LANSING, Mich. — A school bus driver here recently received state recognition for his dedication to his students and school community.
Russ Clark, a bus driver for Rockford Public Schools, was named Michigan’s 2019 Education Support Staff Professional of the Year, according to a news release from the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). The MDE partnered with the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan, the Michigan Education Association, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 25 to present the award to Clark on Dec. 3. He was selected from a pool of more than 250 nominations, according to MDE.
Clark, who has worked for the district for the last eight years, is known for going above and beyond for his students, many of whom have special needs, according to MDE. He attends student events at school, is known for his weekly treats, and for making each student’s birthday special by getting them a gift, as well as putting together holiday treat bags that he purchases himself.
“Working together, it takes an entire school community to help our children achieve their full potential,” said Dr. Michael F. Rice, the state superintendent. “We are so grateful that Russ Clark and thousands of other dedicated education support staff professionals across Michigan work tirelessly each day to meet the needs of our students. Congratulations to Mr. Clark on receiving this award. We thank him for making each of his students know that they are important and valued.”
Additionally, Clark’s commitment to Rockford Public Schools goes beyond ensuring that his students have a positive experience. He also checks in with school staff before getting started on his route and offers a helping hand in the district’s bus garage, according to MDE.
As part of his recognition, Lupe Ramos-Montigny, a member of the State Board of Education, and Kyle Guerrant, MDE deputy superintendent, presented Clark with a $1,000 check, according to a post on MDE's Facebook page.