FORT MYERS, Fla. — Paula Backus, a bus driver for Lee County Public Schools' West Zone transportation office, has been named the district’s 2008 Educational Support Person of the Year.
“Her dedication to her profession and the students of Lee County is what set Ms. Backus apart and made her the clear choice for this honor,” said a statement from the district. “She takes her job very seriously and provides students with much more than just a safe ride to and from school.”
Backus has developed various reward programs for her students. In one, they earned stickers for good behavior. Once they collected a certain number, they redeemed them for prizes in Backus’ prize box.
In another, students earned tokens for good behavior, which they could turn in for holiday money. Backus spent $90 of her own money to implement the program.
Backus recently implemented a “key tag” program for her riders. Each tag displays the child’s name and bus number, which helps students remember their bus number and enables Backus to quickly identify who should and should not be on her bus.
In receiving the Educational Support Person of the Year honor, Backus represents more than 4,000 support staff working in Lee County Public Schools. She will also be the district’s nominee for Florida School-Related Employee of the Year.