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Transportation duo motivated to performance
There were many stops along the route Amanda Valadez-Rich and Debra Wiley have taken since joining the SCUC ISD Transportation Department. Valadez-Rich went from bus monitor to bus driver and is now currently a special education router; Wiley spent the first two years of her district career as a bus driver before becoming route specialist six years ago. Both recently obtained her Pupil Transportation Specialist certification from the Texas Association for Pupil Transportation (TAPT).
The certification is an accreditation, attesting the recipient has completed training in all facets of pupil transportation, including personnel management, student safety, operations, vehicle maintenance, budgeting and reporting, routing, communications and leadership. In short, it means the pair, who work out of the Transportation Department hub out of Byron P. Steele HIgh School, are well-rounded, multifaceted employees in pupil transportation.
“I’m always wanting to learn,” said Valadez-Rich. “I’m always eager to dive deep in my positions and my roles here, and I like to cross train in other areas. I’ve been here eight years, so I figured ‘why not?’”
“Most of my transportation experience has been in routing,” said Wiley, who has worked 23 years in school transportation across various districts. “The certification part was just a next step for me.”
Their independent journeys to pupil transportation specialist certifications was as deliberate as driving through a school zone. Taking two to three classes a year, Valadez-Rich and Wiley needed time to complete their certification requirements, 48 hours of coursework.. “We usually traveled to different areas and locations and some here in the area. They’re three-day courses over the course of a weekend,” said Valadez-Rich.
Wiley enjoys the responsibilities of creating bus stops for the routes to transport students to and from school. “I feel like I’m helping,” she said. “Parents (count on us) to get kids to schools when they can’t. We provide that service.”
Valadez-Rich hopes the next destination will result in a special needs certification, which complements her current duties. “I want to learn more about the special needs aspect,” she says. “The ultimate goal is to keep learning and growing and see how high I can get in my position here. I love it here.”