July 30, 2012
BC Assistant Transportation Director Cindy Jurewicz wins statewide award for excellence
Second year running that BC Transportation Department earns coveted Arthur Schock award
There is a lot of fanfare associated with the New York Association for Pupil Transportation’s Art Schock Award for excellence.
Every year, before honoring announcing the recipient at NYAPT’s Annual Conference, the organization reads the names of all previous winners and calls them to gather on the stage. Then, they begin reading a description of the current honoree.
BC Assistant Transportation Director Cindy Jurewicz sat in her chair at this year’s conference looking at last year’s winner up on the stage – BC’s own Director of Transportation Al Karam – and thinking that the person they were describing sounded a bit familiar. It should have - they were talking about her.
“At some point during all of this ceremony, the lights go on in your head and you think ‘Hey, they’re talking about me!’” she later said of the honor. “My heart was pounding so hard I thought it was going to burst through my chest!”
The Arthur Schock Award is the highest honor an individual can receive in the State of New York in the area of pupil transportation. NYAPT selects the recipient annually from among nominations of leaders in the field around the state. The award recognizes the pursuit of excellence in all areas of student transportation services, and communication skills in particular.
“The communication skills that Cindy possesses help the district attain a high level of customer satisfaction," BC Chief Business and Financial Officer Judi Kehoe wrote in her letter nominating Jurewicz for the award. “While families who contact the department might not always like a particular policy or answer to their question, they almost always respect the decision, and appreciate the manner in which they have been treated.”
Cindy is also the key person who creates BC’s approximately 115 bus routes. Although safety and efficiency are primary concerns, she also makes a concerted effort to provide a high level of customer service to families. She accommodates day-variant schedules, bus stop visibility concerns, behavioral concerns, and a whole host of other issues.
"Cindy embodies all that we could hope for in a transportation professional," Kehoe wrote, "commitment to always remaining current with the requirements and trends in the industry, a positive presence to all those whom she interacts with, extremely dedicated and hard-working, and fair in her dealings with the community and with employees."
Jurewicz was nominated by no less than ten of her peers throughout the state, as well as nominations from Karam and former BCSD superintendent Michael Tebbano.
“Cindy is one of the ‘lions’ of our profession who champions school-bus safety,” wrote Karam. “She is tenacious yet professional in advancing student safety.”
Tebbano echoed that sentiment succinctly:
“The sum of her career can be reduced to ‘passion for student safety,’” he wrote in his nomination of Jurewicz.
Bethlehem is the only school district to have its sitting Director and Assistant Director of transportation win the Art Schock Award and the only district to have won it in consecutive years. If that weren’t enough, we’re one of only two districts in the 30-year history of the award to have won it twice.
“You have some pretty special people out there in Bethlehem,” NYAPT Executive Director Peter Mannella. “Cindy has done a lot for the field of student transportation.”
Throughout all the praise, Jurewicz remains modest.
“I’ll tell you, I am very honored and very humbled
to have won this award,” she said, thanking the great staff and crew in
the BC transportation Department. “To be counted among that elite group
of transportation professionals – Wow, what an honor!”