Thank you, SUSD School Bus Drivers! School Bus Drivers Appreciation Day Is Tomorrow, April 27

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (April 26, 2021) – More than 367,000 safe rides over more than 509,000 miles of roadway on 53 general education routes and 28 special needs routes, and those numbers are only through March of this school year. Even so, these statistics do not tell the whole story of the impact Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) school bus drivers have on district operations.

As the first SUSD employees to greet students each school day and the last to bid them farewell in the afternoon, the contributions of SUSD’s 80-member bus driver team are so much more, and the reason the district is taking time tomorrow, April 27 - School Bus Drivers Appreciation Day - and the rest of the week to say, “Thank you!” to them.

SUSD Transportation Department Director Brendan Wagner says he can’t say enough about his drivers and the people who support their work every day. “Transportation is some of the most challenging work that school employees are involved with. The skills that are required and developed, the credentials that are required and the daily commitment of every team member, from driver to bus aide to mechanic and operations staff, speaks to the quality of the individuals responsible for getting our students to and from school each and every day.”

Louie Annunziata has been driving Copper Ridge School and Desert Mountain High School students to and from school for the past 10 years and has been driving buses for SUSD since 2004. Working a split shift from 6 – 9 a.m. and 1 – 4 p.m., the former Brooklyn, N.Y. resident says he enjoys his work immensely. “It’s kind of like they’re your own kids – you can tell when they’re having a good day or a bad day. I just try to greet them kindly and let them know that that scraped knee is not the end of the world and they’ll be fine.” 

Annunziata says he thinks his riders get a kick out of seeing their 84-passenger Blue Bird bus decked out for seasonal celebrations. And he appreciates the students and their families, too, recalling the warm greeting he received from them several years ago when he returned to work following a medical leave.

Before SUSD in-person learning began for preschool, Special Education and K-5 students in September 2020 and for grade 6-12 students the following month, SUSD bus drivers volunteered for other duties related to the COVID-19 pandemic. They partnered with SUSD Nutrition Services to deliver student meals weekly, they pitched in on the Information Technology Department’s Help Desk to help students get set up for distance learning, and they helped clean and paint school buildings.

“I am in awe of the team of people with whom I have the honor to work daily,” says Wagner. “There simply are not words that can adequately express my appreciation and admiration for what goes on every day in this department.”

So tomorrow, this week or any school day, we invite you to take a moment to say a kind word to our bus drivers. They deserve it!

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