First Student teams up with AASA to honor Superintendent of the Year®

Exploring the critical roles of a district leader
By: | Issue: January, 2019 | Thought Leadership
December 19, 2018
David R. Schuler is Superintendent of Township High School District 214 Arlington Heights, Illinois.

David R. Schuler is
Superintendent of
Township High
School District 214
Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Dennis R. Maple is President of First Student Inc.

Dennis R. Maple is President of First Student Inc.




















What have been a few highlights of the 2018-19 school year so far?

Dennis R. Maple: This year, we were particularly successful in meeting our district partners’ goals. Our overall satisfaction score has been the best ever for the last two years.

I’m particularly proud that First Student is sponsoring the American Association of School Administrators’ (AASA) National Superintendent of the Year® award.

We are passionate about our business, but equally passionate about supporting those who support K12 education. Dr. Schuler is a great example of that.

Why is First Student a sponsor of the Superintendent of the Year® award?

Dennis R. Maple: The superintendent is the linchpin of district success. We hope that a lasting relationship will grow with AASA, which will allow us to demonstrate our personal commitment, corporate commitment and civic duty to support the communities we serve. Education lays the foundation for success for young people and, ultimately, for society. We participate by providing safe and reliable student transportation, but also by relieving the stress of parents and administrators who want to know that their kids are going to be at school on time and get there safely.

What are some top challenges a superintendent faces?

David R. Schuler: The challenges of being a school superintendent are about providing a relevant, world-class education that meets the needs of every student who walks through our schoolhouse doors on a daily basis, while addressing state and federal mandates, trying to balance the budget, being a good partner to the community you serve, and focusing heavily on safety and security.

How does it feel to be honored as the Superintendent of the Year®?

David R. Schuler: It’s humbling. I have the best job in the world, and while there are some challenges, there are unbelievable opportunities. In most communities, the school district is the largest employer. The district has the potential to single-handedly transform a community through the talent pipeline that feeds the industries and workforce. Very few institutions in a community have that same potential, collective significant impact.

What has your experience been with First Student?

David R. Schuler: They get our kids to and from school on time. GPS on all the buses helps us know where our buses are all the time. They also monitor bus attendance daily, so if a bus is overcrowded, they’ll immediately adjust that from a 75- to a 90-
passenger bus. For the first couple of weeks, they’ll send “sleeper” buses, so after the first run is done, they’ll bring a second bus in case somebody missed their stop or was running a little bit late, which is really cool.

For more information, please visit