Geneva School District 304 News Article

Viking Spotlight: Jeannie Bean

Bus driver jeannie bean inside her bus

Early each morning long before the school day begins, Geneva School District Bus Driver Jeannie Bean, or Miss Jeannie as the students call her, thoroughly inspects her bus, as required by law. She emphasized the importance of safety for the transportation department. “Safety is number one,” she said. “We never get in a bus that’s not fit to be on the road.”

In addition to safe equipment, Miss Jeannie impresses on the students that their behavior on the bus is important to ensure their safety as well. She accomplishes this by getting to know each of her students such as what sports they like, their favorite teams, etc. “Getting to know them individually helps keep them on board with the safety rules because they are more relaxed with me,” she said. If a student isn’t following the rules, she may move them to the front of the bus. “I just give them a look, the ‘mom away from mom’ look,” she chuckled. She has found that “if you respect them, they will respect you.”

Miss Jeannie lives in Hampshire, Illinois, on a farm with chickens, goats and cats. Although her home is quite a distance from Geneva, she makes the long drive each day because she loves her job. “I probably drive the furthest of all the drivers and I enjoy being here so much that the distance is worth it,” she said.

Miss Jeannie began driving school bus in 2014 and has been with the district since 2016. “Every day is different, it’s exciting,” she said. “I enjoy the kids so much. It makes my heart soar when I approach the bus stop and they are cheering, happy to see me. I know all their names, their pets’ names.”

She loves that she also gets to know the parents too. She feels that the parents have faith and confidence in her. “I think they appreciate knowing their kids are in good hands,” she added.

The job of bus driver works well with her lifestyle, as well. She enjoys the job because it allows her to have weekends off if she is not needed to help with field trips, summers off, if she chooses, and holidays off. “It’s great to know you can be with family,” she said. “It’s flexible that you have time to make personal appointments, do everyday things – home responsibilities. You can balance it all and still have a great income.”

For anyone considering becoming a bus driver, Miss Jeannie said, “if you can drive a car, then you can learn to drive a bus because we receive impeccable training, second to none.” Safety meetings are held monthly to allow for questions and answers and all new drivers are paired up with an experienced driver before they drive on their own.

The district is now hiring bus drivers and bus monitors. Bus monitors assist bus drivers if a student on the bus needs additional support. Bus monitors allow bus drivers to focus on driving.

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