Conference Speakers

2023 Keynote Speakers


Dr. Stephen Sroka

The Courage to Live and Lead in the Face of Adversity: It’s all about Relationships

Wednesday, Nov. 9
8 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Relationships may be one of the most important variables for effectively transporting students with disabilities and special needs. The challenges of building relationships are based on the 4 C’s: Communication, Collaboration, Cultural Competency and Caring…

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This motivational keynote is filled with “tips from the trenches” to help you keep your students, staff and community safe and healthy so they can learn more and live better. It is packed with cutting-edge information, practical strategies and heartfelt stories about mental health, kindness, the power of words, the trauma-informed brain (adverse childhood experiences), social-emotional learning, stress management, wellness, and school and community climate and safety.
Dr. Stephen Sroka has spoken worldwide with The Power of One message, how one person can make a difference. Steve died while presenting a school in-service. A principal, two SRO’s and others saved his life and changed his message. He now talks about how you need The Power of Many, how it takes a team, to make a lasting difference.
Research-based and reality-driven, this session offers honesty, humor, and hope. It stresses the importance of Resiliency and the 4 P’s: Purpose, Passion, Pride and Persistence. It will warm your heart, stir your soul and ignite your brain. It has been said that it can even change your life professionally and personally. Let’s see if it can spark the fire and the WHY within you.

Sroka Biography:

“Boy is retarded,” reads the top of Dr. Stephen Sroka’s third-grade report card. In ES, he was mocked for having a crossed eye and a speech impediment. He was crippled in a high school fight. Doctors said, “Listen to your teachers.” The more he listened, the smarter the teachers became. His high school counselor told him that he didn’t have the IQ to go to college, but he didn’t know that Steve had the I WILL. He learned to live with the gifts of ADHD and dyslexia. His struggles to become a teacher made him a better educator.
He went from the “projects” to being inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. He was awarded The Walt Disney American Outstanding Teacher of Health and received the Outstanding School Health Educator Award and Fellow status from the American School Health Association. Recently, he was named the Person of the Year for The International Association for Truancy and Dropout Prevention and received the first-ever School Health Leader Award from the American Public Health Association.
Today, he is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, and president of his company, Health Education Consultants.
He travels the world striving to reach, elevate and inspire with The Power of One message. After a cardiac arrest, he realized that The Power of One was not enough. He needed The Power of Many. We all do. He now believes that one person can make a lasting difference with the power of many, and that is his WHY.


Vickie L. Coe

Transporting Students with Disabilities: Steering Clear of Legal Hotspots

Thursday, Nov. 10
8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

This interactive and entertaining group-think, half-day seminar will include a discussion of IDEA, Section 504, ADA, FERPA, and FAPE issues when transporting students with disabilities. Attendees will discuss and process lessons learned from critical case…

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Coe Biography:

Vickie Coe represents school districts in the area of education law with a focus on special education and school disability law-related matters. Vickie defends school districts when complaints are filed with the Michigan Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules, and other state and federal tribunals and courts pertaining to claims arising out of, but not limited to, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Michigan Mandatory Special Education Act, Section 504, The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, Title VI, Title IX, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Recognizing that litigation is rarely a client’s first choice, Vickie works with clients to negotiate resolutions when complaints are filed to negotiate amicable resolutions. When litigation is necessary, Vickie vigorously fights for your rights. Working closely with school districts to train its staff on proactive ways to avoid compliance issues, Vickie regularly provides professional development to clients and their staff. In addition, Vickie regularly presents at the Winter and Summer Institute Professional Development Conferences hosted by the Michigan Association of Administrators for Special Education, professional development seminars organized by public school districts throughout the state of Michigan, and webinars hosted by Clark Hill.

2023 Featured Speakers

Jean Paulsel, Ph.D., CFLE

Show Me the Money: Beginning Grants Writing

Wednesday, Nov. 9
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Student transporters are continuously in need of more funding. Do you know where to find programs that can supplement school district or Head Start agency budgets for transporting students with disabilities and preschoolers? Learn from a certified family life educator who has won over $111 million in grants for her nonprofit clients, many of which specialize in early education and related services. Jean Paulsel leads this half-day training that provides the in’s and out’s of identifying relevant grant programs and applying for them. Don’t have a grant writer on staff? No problem.

This seminar requires separate registration at no extra charge. Class size is limited to 30 participants.


Linda F. Bluth ED.D.

Navigating IDEA: Implementing Appropriate Transportation Services for Children with Disabilities

Friday, Nov. 11
8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.

