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Oswego 308 Hires New Transportation Director

Derrick S. Berlin has more than 23 years of experience in school transportation.

Tuesday evening the District 308 Board of Education hired Derrick S. Berlin, a nationally certified transportation director, to oversee District 308’s Transportation Department.

"It is with great honor to accept the position of director of transportation for School District 308," said Berlin. "It is my goal and desire to make the transportation department a world-class facility able to support the needs of students and parents."

John Sparlin, executive director of administration services for Oswego 308, said the director's position had previously been filled in the district for many years, but it had not been filled for 18 months. 

"We felt that this was the route we needed to go," Sparlin said. 

The position was posted about a month ago, said Sparlin, and the district received numerous applicants and pared the number to just a few finalists.

Each applicant went through two interviews processes, one of which involved a screening by a committee consisting of a principal from an elementary, junior high and high school, plus Sparlin and two union representatives from different transportation departments. 

Berlin will start the position Monday, Oct. 29.

Previously the district's transportation department was overseen by director of business services Angie Smith, who left the district in June for a postion in Plainfield Consolidated Unit School District 202. Previous to that Larry Martinez served as transportation director through 2011. 

Most recently, Berlin worked as transportation director for special services at Valley View Public Schools in Romeoville, a position he had since 2004. Prior to that position he was employed by Naperville Community Unit School District 203 as its transportation coordinator.

“Our plan is to ensure a world-class transportation department is a part of a world-class school district,” said Superintendent Matthew Wendt. “I am confident Mr. Berlin is the person to lead the department at this critical time.

Wendt said by 2020 the district has plans to educate over 20,000 students and it is wise to ensure the best leadership is in place for the department. 

"Whether it is a morning or afternoon route, special education route or activity trip, we want a system that guarantees the highest level of student safety, customer service, parent communication and quality service at an affordable rate," said Wendt.  

Sparlin said the base salary for Berlin's position is $92,000.

Berlin has more than 23 years of comprehensive experience in the school transportation industry and extensive capabilities in all facets of operations management, budgeting, negotiations and financial analysis, child passenger safety, staff development, team building, strategic planning and community relations.

Board President Bill Walsh said Berlin's backgroud proves that he has the knowledge to reduce the cost of the $9.5 million transporation operation for the district's 12,000 bused sudents with the best service possible. 

"The Board of Education is confident in Berlin’s ability to improve efficiencies and meet defined service commitments to our students and parents," Walsh said.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 7:55 a.m. Friday. 

