The Ohio Association for Pupil Transportation announced that Jeff Vrabel Sr. of Poland, operations manager at Transit Service Inc. in Youngstown, has been named the 2013 recipient of the William Rice Award of Excellence for Pupil Transportation Supervisor of the Year.
The award, in its 23rd year, was created in memory of William Rice, former president of OAPT who died in office during the 1987-88 school year. It is the intent of this award to recognize supervisors who exhibit outstanding leadership and professional conduct in the school transportation field, both in the districts they represent and in the state of Ohio. It also recognizes supervisors who have contributed to the advancement of transportation supervision as a profession.
Vrabel completed 15 years of exceptional service to the Columbiana County Educational Service Center and community before accepting a position at the Youngstown City School District, then moving on to Transit Service Inc.
He is a member of Ohio Association of School Business Officials, and is been a member of its Professional Development Strategic Planning Committee, helping to create professional development programs for all Ohio school business officials. In November, Vrabel was named OASBO's 2012 recipient of the Foundation for School Business Management's "Outstanding Transportation Director of the Year" award.
Vrabel is generous with his time on transportation association boards, and currently serves as president-elect of the Ohio Association for Pupil Transportation. He is past president of Columbiana County Transportation Supervisors Association, a member of the National Association for Pupil Transportation, former member of the Ohio Department of Education's Parent Advisory Council and served on the review team for the second submission of the Race to the Top grant, which was accepted.
A standout community member, Vrabel is a commander for the Sons of the American Legion, and for the past three years, has been the chairman of the Memorial Day Parade and Memorial Ceremonies in Poland. In 2011, he was named the Citizen of the Year for service to veterans and Americanism by the United Veterans Council of Greater Youngstown.
A sports enthusiast, Vrabel is currently an NCAA football referee for the Presidents Athletic Conference and also referees high school football and basketball. He has served many youth sports associations as a board member, manager, coach, umpire, public relations and assistant tournament director. He also volunteers for the Special Olympics.