Thought Leaders

Tim Ammon

As Chief Business Development Officer for the TransPar Group of Companies, Tim Ammon is responsible for building client relationships and identifying opportunities for their team to
collaborate on with their clients. He has provided transportation consulting services to school districts across the United States and Canada for more than 15 years, and has focused extensively on assisting student transportation programs of all sizes to develop the knowledge and experience needed to provide the most effective and efficient services on the market.

Michele Beckjord, MFS

Ms. Beckjord has been employed at the NTSB since 1995 and serves as a senior accident investigator and project manager. She has led survival factors investigations of major highway accidents involving school buses, motorcoaches, and other heavy vehicles along with motorcoach fires and bridge collapses. She has also participated in numerous railroad, marine, pipeline and hazardous materials accident investigations. As a project manager, she has served as a hearing officer, written and managed multiple technical NTSB major accident reports, and participates as a subject matter expert in Board public hearings and forums. Ms. Beckjord received her Masters of Forensic Science degree from The George Washington University and is a registered diplomat with the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators.

Linda F. Bluth, Ed.D.

Dr. Linda Bluth has 50 years of experience as a Special Educator, including 35 years in special needs transportation. Her past experience includes work at the United States Department of Education (USDE); University Professor; School System Administrator; and Policy Specialist in the Maryland Governor's Office for Children Youth and Families. She is currently employed part-time at the Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

Linda is an Emeritus Member of NAPT’s Special Needs Advisory Committee, a Past-President of NAPT and served as the NAPT Director at Large (1995–1998).

Kathy Furneaux, CDPT, CPTDI-SNT

Kathy is the Executive Director of the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute (PTSI) and has been involved in the pupil transportation industry for 35 years. She speaks at National and State conferences including Transporting Students with Disabilities Conference, NAPT, STN, and National Head Start Conferences. She also speaks at many US State and Canadian Province Conferences. Ms. Furneaux is nationally published and serves on the Board of Advisors for Safe Ride News and Transporting Students with Disabilities National Conference. She has served on the Special Needs and Operations Writing Committees for the National School Transportation Specifications and Procedures Congress for the past 15 years. She also serves on NAPT’s Special Needs Advisory Committee (SNAC).

Launi Harden, CDPT

Launi Harden has been in student transportation for 30+ years and is currently the Director of Transportation for Washington County School District in St. George, Utah. She is currently responsible for over 170 employees and 82 buses that transport approximately 14,000 students each day in a county of 2,400 square miles. Approximately 30 buses are used to transport students to activities throughout the State of Utah, Nevada and Arizona. Launi has served on the NAPT Board of Directors and is currently a member of the Special Needs Advisory Committee (SNAC).

Keith Henry, CDPT

Keith Henry has more than 24 years of experience in school transportation and is currently the Director of Transportation for the Lee’s Summit (MO) R-7 School District, where he oversees an $11 million budget and a staff of 240+. There are 18,300 students in the Lee’s Summit school system; Keith’s drivers transport 14,000 of them to 28 different schools and his eight technicians maintain a fleet of 175 buses. 

Keith is also Past-President of NAPT. Prior to that, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute (PTSI), served as President of the Missouri Association for Pupil Transportation, and Chairman of the annual Missouri School Bus Safety Competition.

Catherine Hickem & Mark Gauthier, THE DASH GROUP

The Dash Group is a boutique consulting firm passionate about helping clients achieve organizational health and develop effective leaders. They leverage their expertise and resources to create solutions for clients looking to maximize profitability by minimizing the drag affecting their organizations.

NAPT partnered with The Dash Group, who in conjunction with the Judgment Index™, created The School Bus Driver Safety & Risk Index™ – a product tailored to our industry in order to make children safer by giving them safer drivers.

Dr. Dionne Kress

Dr. Dionne Kress's professional background and life experiences have given her a unique set of skills and talents. She has practiced as a family therapist, spent 15 years in medical sales with two Fortune 500 Pharmaceutical companies and a Global leader in the medical device industry. She currently practices as a Stress Management Consultant and Coach where she encourages clients to realize the root cause of their stress. She is a passionate Motivational Speaker who has dedicated herself to helping others shift their internal critic to one that is positive so that they can experience less Stress and more Success in life and business.

Dionne believes that a healthy body, positive mindset, supportive relationships, and happiness are essential for a successful life. Her love and zest for health and wellness led her to become a fitness trainer helping clients bring strength and vitality back to their bodies and minds.

Martin Lueken, Ph.D.

Marty Lueken studied in the department of education reform and received his doctorate in education policy from the University of Arkansas. He also earned a master’s degree in economics from the University of Missouri. His research interests include education finance and teacher pensions. His work primarily focuses on fiscal policy issues as they pertain to education choice. He also travels around the country to testify in states that introduce education choice legislation.

