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Kelsey Morrell Mechanic Stroudsburg | Pennsylvania Area School District


Just 23 years old, Kelsey Morrell has already been working in the bus garage for roughly a third of his life. He started helping out in Pennsylvania’s Stroudsburg Area School District in 11th grade. Now, he’s getting ready to take over as Head Mechanic Billy Hughes retires. After Morrell started in a custodial position and quickly became comfortable around the bus garage, Hughes recognized his potential and started training Morrell on all manner of bus repairs. He was astonished at the young man’s competence, commenting that in all his 35 years in the department he’s “never seen another mechanic accelerate his skills the way Kelsey has in just five years.” Morrell now performs in-frame major overhauls, automat-


ic transmission rebuilds, full suspension work, electrical work, rust repair and other school bus repairs with such care that Hughes said one job was “such perfection I couldn’t do better myself if I tried.” The varied nature of the work is something


Morrell enjoys. “It’s not just working on buses and school vehicles,” he says. “There’s fabrication, work- ing with vendors, ordering parts, emergency calls when


a bus breaks down and incidents, installing radios and school bus cameras, electrical work, installing special-ed equipment for students and lots and lots of trouble shooting.” Transportation Supervisor Cathleen Crisafulli said she is ready


for Morrell to be her “go-to person in the shop,” and Hughes said he feels comfortable handing the reins to his protégé. Meanwhile, Morrell said he is prepared with the knowledge and skills. Bring on the future.


Kevin Houk Transportation Director | West Franklin USD #287 Pomona, Kansas


Kevin Houk, 39, is well-loved in his Kansas school district, as evidenced by the over two dozen teachers, coaches, board members, par- ents and students who wrote in to nominate him for this feature. Houk spent 14 years in the U.S. Army and another eight as a combat medic. During the three years he’s been the transportation director for West Franklin USD #287, Houk utilized his military and medical training by maintaining respectful relationships with his drivers, strengthening students in the football and weightlifting programs, self-teaching himself details of school bus maintenance, and becoming certified to instruct drivers on CPR and defensive driving. His diligence is evident in the perfect scores his school bus fleet has received in


state inspections for the past three years. Athletic directors and coaches report on Houk’s caring way of accommodating practices and games. Parents and former students speak highly of everything this rising star does around the district, all without seeking recognition. His pas- sion for his job is evident in his volunteering of his weekends and summers to coach students in


athletics and mentor them personally. “Kevin is that positive, adult leader that cares about the kids and pushes them to be better every day,”


one parent praised. “I would have never guessed that my path in life would include being a transportation director,” Houk says. “However, it’s one of the best gifts I have been given.” He adds: “My favorite part of my job is the kids getting excited when I drive the bus and hearing them say, ‘It’s Cowboy Kevin!’”


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