Wilson County educators become substitute bus drivers to help with shortage

school bus.jpeg
Posted at 8:55 PM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 23:24:46-04

WATERTOWN, Tenn (WTVF) — As we know, some educators wear more than one hat. Some Wilson County employees have worked overtime as teachers and school bus drivers.

The district, like many others, is experiencing a driver shortage.

Tammie Paradis and Mindy Edwards have a combined 15 plus years of driving a school bus for Wilson County Public Schools but the past few years haven't been easy.

Many of the older drivers retired during the start of the pandemic and those spots haven't been filled.

"We're short-staffed and everything so, we're doing all we can," said Paradis.

Drivers are asking parents to be patient as many of them are working more than one route to make sure students get to and from school safely.

Being short-staffed is one of the reasons the district has started a program called CDL Saturdays. School employees are trained to get that license to sub in as a driver when needed.

"Last year I did a bunch, I did it throughout the year a lot of bus routes," said Darien Brown, principal of Watertown High School.

Brown received his CDL 16 years ago.

"But I have taken a lot of clubs, groups organizations to activities and events, sports teams to activities and events. So, I've done a lot of that and there's some times coming up that I’ll probably be driving again the bus routes just because of the shortage," he said.

Brown says he's not the only educator to wear more than one hat.

"I already have three different teachers who drive a bus route that also teach. They go do their bus route, walk right in and start teaching, school is out at 2:50, walk right back out and get on the bus again," Brown said.

The district is looking for 10 to 15 drivers. Wilson County Public Schools is holding a job fair event on Tuesday at the ATC 415 Harding Drive Lebanon from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.