The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services announced that Murrell Martin of the Utah Office of Education is the new steering committee chair for the 16th National Congress on School Transportation, which is scheduled for May 2015.
Martin accepted his nomination and confirmation on Monday calling it "an honor."
The NCST has been in a state of flux over the past couple of years, as previous steering committee chairs have stepped down due to retirement. Martin, currently NASDPTS regional director West, replaces Ben Shew of the West Virginia Department of Education, who assumed the post when Pete Japiske retired as state director from the Ohio Department of Transportation and, as such, NCTS chair. Then, Shew announced in July at the Southeastern States Pupil Transportation Conference in Mobile, Ala., that he would retire from the West Virginia Department of Education at the end of this month, which also coincides with the end of his term on the NASDPTS Executive Board as regional director South.
NASDPTS bylaws state the NCST steering committee chair must be filled by a "general member" of the association. The task of identifying Shew's replacement fell on current NASDPTS President Max Christensen, the executive officer of school transportation with the Iowa Department of Education. Christensen said he had a hard time filling the chair slot until Martin agreed over the weekend.
"Murrell is well organized and is very familiar with the NCST process and procedures," said Christensen. "It's a big job, so we truly appreciate Murrell stepping up to the plate to offer his time, energy and knowledge to this very important process."
Martin also served as co-chair of the 10th annual North American School Bus EXPO in Reno this past July.
"The school bus transportation industry seems to always move forward to progress in the ways we need to for our current economic conditions and technological advances," Murrell told STN. "We all seem to find ourselves stepping up as needed for the industry we are passionate about! I am excited about the possibility of working with the wisdom of those who have made such great contribution in the past, as well as working with the new energetic leaders in our industry today. I am certain the 2015 National Congress on School Transportation will provide additional progressive specifications and procedures to help guide our industry into the future."
NCST has been in existence since 1939 and meets every five years. All states are invited to send a delegation to Central Missouri State University in Warrensberg, Mo., allowing for full representation from every state in developing national school transportation specifications and procedures. Per the "NCST Manual of Operating Procedures," confirmation balloting was administered by the administrative director for NASDPTS.
Martin will officially assume the NCST chair position during a meeting held later this week in Grand Rapids, Mich., the site of the NASPDTS Annual Conference and the NAPT Annual Summit.
"As I assume the Chair position at the Grand Rapids steering committee meeting, I will endeavor to work closely with our excellent steering committee to provide leadership and direction to the process," Martin added.