As some of you may remember, I wrote an article titled “I’m here because of you” for the February 2007 issue of SCHOOL BUS FLEET. It described how I got involved in driving a school bus and mentioned my inspiration, Phyllis, the bus driver who saved my son’s life after he was pushed directly into the path of her bus.
After four years of driving a school bus, however, I recently began to feel myself being called away from the driver’s wheel. I wanted to advance to a supervisory role within the pupil transportation industry, and I knew my chances of attaining such a position could only be enhanced by a formal education.
Not knowing where to find the education I needed to prepare for this position, I turned to the National Association for Pupil Transportation for guidance. The association introduced me to Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC), in Utica and Rome, N.Y. To my surprise, MVCC offers a program for certification within student transportation management.
Finding the management track
The School Transportation Management Certificate Program was developed in cooperation with MVCC at the request of the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT). The purpose of the program is “to prepare personnel for management positions in transportation, especially pupil transportation, and to further enhance the skills of those already occupying such positions.” Knowing this program was specifically developed by NYAPT, I had the confidence that I was going to receive the education I needed to prepare me for a leadership position within student transportation.
I enrolled earlier this year and have completed three out of the nine course requirements. My learning experience with MVCC has been very positive, especially considering I had a 30-year hiatus from formal education.
Because MVCC is located in New York and I live in the Chicago area, I am taking advantage of their online curriculum. The MVCC program allows me to attend classes on my own time, while I continue to care for my family and work a job that has an unpredictable schedule.
Destined for bigger things
In the same issue that “I’m here because of you” appeared, Steve Hirano’s Editor’s Note asked an important question: “Are great school bus drivers born, or can they be molded into greatness? And if they can be molded into greatness, how is that accomplished?”
Many of you might know some great drivers like Phyllis who appear to be born with that special feeling. They possess charisma, dedication and passion. But what about drivers who possess Phyllis’ attributes but desire something more? How do we prepare ourselves for this greatness that Steve mentions?
For those of us empowered to make a difference within this industry, it is reassuring to know we have the support and the tools available to help us succeed.
To all of my fellow school bus drivers who share my same desire and want to achieve greatness within this industry, take a chance and believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to put wings on your dreams and reach for the excellence that you have within yourself.
If you are interested in learning more about MVCC’s School Transportation Management Certificate Program, visit www.mvcc.edu/academics/departments/cced or contact Dick Suhr at [email protected].
Kathy Gorecki is a bus driver at Leyden High School District 212 in Franklin Park, Ill.