By AMANDA LOVIZA VICKERY
Glasgow Daily Times
Barren County schools will welcome a new director of transportation on Dec. 10.
Chip Jenkins, currently an area manager with the Warren County Schools Transportation Department, has been hired to fill the vacancy that has been managed by interim director Charlie Campbell.
The announcement was made by Barren County Superintendent Bo Matthews at a press conference Thursday afternoon. The district began looking for a permanent transportation director in September, Matthews said, and out of a well-qualified pool of applicants, Jenkins stood out above the rest.
“Mr. Jenkins certainly rose to the top and we’re just thrilled to bring expertise and experience to our district to serve the children of Barren County,” Matthews said.
Jenkins has been employed by the Warren County Schools Transportation Department since 2003, and as the Warren East area manager he oversees 52 bus drivers, almost as large a group as the entire Barren County school district. Jenkins’ experience in Warren County will serve him well in Barren County, Campbell said.
“Warren County has a very professional transportation department and he’ll bring that professionalism to Barren County,” Campbell said.
Along with his experience in Warren County transportation, Matthews said Jenkins’ “diversified background” made him stand out as an applicant. Jenkins has worked in private business, holds a commercial driver’s license, has evaluated and trained bus drivers, and even had a career in public service as the former mayor of Woodburn.
“He just brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise to our transportation department,” Matthews said.
Almost a decade in Warren County gave Jenkins a love for working in transportation, he said, and since his boss was not ready to retire he decided to apply for the Barren County position. He is excited to work in what he called a “growth district,” where the district is able to try innovative new things to improve the efficiency of the transportation department. There is an intrinsic value in providing safe transportation for children, Jenkins said, and he is looking forward to helping in that goal in Barren County.
“I just want to make sure we have our focus … on the safety of our children,” Jenkins said.
He is looking forward to getting to know people in the district and making long-lasting relationships, Jenkins said.
“I’m here to help everyone and be part of a vibrant team,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins will fit in well with the rest of Barren County’s staff, Matthews said.
“He’s definitely a people person,” Matthews said. “It’s like he’s never met a stranger.”
It will be interesting to have an external set of eyes come into the district and help Barren County see if there are ways it can become more efficient, Matthews said. Continuing to develop efficiency in routes and safety are things the district is continually working on.
Dealing with so many people, from bus drivers to parents, is the most challenging part of the job, Campbell said, but as long as Jenkins keeps child safety his main concern, he will succeed.
“You just have to keep student safety up there as the No. 1, and no one can argue with that,” Campbell said.
Jenkins’ wife of 25 years, Tracy, works as a nurse in Nashville and is also completing a master’s degree. They will continue to live in Bowling Green while she finishes the one and a half years she has left in her program, Jenkins said, but his goal is to move to Barren County and stay “as long as Barren County is happy with me and I can prove my worth.”
“It’s a wonderful community,” Jenkins said. “I have nothing but high praise for Barren County.”