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Classified Educator of the Year: Transportation Technician Karen Lewis

Karen Lewis, with transportation director Jim Garhart. - Courtesy photo
Karen Lewis, with transportation director Jim Garhart.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Named one of the Snoqualmie Valley Education Association's 2014 Educators of the Year, Karen Lewis has been working in the Snoqualmie Valley School District since 1990, when she started as a bus driver. She was trained as a driver by the district, and attended the state driver’s training school. In 2002, she became responsible for delivering that same training to new drivers, as a driver trainer and in 2009, she moved to her current role as transportation technician, responsible for dispatching buses, scheduling substitute route drivers, training for new drivers, and sports and field trip travel. She also drives routes.

What do you love about your job?

Every day is a new day. Different challenges of covering routes, handling student management issues, mentoring drivers and interacting with students on the routes that I sub. Being a part of the community in which I live.

How do you feel you help create “a positive scholastic environment”?

The school bus driver is the first and last district employee the student sees in a day. We may not be the typical classroom, but many of our drivers have scholastic contests going on in their buses. We teach manners, safety issues, provide emotional support and bring the students to school ready to learn. We are always striving to improve our training program for new drivers so they are ready to handle the challenges.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

I have a great family to spend time with, golf, bowling, yoga, gardening, other outdoor activities.

What do you learn from the kids?

Patience, because they may need reminding more than once and to have fun, something we forget to do with all our daily tasks.

 

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