CANASTOTA, N.Y. — School bus enthusiast Shane Kirley had what he described as one of the best experiences of his life last summer when he interned for two months at Canastota Central School District’s transportation department under the supervision of Transportation Director Carl Judd.
Kirley told SBF that he has had a passion for school buses since he was in grade school.
“I’ve had people ask me what it is about school buses that I find so interesting. I don’t have an answer for them. Most kids would’ve asked to go to Hawaii or something for their graduation present — I wanted to go to Blue Bird’s factory,” he added. (Kirley graduated from Canastota High School last year.)
During the internship, Kirley read the commercial driver’s license manual and then worked with various employees in the department to learn about school bus-related laws; filling out and filing paperwork; maintaining mileage logs; inputting student data in a routing system; how to use two-way radios; the operation’s vehicle replacement plan; and the process by which state aid is used to fund transportation for special-needs students.
“One of my favorite parts was learning the regulations that a school bus operation must follow,” he said. “I also enjoyed watching the driver training process.”
Moreover, the internship endowed Kirley with a better understanding of the transportation director position — it is more work than he imagined.
He said the internship also enabled him to grow and it is an experience that he will never forget.
In the future, Kirley plans to enroll in a course at Mohawk Valley Community College to earn a certificate to become a transportation supervisor, but he wants to gain some work experience first.
Cerebral palsy prevents him from being able to become a school bus driver, but it has not deterred him from pursuing his dream of a career in the pupil transportation, which impresses Judd.
“I have never met a young person who already has so much knowledge of the industry,” he said. “The requirements to become a transportation leader may be too stringent for Shane to achieve physically, but his effort and his determination will carry him far in our industry.”
“My main focus in life is to become an important part of the school transportation field. My inability to drive a school bus just forces me to find other ways of gaining the experience that transportation supervisors gain from driving,” Kirley noted.
Kirley is also interested in school bus sales and he has applied for a position at dealership in New York. “I realized I wanted to work in sales the first time I visited a dealership,” he said.