CPSB transportation director keeps things moving along

Published 7:47 am Friday, August 5, 2022

Calcasieu Parish School Board Transportation Director Aaron McDonald came to Southwest Louisiana to attend McNeese in the fall of 1993, and never left.

The first degree that he received from McNeese State University was his Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Performance. He then went on to earn his Masters of Education in Educational Leadership and his Education Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership. McDonald is also certified by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners as a Licensed Athletic Trainer.

McDonald took his extensive educational experience to move up the ranks of CPSB. He first started working as a teacher and athletic trainer at LaGrange High School in 1999. He has since worked at S. J. Welsh Middle School as a teacher and coach, Moss Bluff Middle School as assistant principal, Calcasieu Parish Alternative School and RISE Program Assistant Principal and Principal, and CPSB Director of Transportation.

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As the CPSB Director of Transportation, McDonald manages 140 platoon routes that “move students amongst our campuses for a variety of specialized instruction and career and technical courses.”

“My daily involvement is to communicate daily with our on-site staff, Central Office and Site Admin, monitor roadways for accidents, road construction, have effective protocols in place in the event of weather or closing campuses early, and having our resources available to assist local agencies in the event of a catastrophe,” he explained.

He is very satisfied with his role as director of transportation. “Being the director of transportation allows me to have an impact on all CPSB students,” he said. “We are the first and last CPSB representatives to engage with most of our students. We set the tone for their day.”

McDonald has always strived to put the students first. “Personally, I have always approached my time with CPSB as ‘being in the kid business.’ Whether a teacher, coach, athletic trainer, administrator, and now director, let’s do what is best for the kids in the safest means possible,” he stated. “Our approach can make or break a student’s day.”

“Besides being aware of our surroundings while driving the bus, we must build relationships that garner respect and trust with all stakeholders.”

McDonald also serves as a PRN Athletic Trainer for the Lake Charles Memorial Hospital Sports Medicine Department and as a CPSB Middle School Health and Physical Education Consultant and Athletic Coordinator. “Professionally, I am an athletic trainer at heart.”

McDonald takes connecting with his employees seriously. “We have over 380 employees that I am directly responsible for,” he said. “I don’t have the luxury of meeting with them all at one time, so I make it a point to get to know them when they are waiting for an oil change, have concerns about a route, or stop by the office to say hello.”

“Just like they do with our stakeholders, I must earn their respect and trust.”

McDonald also enjoys the challenge of problem solving.

“With the shortage of drivers, mechanics, incorporating the need to transport students for field trips and extra-curricular activities, and effectively communicating with all stakeholders, our days go by quickly because of the vast area we serve,” he said. “The challenges are continuous, and the job keeps you on your toes with your thinking cap on.”