Prior to joining EdChoice, Marty was the education research director at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, where he worked on school choice policy in Wisconsin. He received his bachelor’s degree in physical education, with an emphasis in sports medicine, from Eastern Illinois University. Marty is a native of St. Louis, MO and currently lives in Indianapolis with his lovely wife and *sometimes* sassy daughter.

Peter Mannella

Peter Mannella recently retired as Executive Director of the 600-member New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) and the Cyr Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to education and professional development for the school bus industry. He also served as the NYAPT legislative representative since 1995.
As NYAPT legislative representative, Peter successfully fought for the enactment of more than 30 laws including those relating to advertising on school buses, training funds for school bus drivers, training related to special needs students, prohibiting standees on school buses, prevention of illegal passing of school buses, and several technology and school bus equipment laws.
Peter brings a long career in public policy and public service to bear on issues related to school bus safety and is intent on helping the public understand what we do in school transportation as well as to have the school bus community better appreciate the concerns of parents and policymakers

Joseph O'Neil, MD, MPH, FAAP

Joseph O’Neil, MD is Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, and is a practicing Neurodevelopmental Pediatrician in the Division of Developmental Pediatrics at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. At Riley Hospital, Dr. O’Neil is Co-Medical Director of the Automotive Safety Program and is Director of the Spina Bifida Program.
Dr. O’Neil has served as an executive member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention, and as Abstract Chair for the AAP’s Scientific Meeting Day.
His research interests are children with disabilities, public health, injury prevention, motor vehicle occupant protection and safe transportation of children with disabilities.  Dr. O’Neil is involved in the assessment and development of community initiatives for injury prevention. His past and current projects include developing a program to reduce teen motor vehicle crashes, evaluation of injury-related infant mortality, reduction of injuries among children, and promoting programs for child passenger safety.
Dr. O’Neil earned his Medical and Master of Public Health degrees in public health from Indiana University School of Medicine. Prior to becoming a medical doctor, Dr. O’Neil earned his Bachelors and Master of Science in Civil Engineering (specializing in structural mechanics) from the University of Notre Dame. After earning his engineering degrees, he worked as a professional engineer for several years.

Jaclyn Schildkraut, Ph.D.

Jaclyn Schildkraut, PhD, is one of the nation's leading researchers on the topic of school and mass shootings. She is an assistant professor of Public Justice at the State University of New York at Oswego. She is the co-author of Mass Shootings: Media, Myths, and Realities and has a new book, Mass Shootings in America: Understanding the Debates, Causes, and Responses, coming out later this year.

Dr. Schildkraut's research has been published in a number of academic journals and has been featured in a host of news sources, both in the U.S. and internationally.

Alexandra H. Robinson, M.ED., CDPT

Alexandra Robinson began her work with students with disabilities as a counselor and teacher of students with severe Autism over
29 years ago. During that time, she has presented to transportation professionals and special educators both locally and internationally in the areas of mobility/securement, civil rights, safe transportation of students with medical and special needs. Alex is the Executive Director for the Office of Pupil Transportation for the New York City Department of Education, the largest school district in the country and is a Past President of the National Association for Pupil
Transportation (NAPT). She also serves as the Co-Chair of NAPT’s Special Needs Advisory Committee (SNAC).

Sue Shutrump

Sue Shutrump is Supervisor of OT and PT services for the TCESC. She is the 2018 recipient of the Peter Grandolfo Memorial Award for Excellence in Student Transportation. She received the NAPT Special Needs Transportation Award, sponsored by Q’Straint/Sure-Lok, in 2006. Sue is a member of NAPT’s Special Needs Advisory Committee (SNAC), holds the SNT endorsement and is a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. She served on the NHTSA curriculum writing committee for “CSRS on School Buses,” and both revision committees, as well as a consultant on NHTSA’s training video series. Sue has been a member of the Infants Toddlers and Preschoolers Operations Writing and the Special Needs Operations Writing Committees since the 13th NCST. She has presented numerous seminars and authored articles in many publications as well as a chapter, “Best Practices in Safe Transportation” in the AOTA textbook, Best Practices for Occupational Therapy in Schools.

Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur

Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur leads the Vermont Energy Investment Corp's (VEIC) Transportation Electrification practice, overseeing a staff of consulting professionals and managing the client projects and operations. She leads VEIC’s work supporting electric transit buses and electric school buses as an integral part of a state’s VW Mitigation Plan by providing electric bus expertise. She also leads clean transportation policy work at VEIC and serves as an expert in the legislature. She represents VEIC on state and regional climate and clean transportation stakeholder groups and provides strategic guidance on policy positions. For over 20 years she has successfully led teams to advance program and policy solutions on a range of issues at the national, state and local level. She has extensive experience in active transportation, electric vehicles, planning, land use, and mobility issues, particularly for older adults.   

The annual NAPT Conference & Trade Show is consistently recognized as the premier school transportation conference in the nation. Our goal is to inspire NAPT Conference Delegates to connect with one another; communicate best practices and tackle common challenges and collaborate on ways to advance the student transportation industry.