NAPT Member Spotlight: Candance Harris, CSPT

We spoke with Candance Harris, CSPT, transportation area manager for Chesterfield County Public Schools in Virginia. In addition to speaking about her recently completed CSPT certification, Harris detailed the unique challenges facing her district, and how the district is working to solve them.

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your district

I am Candance Harris, I am one of five transportation area managers for the fifth largest county in Virginia, Chesterfield County Public Schools. I am responsible for 100 of the 500 amazing bus drivers we have working with us. I work closely with 20 of the counties’ Pre-K- 12 schools. 

What is the most pressing challenge for your district’s transportation department?

Like most transportation departments, staffing is always a challenge. Our superintendent and school board members have done a great job of working closely with the human resources department to provide great pay and bonus incentives for the drivers. Additionally, the efforts of our training team have helped us reach our goal of being fully staffed. Now, we can focus on improvements such as on-time arrivals, safety, and route efficiencies.

How are you seeking to solve this challenge?

Collaboration and teamwork. The leadership team and I have created weekly radio announcements. These announcements are read over the two-way radio multiple times throughout the morning and afternoon routes. They are short and sweet, reminding drivers to check the danger zone before moving, be mindful of their tail swing, and any other relevant topics.  

Please share what motivated you to pursue your CSPT certification and what it means to your professional development.

When I joined the Transportation team as a bus driver back in 2012, I became passionate about the students I drove to and from school every day. As I grew as a driver, I found myself wanting to help other drivers. I then applied for and accepted a dispatcher or coordinator position in an area office. My manager and mentor at the time introduced me to the NAPT family in 2019. I wanted to further my knowledge in the transportation industry but as a single mom, I did not have the time or money to attend a formal college. This certification has been a great resource of knowledge and has helped me grow in my transportation career. 

As a seasoned professional, what advice can you offer other NAPT members?

Network. Being able to network with members in nearby states or counties that are also NAPT members and learning about what issues their area is excelling at and how to use their ideas in your transportation system. You can also gain knowledge when discussing what other members are having a hard time with. 

What can the NAPT organization do to best help you?

Continue to offer webinars and road shows as a way to learn and get out in front of the most pressing issues. 

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