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2023 Administrator of the Year Awarded to Kim Crabtree

The presentation, with bus drivers and other Transportation Department employees cheering Kim on, capped a week of celebration

Article Date: Oct 12, 2023

Bend-La Pine Schools presented its Administrator of the Year award today to Kim Crabtree, Director of Transportation. The presentation, with bus drivers and other Transportation Department employees cheering her on, capped a week of honoring district employees who stand out in their fields.

“It takes a monumental team to get this done every day, and our drivers are incredible,” Crabtree said upon receiving the award. “The hours they work and put in, it’s just not home to school. It’s driving athletic trips over the mountain pass, whether it’s a whiteout or not. They’re like, ‘I’ll do it! I’ll do it!’ This is their award. I really appreciate your dedication and support of this department and me.”

Superintendent Steven Cook surprised Crabtree with the Excellence in Education Award. He was joined by School Board Chair Melissa Barnes Dholakia, Board Director Shirley Olson, district administrators, and Crabtree’s husband. Kyle Frick, Vice President of Marketing and Community Relations for Mid Oregon Credit Union, presented Crabtree with a $500 check to use in her department.

“Kim is an incredible leader and very deserving of the Administrator of the Year award!” said Brad Henry, Chief Fiscal and Operations Officer for Bend-La Pine Schools. “Her hard work and ingenuity have helped create a culture that has led to the best student transportation staff providing vital services to almost 5,000 students every day. Kim’s dedication to providing safe and reliable transportation to our students is unmatched.”

Crabtree joined the district in February 2016 and has served in the role of Director of Transportation since the 2016-2017 school year.

“Kim is always looking for solutions that are best for everyone,” said Assistant Director of Transportation Tina Bandy. “We have a better quality of driver because we have emphasized a commitment to kids since she’s been here.”

Today’s surprise announcement is the final 2023 Excellence in Education ceremony this week. The first presentation was Educator of the Year, awarded to Kate Tibbitts, kindergarten teacher at North Star Elementary School. The second was Support Staff of the Year, presented to Araceli Rigney, dual immersion educational assistant at R.E. Jewell Elementary School.

The Excellence in Education awards honor custodians, counselors, kitchen managers, classroom teachers, educational assistants, office managers, bus drivers and other district employees who have had a positive impact on students. The recognitions began in early June when Bend-La Pine Schools honored 77 staff members from across the district who distinguished themselves with their leadership, innovation, outstanding professional practice, and positive contributions at work and in the community. From that group, 14 finalists have been celebrated this fall.

“The three outstanding staff members we celebrate this week contribute in unique ways to their schools and the greater Bend-La Pine community,” Superintendent Cook said. “It’s an honor every year to surprise and honor this stellar group of Excellence in Education winners.”