School Bus Fleet News recently published “10 Phenomenal Women in School Transportation” and among the 10 was Ashley Fussell of Virginia Beach City Public Schools. Fussell began working with the Virginia Beach City Public Schools transportation department while she was in high school. She continued working with the there while she attended college. She is now the locality’s Area Transportation Supervisor and works closely with the special-needs transportation department.
Congratulations, Ashley! We are glad to have talented women like you in Virginia’s pupil transportation industry.
See the entire list of phenomenal women in school transportation at schoolbusfleet.com.
Interview with Ashley Fussell by SchoolBusFleet.com
How did you get started in the industry?
I started in transportation when I was 16 years old. I was doing a marketing program through my high school, and you had to acquire a job within an office environment. So, I got a job in transportation helping answer the phones and with our dispatch office. It went so well that when I graduated from high school and enrolled in college, they asked me to stay and help within the office. So, I worked [here] throughout my college career.
What are your current job duties?
I supervise about 55 bus drivers and 50 special-needs assistants. I’m in the special-needs department, and we work on routing the special-needs kids depending on where their program is housed [at] local schools and getting them to the program that their individualized education plan (IEP) requires.
Have you noticed growth in the number of women working in leadership positions since you started in the industry?
I would say, yes, there is some growth but not much. … We haven’t caught up with the men.
What is the best advice someone has given to you?
Say yes to more things. Say yes to more job duties or maybe something that you wouldn’t even think about doing. You never know where that’s going to lead you in the future or what doors it’s going to open.
What is the biggest challenge in special-needs transportation?
Some of our programs aren’t offered at every school. So, a lot of times we have routes that can be up to an hour long, and it might just be transporting one student. That’s the biggest challenge: logistically making sure the student is getting to and from school on time, regardless of where they live and where their program is hosted.