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Montgomery Co. principal becomes certified bus driver to help out with the bus driver shortage

Principal Emily Clark of Norman Smith Elementary School
Posted at 3:37 PM, Mar 10, 2021

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Principal Emily Clark of Norman Smith Elementary School in Clarksville has taken her dedication to her students to another level.

Clark noticed the bus driver shortage in Clarksville-Montgomery County schools only got worse during the pandemic; so she decided to do something about it.

"After the students stay in the hallway for awhile you realize gosh it's sad. You want them to be home," Clark said. "They see me in the hallways and classroom but they couldn't believe I was behind the bus."

Clark started training in October to become a bus driver. In January, she became certified and did her first official bus route last week.

"Students thought it was special that their principal was driving the bus," Clark said.

She says it gave her an extra opportunity to bond with her students. "It's relationship building when you drive the bus and take that time to talk to them."

In Montgomery County, more than 20,000 students rely on school buses each day. While being responsible for these students can sound overwhelming, Clark told NewsChannel 5 the experience, so far, has rewarded her two-fold.

Anyone interested in becoming a bus driver can get more information or apply at an upcoming job fair on Saturday, March 27. It's from 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at West Creek High School (1210 West Creek Coyote Trail). Applications can also be made by clicking here.