You would think that when school is out for the summer, our buses would sit idle in the parking lot, maybe get a tune up or a wash to prepare for the upcoming school year. But the staff at our Bus Garage, from our Transportation Director, to our Mechanics to our bus drivers work year-round. We sat down with Theresa Ritchie, RCS’ Transportation Director, Diana Colliver, Assistant Transportation Director and Maggie Lawson, Administrative Assistant, to go behind the scenes and learn what goes in to safely transporting our students to and from school, on field trips and more.
When we asked what a typical day for work is like, we got a chuckle from all three women. “There is never a typical day in transportation,” said Theresa. “Our days start pretty early, especially in the winter when we check weather reports and road conditions. Those days start at 3:30 a.m. We always start each day by making sure each bus is in good shape to get all the kiddos to school safely. We check in with the drivers and make sure the buses leave as scheduled.”
Diana agreed, saying, “It’s never a dull day around here! I arrive anywhere between 3:00-5:00 a.m. I plan who drives the routes and get the route sheets ready for the drivers for when they come in. I manage field trips, payroll and route adjustments.”
Maggie checks in with Theresa and Diana regarding bus or driver changes and answers incoming calls from parents and community members. “Once our students have been safely dropped off, I always check in with our drivers to ensure they have safely returned to the bus garage before they head home.”
Theresa, Diana and Maggie all have passion for their job. When we asked what they liked best about working in transportation, Theresa said “I can honestly say I love what I do. It’s very rewarding. I’ve spent the last 13 years contributing to the education of our youth. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Diana loves working with the staff at the Bus Garage. “I’m like a room mom to all our wonderful drivers. They keep me on my toes and we keep each other laughing, even during stressful times.”
Maggie loves that the drivers are #reynproud. “I highly enjoy interaction with our bus drivers and seeing how much pride they take in safely transporting our students to and from school.”
The three women have 30 years of experience in transportation among them, with more than half of those years with Reynoldsburg City Schools. Theresa began her career as a bus driver. She currently sits on the board of the Ohio Association for Pupil Transportation as the 2nd Vice President, where last year, RCS Mechanic Jon Duda was Mechanic of the Year. Theresa has six children and loves to travel and ride motorcycles in her free time.
Diana has been with Reynoldsburg City Schools since her oldest son, now 30, was in 4th grade. She started as a crossing guard at Rose Hill Elementary School and then moved to the cafeteria and became a playground aide for Hannah Ashton and Waggoner Road Middle Schools. She was asked to be a sub in the Bus Garage, which has become her new home in the District. Diana and her “wonderful, loving, patient” husband have been married for 30 years and both her sons graduated from Reynoldsburg High School. The love spending time with their grandson and traveling.
Maggie is a wife, mother and cheer coach. She has coached in Reynoldsburg for the past eight years, most recently as the 7th Grade coach. Her husband was born and raised in Reynoldsburg and her children graduated or attend school in the District. Most of their free time goes into renovating the home they purchased two years ago.
Did You Know?
Our Transportation Department is full of fun facts! Here are just a few:
• We are ALWAYS hiring! Theresa says, “Stop in to the bus garage (7932 E. Main Street) Monday-Friday between 6:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. We usually interview on the spot and the best thing is we train you to be a bus driver.”
• RCS has 62 drivers, 60 buses and 51 bus routes
• The average bus gets 7 mpg and holds 77 passengers
• We have a 7-mile District, but each bus drives approximately 125 miles per day.
• The busiest time of the year is July-September from 2:30-3:30 p.m.
• The word bus is derived from the Latin word “omni” meaning “for all.” Buses were the first form of transportation to include everyone.
• The world’s largest bus is Youngman JNP6250G in China. It is 82 ft. long and holds 300 passengers.
• You can follow the Transportation Department on Twitter for updates! @ReynBus1