School bus drivers are dedicated individuals from a variety of backgrounds who have made it their mission to transport students to and from school and school-related activities safely and efficiently. They are trained professionals with immense responsibility. They have specialized training in student behavior management, student loading and unloading procedures and security and emergency medical procedures.
The iconic yellow school bus provides many benefits to the students at our schools. They maneuver through traffic and weather conditions of all kinds to get students safely to and from school everyday. They also provide safety, environmental, economic and academic achievement. The key to these benefits come from our certified school bus drivers operating their school buses. Today, we celebrate them and the servant leadership that they emanate.
Bus drivers make multitasking look second-nature. They provide comfort and solace by listening to a student all while providing safety to and from school. Due to the demand for busing, our buses typically carry the maximum number of students, and our drivers love getting to know all of them. They love their jobs and the impact they have on students’ lives.
“Transportation Coordinators provide a vital service to their schools by creating bus routes that are the closest they can be to our students’ locations. They work as a team to support each other and follow all school bus law requirements that meet all Michigan State Police requirements,” Ron Wiens said.
“Oftentimes, bus drivers think of the students on their bus as their own children. If there is any way that they can encourage them to ensure they have a great day at school, they do it all within a spirit of servant leadership. They deeply care about each student and show compassion every single day. For many, this has an everlasting effect on them,” Wiens said.
Let’s hear from our bus drivers and transportation coordinators! Below are a few of their stories:
Lisa started at New Branches three years ago with instructions to jump-start the transportation department from the ground up. She was handed a folder with bus leases and was told GO!
And, she did just that. Three years have passed and they have three buses, three bus routes and three bus drivers who average 65 students per bus.
“I love that I get to greet students in the morning, give them a goodbye in the evening and a hug in between,” Lisa Lodenstein said. “I’m so grateful that Choice has made it so that our bus drivers can work full time. During the morning and afternoon route, we help out in the cafeteria, supervise playground duty or help out in the office.”
Sam has been a BCMA bus driver and transportation coordinator for the past year. She has a permanent smile and desire to make a difference in the lives of the students that she transports.
Her bus is completely full of 75 students and lasts two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. In between the routes, she helps out with playground duty and other things around the school.
“Sam has a special energy that her students gravitate toward. She is a true joy to have on staff and provides a connection for our students that is honest and true,” Jes Eldrige, school leader at BCMA, said.
Marquis Elzy has worked in various industries before coming to Three Oaks. He commented that he absolutely loves his position and has no desire to do anything else. He loves that he gets to help out in the school during various other things as well, including being the mascot and other various special “visitors” to the school.
At Three Oaks, they have a team compiled of five transportation personnel. Each one has a route that expands throughout Muskegon. Each bus driver is committed to Three Oaks mission which is focused on building educators to be great citizens in their community.
At Bradford, they have a very robust transportation department consisting of 11 drivers. Ms. Davis is the transportation coordinator and organizes all the routes, field trips and other various administrative roles. She often times can be found on a bus helping to sub if one of her drivers is absent as well.
“I love that I get to be a bright smile and a positive role model for the students. It is a privilege that I get to be there for the students if they need a listening ear. We have the opportunity to show the students that we truly care about them by providing transportation and it is amazing,” Davis commented.
Transportation Departments and their employees are listed below.
Benton Harbor Charter School Academy
- Janelle Harris
- Valerie Young
- Doris Sanders
- Teretha Williams
- Joiesette Hilliard
- Jo Ann Rayford
Three Oaks Public School Academy
- Cindy Kersting, Transportation Coordinator
- Marquis (Mark) Elzy
- Andre McClanahan
- Jennifer (Jenn) Dombrowski
- Angela Dykstra
- Vicki Davis, Transportation Coordinator
- Theresa Adams-Woods
- Jerome Childs
- Roberta Carter
- Lamar Gray
- Allen Davis
- Camilla Green
- Andrea Durham
- Tony McKay
- Eric Lee
- Kevin Miller
Battle Creek Montessori Academy
- Samantha Salyers, Transportation Coordinator
- Marilyn Anderson
New Branches Charter School Academy
- Lisa Lodenstein, Transportation Coordinator
- Mary Davis
- Victoriane (Vicky) Howland