CHRISTINA CELESTE | Transportation Supervisor Orange Unified School District | Orange, California

Armed with both her bach-

elor’s degree and working on her master’s in business ad- ministration, Christina Celeste took a leap of faith when she joined the student transporta- tion industry six years ago. She had worked for a bank and in retail. She had

also worked for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, so transportation wasn’t entirely new to her, but she had yet to find a home. Her mother, a child nutrition manager at Palmdale Uni-

fied School District north of Los Angeles, recommended that she apply for an open supervisor position in the trans- portation department. And the rest, as they say, is history. “I have spent my entire career in the transportation

industry in a management capacity and have enjoyed every minute of it,” said Celeste, 31. “I am in an industry I can now call home.” She joined the Orange Unified School District in July 2016, after moving from Palmdale to Riverside, California, and became a dispatcher. Within seven months, she was promoted to transportation supervisor.

Celeste is focused on increasing her leadership in the industry. She is currently the state treasurer for the California Association of School Transportation Officials (CASTO), and said she hopes the future holds growth and advancement opportunities. The CASTO position, in addition to her day job, is

demanding and challenging yet also extremely reward- ing. “Working alongside very talented individuals in this organization will keep me inspired to stay motivated and encouraged. This position has and will continue to teach me skills I can apply in my career,” said Celeste. Currently, she is attending the California Association School Business Officials (CASBO) Transportation Leader- ship Academy to enhance her knowledge. She also won the CASBO Eastern Section scholarship for further education. Celeste has also become a regular fixture at local school bus roadeos and the TSD Conference roadeo as a judge, scorekeeper and cheerleader. “She is always willing to learn to better serve students,”

commented Pamela McDonald, the director of transpor- tation at Orange Unified who nominated her. “Christina is truly a rising star.”

JOSHUA HINERMAN | Supervisor of Transportation Robertson County Schools | Springfield, Tennessee

Joshua Hinerman is a poster

boy for community service. When not working 12-hour days at the office and filling in as a substitute bus driver, he accompanies his district’s homeless liaison to transport migrant children

to receive medical services at Vanderbilt University. Or teaches English to Spanish speakers every Thursday night at his church. He provides janitorial support at local school campuses. No job is too small for Hinerman, who has had yellow bus blood coursing through his veins since an early age. His grandmother and grandfather both were school bus drivers, and he drove his first yellow bus at age 19. Hinerman, 37, is on his second stint leading a student transportation department. Before joining Robert- son County in 2015, Hinerman was at Wilson County Schools. He was hired there in July 2010 to work in oper- ations and safety, and by November he was appointed as the director of transportation. “That was like baptism by fire, but I loved the work,” he said. He is a certified director of pupil transportation and a

third-party tester who “lives and breathes transportation” with an unmatched positive attitude and leadership skills, said Julia Braswell, the coordinator of operations

for Robertson County Schools and one of two readers to nominate Hinerman. She praised Hinerman’s un- matched positive attitude and leadership skills. It wasn’t always a foregone conclusion that Hinerman

would make transportation the focus of his student-ori- ented career. During college, he wanted to become a teacher and he worked with severely disabled students at a school. But a ful-time teacher advised him to finish college first, or he would burn out. He later wrote a senior paper at Travecca Nazarene

University in Nashville on the history of the yellow school bus, and interviewed Johnny Flynt, who at the time was director of transportation for Marshall County Schools in Lewisburg, Tennessee, on what it takes to be a student transportation supervisor. Upon graduation, Flynt offered Hinerman a school bus driver position, and to this day, Hinerman attributes his career trajectory to Flynt’s tutelage and tough love. “I got caught speeding once and Flynt told me, ‘I catch

you doing that again, I’m firing you.’ That conversation shook me to the core,” Hinerman recounted. “He taught me more in my first two years of school bus driving than anything else. He helped me to stand up to children and to be bold with an emphasis on safety in every decision you make.” 49

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