Women who create opportunity through mobility
Written by Aylin Cook
Here at HopSkipDrive, we create opportunity for all through mobility. This March, to celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re sharing the stories of seven women who’ve made lasting contributions to educational equity through transportation solutions. These seven women all share connections to HopSkipDrive, and we couldn’t be prouder to feature their stories.
For over three decades, Theresa Anderson has helped facilitate more equal access to education through transportation. Anderson drove her first school bus for Cherry Creek Schools in 1990, and was promoted over and over again, from scheduler to manager of routing and planning to terminal supervisor. As she reached new heights in her career, Anderson knew virtually nothing about transporting students with special needs--and she was the first to admit it. Fortunately, she was willing to put in the hard work to learn, and quickly. When she began work as central director of transportation for Jefferson County Schools, Anderson oversaw every aspect of student transportation, not just yellow school busses. She prioritized mobility for students with special needs, those for whom English is a second language, and those experiencing homelessness. Anderson now owns two businesses devoted to helping students thrive by ensuring they can always get to school. In particular, TM Anderson Consulting is determined to help school districts overwhelmed by inefficiencies that stand in the way of educational equity. Anderson also sits on HopSkipDrive’s Safety Advisory Board.
Alex Robinson is the former president of the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT). She has also held positions as the director of transportation for San Diego Unified School District and executive director of pupil transportation for NYC Department of Education. She began her career in the classroom, where she worked with students with disabilities. She now serves as president of A. Robinson Consulting, a company committed to improving access to education for everybody, all over the world. For Robinson’s insights into what back to school might look like amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, watch her Transportation Trailblazer interview with HopSkipDrive.
Dr. Nana Afoh-Manin
Dr. Nana B. Afoh-Manin is a community-centered emergency doctor, social entrepreneur and humanitarian disaster relief consultant. Throughout her training and career, she has been a fierce advocate for equity in higher education. Dr. Aforh-Manin is also the founder of Shared Harvest Fun, a groundbreaking FinTech platform that helps members of the community reduce the overwhelming burden of student debt. By joining HopSkipDrive’s Safety Advisory Board, Dr. Aforh-Manin is helping all stakeholders prepare for in-person learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Her medical expertise and commitment to educational equity help ensure that all children have safe and consistent transportation to school. In fact, she has advised HopSkipDrive on our COVID-19 safety protocols, helping us protect both our caredrivers and our riders.
Joanna McFarland is CEO and co-founder of HopSkipDrive. McFarland founded HopSkipDrive to offer safe and reliable transportation solutions for all students. Since its inception, HopSkipDrive has provided over 1 million kids safe transport to school, home and beyond. Most notably, McFarland’s business has provided consistent access to school for students who can’t utilize traditional bus routes. For example, if a foster youth is enrolled at a certain school, they are entitled to complete their education at that school of origin, regardless of where their next placement may be. The state’s foster care department can contract with HopSkipDrive to provide consistent, affordable and secure transport from any foster home to that school of origin.
Torine Creppy, a child safety advocate, has worked with Safe Kids Worldwide for over two decades, and now serves as the organization’s president. Creppy’s dedication to protecting children is significant, and she has spent years pushing both research and public health strategies to create a safer world for kids, on the road and off. Creppy directed the organization’s Buckle Up program, considered by many to be the most complete passenger safety program for children in the world. Creppy’s commitment to children’s safety has earned her a seat on HopSkipDrive’s Safety Advisory Board.
Lisa Robinson is the Senior Program Manager for the National Safety Council. Her expertise regarding transportation safety has helped her catalyze policy change, making our roads safer for everyone, including school-age children. Robinson also works as a spokesperson for safer transit, especially for employer- and governmental-funded transportation. Robinson also holds a seat on HopSkipDrive’s Safety Advisory Board.
Diana Hollander, who served as the State Director of Pupil Transportation at the Nevada Department of Education, recently retired from her post after 25 years of service. Hollander has spent her career ensuring safety measures for students continue to evolve. She helped push others in the student transportation sector to constantly seek improvement. After all, there are always newer, smarter ways to make transportation safer. Hollander believes that for many children, the number one barrier to getting to school is transportation. That, and her commitment to safety, have earned her a seat on HopSkipDrive’s Safety Advisory Board.