Conference Speakers

2023 Keynote Speakers

Dr. Ben Springer

ASPEN on the School Bus: Managing Aggressive Behaviors

Thursday, Nov. 16 l 8 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Unless you’ve spent some time on the “Yellow Submarine,” you just don’t understand. Disruptive and dangerous student behaviors take on a whole new dynamic on the bus. It is critical that school systems align the training of managing aggressive student behavior across both school and bus environments. Dr. Ben Springer, a national certified and award-winning school psychologist as well as author and a former director of special education, presents a half-day overview of his “Aspen on the Bus” curriculum that addresses safety on the school bus, especially managing students who are disabled or have special needs with dangerous or aggressive behaviors.

Students who are struggling in school are spending a lot of the time on the school bus as well and need support. So do the drivers, attendants and other transportation staff who are providing these children services. All TSD attendees will receive a free individual subscription to Dr. Ben’s training courses, a $595 value. District packages with an unlimited subscription will also be available for purchase.


Ben Springer is the director of the Family Education Center at Wasatch County School District in Utah as well as an award-winning and nationally certified school psychologist and the founder of Totem PD. He is also a former director of special education for the school district and before that a school bus attendant for students with special needs. Ben received his master’s and doctoral degrees in educational psychology at the University of Utah and has studied psychological assessment, counseling, school-wide positive behavior supports, bullying prevention programs, parental involvement, evidence-based practice, autism, and social skills instruction. Ben has become a popular speaker and presenter in the State of Utah for his keynote addresses on Autism (“Autism is a Burrito”) and ADHD (“ADHD: The Goods”) presenting at the University of Utah, St. Marks Hospital Rounds, Heber Valley Pediatrics, Summit Pediatrics, Utah Valley University and the Southwest Educational Development Center. In March 2021, his book “GPS: Good Parenting Strategies: The No-Guilt Survival Guide for Parenting During the Pandemic and Beyond” was published. He is also the author of the 2018 book “Happy Kids Don’t Punch You in the Face: A Guide to Eliminating Aggressive Behavior in School.”

Betsey Helfrich

Transportation of Special Education Students: Avoiding the Bumps and Legal Hazards

Friday, Nov. 17 l 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

In this fast-paced presentation, special education attorney Betsey Helfrich, will examine school transportation from a legal perspective.  From a review of recent case law to current hot-topics, this presentation will dive into the legalities of the transportation of students with disabilities.  From aides on buses to sharing information with the transportation department, this presentation will include practical tips that you need to know to minimize liability and keep students safe.


Betsey practices special education law in Kansas and Missouri. Formerly the special education department lead for Mickes O’Toole, LLC in St. Louis, she now runs her own practice. She has successfully represented school districts against a variety of claims in state and federal courts, including the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as in administrative and special education due process hearings. She provides general counsel to schools on special education matters and conducts local and national training on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and all areas of the Individuals with Disabilities Education. Betsey presented at LRP’s 38th and 39th Annual National Institute on Legal Issues of Educating Individuals with Disabilities.

Shelley Rutledge, Ed.S, LCSW

Problematic Sexual Behaviors on Special Needs Routes

Saturday, Nov 19 l 10:30 a.m. – Noon

Research indicates that people with disabilities are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than their non-disabled peers. Through regular training derived from research, best practices and state and federal statutes, student transporters can keep children safe from being attacked and exploited on school buses and in other vehicles. Join school psychologist and sexual incident response expert Shelley Rutledge to learn how to improve transportation outcomes through fostering an awareness of sexual development and common sexual behaviors that occur on buses and other vehicles. 

2023 Conference Speakers As of 9/20/23. Subject to change

Alemnesh Allen
Prince George’s County Public Schools

Theresa Anderson
Anderson Consulting

Kathy Anneken
VP of Sales
Easy Way Safety Services

John Benish
Executive Director
National School Transportation Association

Laura Beth Blankenship
Physical Therapist
Knox County Schools in Tennessee

Albert Burleigh
First Student

Peggy A. Burns
Legal Consultant

Eliza Clement
Certified ASL Interpreter
Dallas ISD in Texas

Denny Coughlin
School Bus Training LLC

Cody Cox
Director of Transportation
Cleveland ISD

Ryan Dillingham
Director of Transportation
Knox County Schools in Knoxville, Tennessee

Fred Doelker
Director of Training Programs
Dean Transportation in Michigan

Denise Donaldson, CPST-I
Editor & Publisher
Safe Ride News

Terri Drca
Social/Behavior Special Education Teacher
Davis High School

Teresa Fleming
Deputy Chief Operations Officer
School District of Philadelphia

Launi Harden

Aaron Harris
National Sales and Training Manager
Besi, Inc.

Kala Henkensiefken
Special Education Transportation Manager
Bemidji Area Schools in Minnesota

Greg Jackson
Director of Business Development
School Bus Logistics

Jacqueline Leach
Health Educator
Morristown Medical Center

Denise Mabry
Director-Compliance & Due Process, Office of Special Education
Baltimore City Public Schools

Miriam Manary, CPST
Lead Research Engineer
University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

Robbin Marshall
Assistant Director, Office of Pupil Transportation  
Baltimore City Public Schools

Mark Nestlen
President & CEO
Bar None Consulting, Inc.

Diandra Neugent, CPST
Transportation Manager
Community Council of Idaho


Trisha Nolan
Southern Regional Manager

Carolyn Nunes
Technical Support
Special Education, LLC

Alexandra Robinson
A. Robinson Consulting

Shelley Rutledge
Shelley Rutledge Consulting, LLC

Sue Shutrump, CPST
Supervisor of OT/PT & Tenured Faculty
Trumbull County Educational Service Center in Ohio

Kayne Smith
Director of Transportation
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in Texas

Maritza Valentin
Contract/National Account Manager
AMF-Bruns America

Charlie Vits, CPST
Market Development Manager/Regulatory Affairs Manager

Jennifer Vobis
Executive Director
Clark County SD

Stephen Whaley
Director of Autogas Business Development
Propane Education and Research Council

Jennie Wu, Ed. D.
Executive Director, Strategy & Continuous Improvement
Baltimore City Public Schools



Tenured Faculty
Sue Shutrump

Sue Shutrump

Alex Robinson

Alex Robinson

Launi Harden

Launi Harden

Tenured Faculty Emeritus
Linda Bluth

Linda Bluth

Peggy Burns

Peggy Burns

Pauline Gervais

Pauline Gervais

Kathy Strotmeyer

Kathy Strotmeyer

Cheryl Wolf

Cheryl Wolf

Jean Zimmerman

Jean Zimmerman

National Board of Advisors
John Benish

John Benish

Kathleen Furneaux

Kathleen Furneaux

Mark Hinson

Mark Hinson

Charles Hood

Charles Hood

Charley Kennington

Charley Kennington

Miriam Manary

Miriam Manary

Pete Meslin

Pete Meslin