The new face in charge of a fleet of school buses is Joe Shepherd.
“I am very excited to be here at Bullitt County and take on the role as the Director of Transportation. I look forward to working with and meeting the people of the schools and communities we serve,” he said.
Shepherd spent the past nine months as Transportation Director of Franklin County Schools. Prior to that, he was with Jefferson County Schools for approximately 20 years.
“I began my career as a School Bus Driver, Driver Trainer, and Area Coordinator with JCPS,” he said. “I had 87 route buses at JCPS and 61 at Franklin County. The experience I gained with those districts has prepared me for the many challenges that one faces on a daily basis.”
As retiring Transportation Director Staci Goedde notes, one of the most challenging aspects is seeking, finding, training and keeping school bus drivers.
This is Shepherd’s top priority in Kentucky’s seventh largest school system with the following statistics:
- Fleet size - 127 buses (17 are special needs buses)
- Staff - 100 school bus drivers, 17 monitors, 5 full time sub-drivers, 5 sub monitors, 3 driver trainer coordinators, 2 secretaries, 1 garage supervisor, 5 mechanics and 1 parts clerk
- Routes - approximately 600 morning and afternoon routes for elementary, middle and high schools with additional routes that include preschool midday, vocational, programs at the Bullitt Alternative Center, Riverview Opportunity Center and Springs Meadows Children’s Home and Head Start Shuttles
“Driver recruitment and retention is at the top of the list,” Shepherd said. “Many districts across the nation are experiencing a driver shortage. We have to find a solution and I will work with the staff on driver recruitment to come up with innovative ideas for retaining our valuable drivers and monitors.”
The district Transportation Dept., located behind Roby Elementary School in Shepherdsville, has a bus compound where all vehicles are serviced and fueled. The office uses technology in the form of Transfinder (routing), AngelTrax (bus video), and RCS (radios and GPS System).
Shepherd began driving a bus as supplement for other jobs and said it was a great job while going to college.
“I stayed with it for many years and eventually worked my way up through transportation,” he explained. “By being an Assistant Coordinator and Coordinator with Jefferson County, along with Transportation Director with Franklin County, I rely on that experience during hectic times. I prioritize, delegate and focus on the task at hand with safety being the most important aspect. Also, having a great staff to assist eases one’s mind when things get tough.”
Shepherd feels the most gratifying aspect of the job is making the system work in getting students to school and back home safely.
Shepherd is married and has two children. He is an outdoor enthusiast and one can find him fishing on a riverbank any chance he gets or in the fields during hunting season.