New Carroll County Public Schools Transportation Director Gina Hall’s journey to her current post began with a mother’s desire to be a little more involved with her boy’s school years.
According to the Fancy Gap native, she and her husband, Roland, have two boys, Chad and Collin. What began as Hall driving a school bus while she was in high school in North Carolina has led to 22 years experience in transportation. She said this includes more than seven years in Patrick County driving, two years as an assistant director of transportation in Patrick, and 11 years with the Surry County (N.C.) Public School System as a cost clerk.
“I just wanted to find a way to have a little more time with my kids when I started driving a school bus (again),” said Hall. “The more I got into it, the more I learned. Once I was trained in Patrick County to teach school bus safety to kids, that really got me excited.”
She said while she tries to keep some fun in the exercises, teaching young passengers how important sitting upright in seats can help lessen injuries in a crash. Hall said there are times, especially when younger girls tell her about the beautiful dress they are wearing, she feels a tug of regret as she shows them how to slide to the emergency door.
“There’s nothing more honest than children. If you really, really want the truth go ask a child,” Hall said. “I loved communicating with children and driving a school bus. It’s something different every day when you drive a school bus. You don’t get bored.”
She said she feels being transportation director is new with lots of things to learn. Hall said she never thought driving a school bus would lead to a career in the field. She said she is humbled and gratified with parents trusting their most precious things (children) to a driver’s care.
“Whether it’s teaching drivers or students about safety, it’s a chance to make a difference in someone’s life,” said Hall. “I’m so proud to be part of a team where drivers can honestly say they carried that kid all the way to graduation. Children are number one when it comes to transportation. I’m hoping to improve (as she continues in her current role) to get employees the tools they need in our technology-savvy world.”
Hall said the department is very much a team effort and praised the work of bus drivers, Assistant Transportation Manager David Kinzer and full-time employees, Secretary Melissa Chappell and Mechanics Jacob Beasley and Worth Hall.
“They are what makes our transportation department go,” Hall said. “Everything is done as a team. It’s not me. It’s we. Each one does something special and unique in addition to their other tasks to keep things going.”
Safety remains a crucial concern for Hall and the department. She said it is the common things endangering student riders, such as distracted motorists running stop signs. Hall said perhaps the harried pace of contemporary life has a way of rushing motorists into bad decisions. The District has a fleet of 64 school buses and 10 cars, so it is a presence during rush hours locally.
“I just ask that drivers be extra aware of our early morning school buses and cars carrying precious children,” said Hall. ”The Virginia Department of Education (DOE) statistics indicate every school day, nearly one million Virginia students are transported to and from school, field trips, athletic events and other school-related activities on more than 15,000 school buses. School Buses are four times safer than the family car. A school bus is still your safest mode of transportation with safety features build into it by the very way it is compartmentalized.”
Some reminders for motorists now that school is in session include:
•On a highway with no physical barrier all vehicles approaching from any direction must stop. Remain stopped until all children are removed from the road and the bus moves again.
•On a two lane highway, all vehicles approaching from either direction must stop and remain stopped until all children are removed from the road and the bus moves again.
•On a multi-lane highway that is divided by a physical barrier such as a median or wall, only vehicles that are approaching the bus from the rear or an immediate access lane must stop and remain stopped until all children are removed from the roadway and the bus moves again.
•At any intersection, whether controlled or not controlled by a traffic econtrol device, all vehicles approaching from any directin must stop and remain stopped until all children are removed from the road and the bus moves again.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on [email protected]