Women who create opportunity through mobility
Written by Aylin Cook
Here at HopSkipDrive, our mission it to create opportunity for all through mobility. To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re sharing the stories of seven women who have 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 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 buses. 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.
Read this Q&A with Teresa to learn more about her.
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 on back to school staffing concerns in the time of COVID, trends in special education transportation and more, watch her Transportation Trailblazers video interview.
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. Afoh-Manin helped all stakeholders prepare for the return to in-person learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, she advised HopSkipDrive on the development of our COVID-Safe Ride Standards, helping us protect both our CareDrivers and our Riders.
Her medical expertise and commitment to supporting equitable access to education serve to ensure that all children have safe and consistent transportation to school.
Joanna McFarland is CEO and co-founder of HopSkipDrive. McFarland founded HopSkipDrive to offer safe and reliable transportation solutions for all students. HopSkipDrive currently serves 21 markets in 12 states, working with over 400 school districts and county child welfare agencies to "create opportunity for all through mobility." Since its inception, HopSkipDrive has gotten over 2 million kids to over 16,000 schools and driven more than 20 million safe miles.
Before co-founding HopSkipDrive in 2014, Joanna spent 15 years in product management, building and scaling businesses for top technology brands, including WeddingChannel, Green Dot, and YP.com. Prior to that, she spent time in investment banking and private equity.
Joanna is on the board of several industry trade associations including the Flex Association, Marketplace Collaborative, and LA-Tech.org, a nonprofit that connects LA’s tech community to talented, underrepresented individuals and drives economic opportunities and job creation for underserved LA residents. She is also an investment partner at XFactor Ventures, where she leads pre-seed and seed-stage investments in female-founded companies.
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 — both on the road and off.
She directed the Safe Kids Worldwide's Buckle Up program, which is considered by many to be the most complete passenger safety program for children in the world. Her unwavering commitment to children’s safety has earned her a seat on HopSkipDrive’s Safety Advisory Board.
Hear Torine's thoughts about safe youth transportation in her video response to Five questions with the 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 — who is a member of HopSkipDrive's Safety Advisory Board — also serves as a spokesperson for safer transit, especially for employer- and governmental-funded transportation.
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. She has spent her career working to ensure that safety measures for students continue to evolve, and helping to push the student transportation sector to constantly seek improvement.
A member of HopSkipDrive's Safety Advisory Board, she believes that transportation is the number one barrier for many children when it comes to consistently and safely getting to school.