in their work that the Kellys show stamina


and dedication. In 2015, Johnelle was diagnosed with Lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease caused by an overactive immune system and accompanied by intermittent pain. “Johnelle’s moxie has been amazing.” Pollard marvels. “She doesn’t let her disease affect her attitude. When she suffers or is in pain, she picks herself up, dusts off her knees and moves for- ward.” Brandon likewise keeps his positive outlook while helping to care for his wife and their children, Pollard adds.


Katrina Falk Director of Transportation | Fayette County, Indiana, School Corporation


“How often is it that you meet a person who


knew, since the 2nd grade, that they wanted to become a school bus driver and work their entire career in one industry?” asks Jon Nelson, fleet man- ager for Fayette County School Corporation in Indiana. His county is blessed with one such person: Katrina Falk. Between her ownership of two Crown school buses in high school and her current position managing transportation for over 2,100 students, the 35 year old has worked as a route driver, field trip driver, aide, delivery driver, and parts and inventory control specialist. With such thorough knowledge of the industry, Falk says she welcomed the “opportunity to merge those skill sets and to apply that knowledge” in her role as transportation director for


Fayette County. Her experience on the dealer and mechanic sides gives her a unique, comprehensive perspec- tive of what’s best for her school bus fleet. In a year and a half, she has revamped the county’s school bus specifications to include modern telematics and safety standards, started a pilot


program for on-board GPS and student tracking, and began sourcing much-needed routing software. “Katrina is the most dedicated individual I have ever met


when it comes to pupil transportation, overcoming any obstacle to pave the way to her true passion,” says Nelson. “It has never been just a school bus to Katrina.” “Although my job poses many daily challenges, working


towards making a positive impact is what continues to motivate me,” Falk shares.


42 School Transportation News • OCTOBER 2017


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