Linda Fran Bluth will delve into has 60 years of experience as a special educator including over 40 years in special needs transportation, with expertise in special needs transportation policies and procedures. She was inducted in to the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) Hall of Fame in 2018, Bluth is an original member of the Tenured Faculty for the TSD Conference. Her past experience includes work at the university, school district, state agency, and federal levels.

She began her career as special needs teacher in the mid-1960s before embarking on a decade of college and university instruction. After obtaining her doctoral degree in special education from the University of Illinois in 1972, she was an adjunct and assistant professor at such institutions as Ball State University, University of Alabama, John Hopkins University, Coppin State College, University of Maryland, and Loyola College (Maryland). She later served in such roles as the program director of monitoring and evaluation for the Maryland Governor’s Office for Children Youth and Families, the assistant superintendent of compliance for Baltimore City Public Schools, and the chief of the Office of Special Education Administration and Quality Assurance at the Maryland State Department of Education. In addition to speaking at state and national student transportation conferences, Bluth has spent the past two decades consulting with school districts and state agencies, and providing expert witness testimony on criminal and civil cases involving student transportation. A past-president of NAPT, she received the association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2000 and served as the NAPT director-at-large (1995–1998) and special needs committee chairwoman. In 2013, she was also the recipient of the Sure-Lok Special Needs Transportation Award for excellence in transporting students with special needs. Bluth has authored five editions of Transporting Students with Disabilities.  In addition, she has over 120 publications in the field of school transportation and numerous education publications, including School Transportation News.

2023 Break-out Speakers As of 10/21/22. Subject to change

Theresa Anderson
Anderson Consulting

JW Barrett
General Manager
Goldstar Transit

Laura Beth Blankenship
Physical Therapist
Knox County Schools in Tennessee

Linda F. Bluth, Ed.D.
Bluth Special Needs Transportation

Josy Campbell
Operations Manager
Harrison School District Two in Colorado

Megan Carey
Chief Development Officer

Jerad Castor
Managing Director of Transportation
Frisco ISD in Texas

Eliza Clement
Certified ASL Interpreter
Dallas ISD in Texas

Richard Cooper
Chief Science Officer
Clean Spray Technologies, LLC

Denny Coughlin
School Bus Training LLC

Sandy Dillman
Director of Transportation
Tomball Independent School District in Texas

Fred Doelker
Director of Training Programs
Dean Transportation in Michigan

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

Quanika Dukes-Spruill
Executive Director, Transportation Services
Newark Board of Education

Stephen F. Fusco
Director of Legal Affairs and Data Security

Frank Gazeley
Sales Consultant

Launi Harden

Aaron Harris
National Sales and Training Manager
Besi, Inc.

Kala Henkensiefken
Special Education Transportation Manager
Bemidji Area Schools in Minnesota

Charlie Hood
Retired Executive Director

Michael Jones
Executive Director of Transportation
Fort Bend ISD in Texas

Jack Kendrick

Shawn Kendrick

Paul Lavigne
Executive Director
Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) in California

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

Kimberly Martin
Industry Engagement Consultant
Tyler Technologies

Kevin Mest
Senior Vice President
Zonar Systems

Diandra Neugent, CPST
Transportation Manager
Community Council of Idaho

Trisha Nolan
Southern Regional Manager

Anthony Pollard
Director of Transportation
Baldwin County Board of Education in Alabama

Kelly Rhodunda
Transportation Manager
Upper Moreland School District in Pennsylvania

Alexandra Robinson
A. Robinson Consulting

Pete Salinas
Director of National Accounts


Karen Schwind RN, NCSN
Board President
Texas School Nurses Organization

Sharon Shannon
Student advocate, Frisco ISD in Texas

Anthony Shields
Director of Transportation
San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District in Texas

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

Jocelyn Taylor
The Experts in Education Consortium

Chris Thomas
National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance (NCPA)

Jay Thurber
Transportation Coordinator
Wendell Schools in Idaho

Scott Turner

Maritza Valentin
Contract/National Account Manager
AMF-Bruns America

Rosalyn Vann-Jackson
Chief Support Services Officer
Broken Arrow Public Schools in Oklahoma

Charlie Vits, CPST
Market Development Manager/Regulatory Affairs Manager

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

Winship Wheatley
Consultant & Expert Witness
Sole Proprietor

Bobby Williams
Assistant Director of Fleet Services
Cypress Fairbanks ISD in Texas

Caleb Williams
Assistant Director of Transportation
College Station ISD in Texas

Tenured Faculty
Sue Shutrump

Sue Shutrump

Alex Robinson

Alex Robinson

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