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Mark Noeth in school bus parking lotEast Greenbush Central School District’s Head Mechanic Mark Noeth was appointed as the new supervisor of the Transportation Department at the Board of Education meeting on October 16. He will start his new position on December 23, succeeding MaryAnn Belmont who is retiring.

Mr. Noeth has worked in the Transportation Department for 24 years, starting as a mechanic and then in 2005, he became the head mechanic. He currently supervises six full-time mechanics and ensures the safety of the school bus fleet, which has a 99.2% safety rating from the NYS Department of Transportation.

We sat down with Mr. Noeth recently to discuss his new role and responsibilities.

Q: Why did you want this job as Transportation Supervisor?
A: It’s not just about safety. To me it’s about the people in the district, the students, the parents and I feel that I can continue our strong safety record, bring a good attitude forward and continue on with what MaryAnn has been doing.

Q: What do you see as the Transportation Department’s role within the school district?
A: We’re the first faces the students see in the morning so it’s important for the drivers to be a good and steady influence on the students. It’s more than driving back and forth to school. It’s the drivers getting to know the students and being ambassadors to our families.

Q: To what do you attribute the Transportation Department’s high safety rating?
A: It’s all about maintenance. We bring the buses in, we check them out, and it’s about our relationship with the drivers. Together we work as a team. We try to keep those communication lines open so we know what the drivers are experiencing, because nobody knows the buses better than the drivers.

Q: Have you thought about what your priorities will be once you take on this new role?
A: I’d like to find a way to retain the drivers that we have. We have an industry-wide problem that there’s just not enough drivers. And everybody’s been looking at how do we get more drivers. Well maybe the answer is really ‘How do we keep the great drivers that we have? How do we keep those drivers happy? How do we keep those drivers working every day?’ So that’s a pretty big concern.

Q: What are you most looking forward to?
A: I am looking forward to the challenge. Even though the job is the same, it’s a change in position and a change in my role with the district. So I’m looking forward to that challenge and my new relationship with our parents in the district. It’s exciting but it’s also a big responsibility.