Washougal School District welcomed new Transportation Supervisor David Tsao on August 30, 2021. David had worked at Bainbridge Island School District since 2013 as a bus driver and, for the past four years, a driver trainer. In that role he provided administrative support as part of the Bainbridge Island Transportation Leadership Team.
Through his experience in transportation, David fully understands the challenges school bus drivers face. “It takes a special type of person with skills to drive a big vehicle and multitask,” David explained. “Drivers need to be constantly aware of what is going on around them in and outside of the bus and prioritize their focus.”
The physical task of driving the bus becomes a smaller concern once a driver earns their license, according to David. “The biggest issue is the 40-50 children they are responsible for,” he said. “They are precious cargo! And the best drivers have compassion for kids. They can connect and relate to each of them even with the variety of family environments kids come from. Once they leave their home, our bus drivers are the first adult they see before school and the last one after.”
Prior to working with the Bainbridge School District, David had extensive experience in business and financial management during his first career in construction and facilities/property management and real estate development. He established long standing relationships with national retailers, local commercial clients, and local government agencies.
David was responsible for all financial and operational aspects of a construction management business, establishing operational overhead budgets and revenue goals with senior management staff. He was responsible for overseeing payroll for nearly 200 employees and actively involved in recruiting, hiring and supervising staff as well as involved in continuing education, personal accountability, and staff development with outside consulting firms.
“My philosophy when working with one employee or a group of employees, is we need to work as a team to get the job done,” he explained. “We may have different roles, with some in a union and others in management, but we need to keep in mind that we are all working toward the same goal and to find a common solution.”
David received his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Washington. He is a Washington State Certified Bus Driver and Trainer and a Washington State Department of License Class B CDL Trainer. He is also fluent in Mandarin Chinese and hopes that he will be able to support our students and families if an opportunity arises.
David was drawn to the area due to its proximity to the Columbia River Gorge and Portland. “I am excited to be in Washougal,” he said. “I wanted to find a place to work that could use my expertise and experience. Bainbridge is actually a larger district, but Washougal has a larger Transportation Department. I am looking forward to taking on that challenge.”