Disgruntled Caddo School bus drivers will soon have a new leader. The Caddo School Board is set to name Jeff Roberts as the next Director of Transportation.

85 people applied for this post. Administrators interviewed six finalists including three from within the system and three from outside. A district panel has recommended Roberts to the Superintendent. The full board must now approve Roberts for the post.

Here's part of the statement released about the selection:

Roberts has extensive experience in improving work environments, raising expectations and changing perceptions. In his 29 years with Caddo Schools, Roberts has become known for his team approach to problem solving and willingness to take on challenges.

“I’ve never been good at sitting on the sidelines,” Roberts said. “I prefer to take on a task, get to understand every aspect and tackle it head on.”

Roberts worked as an assistant principal at Green Oaks Performing Arts Academy where the school faced state takeover. His ability to partner with his team to drive change was key to his selection as principal of Southwood High School in 2010. At the time, Southwood had faced years of declining academic performance and enrollment as well as an issue with teacher retention.

“Whether that was improving math and science classes or moving into administration, my goal has always been to do what was best for students and I look forward to working with the drivers, mechanics and office staff to ensure we are doing everything we can to transportation,” he said.

If approved by the Board, Roberts said he plans to bring several components of his approach to Transportation.

“Our drivers and staff members often feel unheard and we have to change that dynamic,” Roberts said. “Our drivers are the first and last faces from Caddo our students and families see each day and we have to come together and discuss how we can all work together to benefit those very students and families we serve. This has to be a team approach if we are going to do anything to improve how we support our students. No one is above anyone else. Everyone has a role to fill and we only do the best we can when everyone is doing their part.”

Roberts said his top priorities include ensuring safety and customer service are at the highest levels. Additionally, Roberts said he seeks to improve the overall morale of the department all the while increasing efficiencies and expectations.