Angel Strik, Maconaquah School Corporation Transportation Director
Angel Strik, Maconaquah School Corporation Transportation Director
Maconaquah School Corporation Transportation Director Angel Strik will attend a conference next month for free, as she was recently awarded a scholarship for the opportunity.

Strik was chosen as the recipient of the 2017 Brandon Billingsley Memorial Scholarship, which will cover all expenses related to attending the 2017 National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) Conference and Trade Show in Columbus, Ohio this November.

Strik said she was “honored” to receive the scholarship, and she looks forward to learning at the conference.

“I feel like the more I know, the better I can utilize the transportation staff we have,” Strik said.

Megan Geroux, Marketing and Communications representative for NAPT, said receiving the scholarship is “a prestigious honor given the significant impact Brandon Billingsley and his company, Heavy Duty Bus Parts, have had on the student transportation industry. Many NAPT members apply for the scholarship, and only one is selected each year.”

The scholarship includes the cost of registration for the conference, five nights of hotel lodging, $500 of travel expenses, as well as meal allowances.

Dr. Doug Arnold, Maconaquah Superintendent, said Strik transitioned from her previous position as assistant to the Transportation Director to Transportation Director “very smoothly because she is a hard worker, had a background with our transportation system, and is very child-centered.”

Arnold said Strik deserves the scholarship, and since she already is fundamentally sound and growing in her new position, this professional development opportunity will “finely tune” her skills.

Strik said she was invited to attend the conference and apply for the scholarship by Indiana State Police Officer Randy McPike, who performs safety inspections on Maconaquah’s fleet of school buses every year.

“He felt this would be a wealth of knowledge for me,” Strik said.

She said she is eager to learn about more levels of safety precautions, how to better transport students with special needs, details of routing software, and other topics covered at the conference. 

“I’m really excited for the things to come and to see what we can change and utilize,” Strik said. “Things are going well, but I know they can be better.”

According to Geroux, the Billingsley family has made it a common goal to increase their knowledge of the industry, while expanding the product line to meet the current needs and demands of those working to provide safe pupil transportation for the last 40 years. The Brandon Billingsley Memorial Continuing Education Scholarship is sponsored by the Billingsley Family in memory of Brandon Billingsley who passed away in 2014. 

“Training and education were very important to (Billingsley), and this was evident in every aspect of his personal beliefs and his commitment to safe student transportation,” Geroux said. “(He) understood that it is not always possible for school districts to send employees to conferences due to budgetary constraints. Therefore, the Billingsley Family wishes to extend and support this learning opportunity through this scholarship.
 
“In today's digital world, conferences are becoming more and more important and provide participants the opportunity to connect with colleagues while accessing the latest information and trends within the student transportation industry,” Geroux said.