Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Big Hand for Duval's Top School Bus Driver Miles of Happy Driving

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Big Hand for Duval's Top School Bus Driver Miles of Happy Driving

Article excerpt

It's not every day a school bus driver gets a round of applause just for sitting down on the job.

But that's what Elizabeth Miles received recently from the Ed White High School students on her bus when they learned she'd been named Duval County Public Schools Bus Driver of the Year.

"I was so surprised," said Miles. "I didn't really think they cared."

Miles, 45, is no ordinary bus driver.

Known to prepare cakes, candy or cookies for her co-workers on their birthdays, she's gone 10 of her 22 years driving without missing a day at work, and has never had a serious dispute with officials, parents or students, say colleagues and school officials.

"She's so dependable, sometimes I forget she's out there driving," said Faye Vickers, owner of Vickers Bus Co., Miles' employer. "She's always ready and willing to work."

Working for Vickers has been an enjoyable experience, Miles said.

"She's more like a friend than a boss," said Miles, who transports students from Ed White and Paxon School for Advanced Studies. "She has a prayer and a safety tip for all of us drivers every morning."

Miles said she will drive buses as long as Vickers is in business. After that, "it's up in the air."

Miles received a plaque and $100 May 21 from the Duval County Public School Transportation Department for her efforts at maintaining a reputation as a committed and dedicated driver who is an asset to her profession, school officials said.

According to Gene Hodges, records specialist for the Duval County Public School, each county bus contractor nominates one employee who has excelled over the past year in specific areas such as punctuality, dependability and driving record. Then, a committee of transportation officials votes on all the candidates to determine the winner.

Leslie Russell, a member of the committee that chose Miles, said the bus driver knows her job involves more than just transporting students.

"She really shows the true meaning of what we're here for, and that is for the kids," said Russell, a routing administrator for the Duval County Public School Transportation Department. …

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