Larry Martinez October 12, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Congratulations Derrick, and best of luck!
Henry T October 12, 2012 at 12:47 PM
What no one complaining about how much he is getting paid yet? It isn't a Oswego Schools thread on patch without someone complaining about how much someone is getting paid... Everyone sleeping in?
Jane Johnson October 12, 2012 at 01:30 PM
I would like to know is FULL salary and what that includes.
Teachers First October 12, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Would love to know how we continue to hire more expensive administrators- and more of them- then we had last year and yet the teachers still are underpaid and told there is no money for raises. Didn't we decide a few years ago we didn't need a transportation director and combined it with something else?
Jane Johnson October 12, 2012 at 01:55 PM
308 teachers aren't even working with a contract... federal mediator called in. Teachers have been working without a ratified agreement since mid-summer.
Doug Collie October 12, 2012 at 02:33 PM
If the recent bussing debacle didn't prove that there was a need for a transportation director I don't know what would.
Teachers First October 12, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Administrators have to follow lead of Supt. and Board. Let's hope they start to make decisions that are consistent and make sense so this guy has a fair shot at succeeding. Can't just make knee jerk reactions depending on who is complaining at any given time.
Richard Saunders October 12, 2012 at 03:04 PM
The ISBE website says that the last year (2011) there was a transportation director, his annual salary was listed at $89,065 with an additional almost $30K in benefits paid. I don't know how reliable that salary number is, but if the position was eliminated to save money, and now 18 months later they're hiring someone at a few thousand more, wouldn't it have made sense to have kept the person they had and not have to have gone through the painful transition that happened this fall? I also Googled "nationally certified transportation director' and got halfway down the page before finding something relevant to school busing. That appears to be a certificate given out by a National trade organization requiring hours of classes, attendance at national conferences (gee) and maintaining a paid membership in the group. A call to the state office in charge of school transportation says there is nothing at all required, recommended or recognized by the state for directors to have. When I asked about this certification, the answer was "it's a nice thiing to have worked for but many highly qualified and experienced school transportation directors never bother with it. So, good on Derrick for getting it, but why it was mentioned in the original posting as a "requirement" is sort of a mystery. Is it possible that someone knew in advance they wanted Mr. Berlin, he had the certificate that very few others have and so targeted the posting for him?
Teachers First October 12, 2012 at 03:21 PM
So the story that shows up to the right of this is one about when administrators left in the summer. It says the director of business services also handled transportation. So if we replaced her, why didn't her replacement have to handle transportation and we had to hire someone else? That seems like extra $ we could use for teachers.
Rachael B. October 12, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I think his salary is a bit much. Plus what kind of benefits?
Henry T October 12, 2012 at 03:56 PM
That's better.... Teachers First, hypothetically any eliminated spending or new spending avoided is money that could be used for teachers... Are you taking hiring new teachers at present rates or paying existing teachers more?
Teachers First October 12, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Henry you are right and I am not saying teachers should get an open checkbook. It's my understanding the teachers have been told there isn't money for raises. Just find it interesting they can find money for other things and can continue to pay new administrators- supt., asst. supt for finance, now transportation- more than the people they replaced while at the same time crying broke. You are either broke or your not. Can't be broke selectively.
mike ellison October 12, 2012 at 04:49 PM
We don't need a 'world class bus system'. We need one that gets by on the least amount of money as possible, and that isn't going to be a world class system. I'd much rather find someone who came from a poor District who worked with minimal funds to manage the bus system. Seems like the stated goal of his hiring is contrary to what the District needs.
John Tips October 12, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Vote out the School Board - that is where the problems begin!
John Tips October 12, 2012 at 05:53 PM
It's all about TAXES! When school boards do not regulate the amount of money paid to senior administrators, due to them having a much higher tax base - this is what you can expect to happen. Those boards are attempting on keeping up Joneses, by raising overheard pay, while one district attempts to outpay another for the same or much similar position. Our system is broken at all major governmental levels and needs to be reined in! In todays economic decline EVERYONE at all levels of government should be more interested in saving taxpayer's money, rather then building a World Class Anything! World class administration buildings, schools, libraries, and city halls are not as important as rebuilding our economy, teaching our children, and cutting local costs across the board! Our schools are failing our young! High school graduates have become poor spellers, writers, and are not as informed about US history as the people in my generation! Many no longer know how to read cursive script, know their multiplication tables, or have basic knowledge of how our US/state government operates or was designed. I would hope that your districts board pays close attention to what they do - as we the people "Taxpayers and Registered Voters" have begun to watch their actions as well!
Richard Saunders October 12, 2012 at 06:31 PM
John: Grammar nitpick - "district's". The apostrophe goes with the possessive. I bet a lot of high school graduates might have caught that too.
Al Diaz October 12, 2012 at 10:00 PM
I get an uneasy feeling when people start throwing the "world-class" around when talking about anything.
JimmyJ October 12, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Nah, he's only a 5 figure guy...now if he were retired from another district, collecting a 6 figure pension on top of a 6 figure salary....then we'd complain...but he's just the transportation director not superintendent
JimmyJ October 12, 2012 at 10:57 PM
strike...strike...strike.....hey hey ho ho that old school board had gotta go...Ah yes..I can hear it now....
Jane Enviere October 12, 2012 at 11:28 PM
It's typical new hire hyperbole and district spin - like most things from 308.
308Teacher October 13, 2012 at 02:57 AM
"I Believe"...that teachers are getting a BUM deal...working without a contract since the beginning of the school year...putting in extra time with extra duties on esentailly a "pay freeze" or even losing money with extra insurance costs...creating a "world class" school system while being bullied by administration and the school board...people wake up! support your teachers and tell your school board to work out an agreement...you can only do so much "for the children" before you have to look in the mirror and take care of our own families and children!! I am so sickk of this injustice!!
Plainfield October 19, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Dear 308Teacher - sorry you are upset about working without a contract. You have a job, many in the community don't. You have insurance, many in the community don't. I did not get a raise this year but my property taxes went up.
Loreta J. October 19, 2012 at 07:53 PM
I have to agree with Plainfield on this one. I truly appreciate teachers and what they do! I almost became one. However, the way that "308Teacher" phrased it strikes a nerve. I don't work with a contract, and many others don't either. We don't get the pay raises we deserve, and sometimes don't get one at all. Our insurance costs go up too. We may not work with children for a living, but we work for employers that manufacture or distribute things that are essential to your life or business. You benefit from my work and don't even realize it, and probably take it for granted. When I look in the mirror I see someone that is employed and happy to be working. If I look in the mirror and realize I can't take care of my own family and children, or am just not happy with how my employer is treating me, I can always go look for another job. Teachers can do the same if they are not happy. What they do is important, but so is what the rest of us do, yet we don't seem to complain as much.
Tom October 23, 2012 at 09:18 PM
I wish the teachers well in getting a contract. They have gotten very little in pay raises over the last few years and they have the most important job in the world. Preparing kids to be successful adults is a huge undertakingand I support them. I guess I don't come from the mindset that I am hurting so therefore everyone should be hurting.

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