As another school year is on the verge of it’s “final drive” to the finish line, our Teacher of the Week feature is taking a slight detour this week, to recognize Debra Jackson, recently honored as the Lee County School District’s Bus Driver of the Year. Ms. Jackson has been behind the wheel for students in the school district for 34 years, from the time when she was 16 and in search of a part-time job to help pay for her impending high school graduation activities.
Ms. Jackson is also a Teaching Assistant at Broadway Elementary School and it’s fair to say, that the entire school population was thrilled to learn about her recognition. Broadway Elementary Principal Ricky Secor values Ms. Jackson as an indispensable part of the Broadway team, noting “The staff and students could not be more proud of Debra. She is the first person from Broadway her students see each day and she is the last person from Broadway her students see each evening. She is a fantastic representative of Broadway Elementary School. When we posted on our Facebook page that Debra had won the Bus Driver of the Year Award, several parents of her current students and some of her former students – including a current Broadway staff member – commented that they knew she deserved this a long time ago.”
It’s a full day for Ms. Jackson, starting between 4:15 and 4:30. She retrieves her bus at East Lee Middle School and collects approximately 50 students in time for each to arrive at school before the 8am bell. Then it’s off to first grade, where she assists students with math, reading and any other subject they need help with. When the school day “ends” at 2:45, Ms. Jackson is still on duty for 90+ minutes, getting her children safely home, before dropping off her bus around 4:30.
Lee County School District Transportation Director Reid Cagle views Ms. Jackson as the embodiment of the service the district’s drivers provide and the importance they hold.“The students know Mrs. Jackson truly cares about them. She is patient, caring, loving, responsible and has and creates a positive attitude. She is a driver who parents, students, school administrators and myself respect and can depend on.”
Let’s give the area’s Bus Driver of the Year, our final word. Ms. Jackson comments, “I really enjoy my job. I love being able to work with the children and with the bus. It’s a very big responsibility, and my whole objective is to keep them safe at all costs.” Congratulations Ms. Jackson!