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Transportation Department Keeps Things Moving Through Pandemic

Because this past week was Appreciation Week for Teachers, School Nurses and Transportation, the District would like to highlight people in each of these areas. If you haven’t already, please take time to consider what these employees have done for others this past year and offer your thanks!

Shannon Owens is a bus dispatcher with the NSCSD Transportation Department and has worked in the transportation industry for the past 20 years. Shannon is one of only four dispatchers managing the District’s fleet of 145 vehicles and 175 drivers and attendants. While Shannon was individually nominated for Shining Star recognition, she and the District’s Transportation Director, Matthew Conti, want to credit the TEAM at transportation for keeping things rolling smoothly this year. 

Conti, who came to the District a decade ago, recently talked about the incredible work his department’s dispatchers have done, especially considering the obstacles faced this past year. Conti said, “We were all prepared to grow this year knowing that we would be faced with challenges each day, but I continue to be impressed as our team steps up to  meet and beat every challenge. I’m incredibly fortunate to lead this dedicated, hard-working and caring team – and we truly are a team.”

The NSCSD Transportation Department’s team of bus dispatchers includes Donna Benjamin (34 years with the NSCSD), Barb Biddlecome (26 years with the NSCSD), Addie Colavecchio (15 years with the NSCSD) and Shannon Owens. The Transportation Department as a whole is supported by Tracy Morrissey and Darlene Duncan. As a group, the overall sentiment is that the department has excelled because of the cohesive atmosphere and respect for others.

Addie Colavecchio commented on the past year saying, “Our biggest success has been overcoming our biggest challenge this year.  Every time we were thrown a curve ball we rose to the challenge and came up with a new plan as a team and followed through.”

Each dispatcher manages transportation to specific schools, field trips and programs outside of the District, athletic events and more. Shannon Owens is the dispatcher in charge of sports shuttles and as such, works with coaches and the District’s Athletic Director, Timothy Bednarski. 

Shannon was nominated for recognition by Mr. Bednarski. In his nomination for Shannon Owens, Mr. Bednarski wrote, “I would like to nominate Shannon Owens for all her hard work and dedication to make sure all our kids are being appropriately transported for all the different activities and sports teams. She has spent countless hours making sure each [student] is accounted for on shuttles. She went above and beyond in this crazy year and even called me on weekends and after hours as she continued to work through things.”

Shannon said she was honored to have been recognized and that she reflects on the past year with pride. She wrote, “Being able to add individualized sports shuttles and allowing the athletes to end their school year in a more normalized way is something I am very proud of.”

North Syracuse Central School District’s Superintendent of Schools, Daniel Bowles, asked others to recognize Transportation Staff as part of Transportation Appreciation. He wrote, “Each day, our transportation staff oversee the safe arrival of students to NSCSD schools, outside programs, sports events, field trips and return them home. This past year, these men and women have done their jobs and so much more. They have delivered food, cleaned and disinfected equipment, followed safety protocols and ensured that students do the same and they have done these things with smiles and positive attitudes. Thank you for all you do!”