- Gwinnett County School District
- GCPS News
GCPS thanks transportation professionals
June 2, 2021
Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) ended the school year by saying “thank you” to the men and women who help safely transport more than 130,000 GCPS students to and from school. Each year, GCPS hosts an awards banquet to honor a select group of transportation professionals who, through their hard work, dedication and job performance, have proven to be the best of the best. Leianne Barber, Judia Espey and Laura Doughman have been named 2020-2021 School Bus Managers and Monitor of the Year.
2020-2021 Regular Education Bus Manager of the Year
Leianne Barber started with GCPS 19 years ago and currently drives for Brookwood Elementary, Craig Elementary, Crews Middle School, and Brookwood High School. The mother of four and grandmother of one explains what motivates her, saying “The reason I am still driving a school bus 19 years later is because I fell in love with my job right away.” She goes on to share, “My coworkers are like family and over the years I have had the privilege of watching my kindergarten students grow up and become young adults in high school. It is an amazing feeling to know you were a positive role model in these student’s lives.”
2020-2021 Special Education Bus Manager of the Year
Judia Espey has been with GCPS for 14 years and has loved every moment of it. Judia, who has been married 30 years and is the proud mother of two adult children and one granddaughter, drives for Cooper Elementary School, Lovin Elementary School, McConnell Middle School, and Archer High School. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Judia says connecting with students is the best part of her job. “When you get a non-verbal student to interact with you by laughing when you sing his favorite song, that’s the way I like it,” Judia said.
2020-2021 Bus Monitor of the Year
Laura Doughman started with GCPS 16 years ago because she loves working with kids. “I enjoy my job,” Laura said. “I can’t wait to come to work every day because every day there is a moment that a child has made my day better. I love feeling like I am making a difference in the children’s lives everyday like they have done to mine.” When Laura is not working as a bus monitor in the North Gwinnett Cluster, she enjoys crafting and spoiling her nine grandchildren and she can’t wait to spoil her tenth grandchild who is due in June.
Charley Humble, GCPS executive director of Transportation, says the district is fortunate to have so many dedicated and caring employees. “These awards recognize some of our best Bus Managers and Monitors within our GCPS Transportation Family,” Humble said. “While their background and years of service may vary, they all have something special in common. That common thread is the love they have for and care they give to the students they transport each day.”
The selection of the 2020-21 winners is the result of an extensive process. First, they were nominated by their colleagues in their transportation zone. There are 23 regular education zones and 21 special education zones. Nominees were given a written and driving skills test after which eight finalists were selected–four regular education bus managers, two special education bus managers, and two bus monitors. A judging committee selected the winners from the finalists.
Although three people were selected as winners, Humble says the entire department is worthy of praise during this difficult time. He explains, “While this past year has presented us with unprecedented challenges, I am proud of how the Transportation Department has persevered through these challenges as a team. The commitment of our drivers and monitors to serving the students of Gwinnett County Public Schools has never been more visible or more tangible than in this past year, as we continued to provide front-line transportation services and delivered over 915,000 meals to our students. The challenges that we faced caused us to think in different ways and as a result, we have become even more agile and more efficient, finding improved ways to meet our district’s transportation needs.”