Berlin Central School District’s Director of Transportation, Mrs. Jeaneatte Alderman and BCSD Head Mechanic, Mr. Rick Wager, will be honored with the Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA) Friends of Education Award.

CASDA presents this award each year to recognize the selfless contributions of individuals who dedicate themselves to serving students and enriching their school communities.

“As a district, we know that our students are in good hands with Rick and Jeaneatte working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that students get to and from school, sporting events, and field trips safely,” said Berlin Elementary Principal, Mrs. Tracy Kent.

Each and every day Mrs. Alderman or Mr. Wagar keep the safety of the students, staff and community at the forefront of all their decision making.  From driving the trickier terrain of the district’s 161 square miles at 4:00 am to determine road safety, to making sure their buses are equipped with state of the art safety equipment, such as enhanced stop arms and external cameras.   

It is not unusual to find Mrs. Alderman and Mr. Wagar behind the wheel of a bus when they need to support their dedicated staff of drivers. As we all know, we are in a time of extreme driver shortages.  This has not stopped the outstanding team at BCSD’s Transportation Department, who pitch in to make sure all students get where they need to go and have opportunities to engage in enriching sports and academic activities outside of the classrooms. 

“Jeaneatte and Rick are consummate professionals,” said BCSD’s Interim Superintendent Dr. Maureen Long. “This is apparent by the efficiency and success of our transportation department.  Far more impressive though, given the challenges and responsibilities that come with their work, is the manner in which they conduct themselves; they exhibit tremendous care, compassion and integrity in their interactions with colleagues and staff throughout the district and the children and families they interact with on a daily basis.” 

On most days you will find Mrs. Alderman, troubleshooting runs, hiring and training staff, or communicating with drivers, students, and families. This includes planning with both the BCSD staff for extracurricular driving needs and the BNL Athletics Department to ensure all sports runs are covered. 

Mrs. Alderman is also dedicated to starting Mountaineers’ bus safety early. Each summer, with the support of her staff, she holds an orientation for the incoming Pre-K and Kindergarten students, helping to acclimate them to the bus and getting the youngest Mountaineers into safe riding habits from the start. 

Mr. Wagar works alongside his staff of mechanics, responsible for a fleet of 27 vehicles, which include: school buses, suburbans, and vans that transport Mountaineers to and from school as well as to many out of district sites. Mr. Wagar and his team ensures that all buses receive their routine maintenance, any necessary repairs, and readies them for Department of Transportation inspections. 

Mr. Wagar and his staff also give their time and expertise to help teach and demonstrate their trade to our oldest student Mountaineers. These students are considering their plans after BCSD and preparing to enter into the workforce or continue to pursue their education beyond high school. Having hands-on experience with Mr. Wagar and his team can be an invaluable part of mapping out their future plans. 

This year, Mr. Wagar and his staff are hosting two Mountaineer seniors who are in the automotive program at Questar III.  The students are two of many Mountaineers who have done their shadowing at the BCSD Transportation Department over the last several years. This is a highlight each year for Mr. Wagar and his staff.

 “Jeaneatte and Rick are always striving to do more and better, not for themselves, but for our students and school community,” said Dr. Long. 

“I cannot think of two individuals more deserving of this recognition.  We are so fortunate not only to have them as employees of the district, but to be able to call them our friends of education.”

The BCSD Administrators Association nominated Mrs. Alderman and Mr. Wagar this year. They will be honored at the CASDA Annual Awards and Friends of Education Celebration Dinner on April 25, at Century House in Latham.