Three Generations Serve Fulton County Schools as Bus Drivers
Brenda Creel, Autumn & Brooke Kirby
When it was time for Brooke Kirby to focus on a career, she did not hesitate. She knew she wanted to become a Fulton County Schools (FCS) bus driver. Twenty one years later, she is confident of her choice. "I became school a bus driver because my Momma was one," Brooke said. "I saw how she had her summers off and I loved the flexible hours she had."
And when Brooke's daughter Autumn Kirby began working, she chose a career as FCS bus driver as well. "I love this job," Autumn said. "Kids and parents depend on me. I feel needed."
October 19-23 is the week schools celebrate National School Bus Safety Week. The theme for 2020 is "Red Lights Mean STOP!" Sponsored by the National Association for Pupil Transportation, the week notes the importance of school bus drivers for student safety. "Parents trust us to get their kids to school safely," Autumn said. "It's a big responsibility."
The responsibility of transporting students and their safety has been made even more important by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, FCS transportation workers have learned procedures to minimize exposure to COVID-19, how to properly wear/use PPE, guidelines for transporting the medically fragile, prohibiting students from sharing items on the bus, traffic flow issues and much more.
To assist her daughter and granddaughter during the pandemic, Brenda Creel, who drove a school bus in FCS for 21 years, took action. She made sure they had face masks with yellow school buses prominently on front for their use. Vickie Cross, FCS Executive Director of Transportation, has noted that school bus driver interaction with students is very different this year. "Bus drivers and transportation assistants will be wearing a mask and possibly a face shield," Cross said. "Students are used to seeing a smile, but just know, the smile is behind the mask."
Driving a bus for FCS for 23 years has given Brooke Kirby the ability to personally assist the students on her route. "I like playing a role in their education," Brooke said. "I want them to feel good about their day so I greet every student individually with good morning and have a good day at the beginning of my route. I try to stay involved with how their school day went. I learned that from my Mom."
And the parents on their route, which includes Cliftondale Elementary, Renaissance Middle and Langston Hughes High, are appreciative . "A little girl I drove last year was always so grateful," Brooke said. "Her Mom would bring me a homemade smoothie and homemade cinnamon rolls."
Just as Brooke learned from her mother, Autumn has as well. "I've learned from my Mom to have a good work ethic," Autumn said. "I wanted to be like her and my grandmother."
"The Kirbys are two of my hardest working bus drivers," said Transportation South Supervisor Sabrina Collins. "The best thing about Brooke and Autumn is that I call them every day with route changes. I have drivers call out and have no one to do the route. They are flexible, agreeable, and just a joy to work with. The best saying for these two is 'like mother like daughter.' They are just alike with their work ethic."
"I love my job," Brooke said. "I want to be there and encourage kids and help them along the way."
Autumn is expecting a child soon. "Maybe we might have another FCS Bus Driver," Brooke said.
For more information on National School Bus Safety Week visit www.napt.org.
Brooke and Autumn Kirby
Three Generations of FCS Bus Drivers: Brenda Creel, Autumn Kirby and Brooke Kirby