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.