When Jennifer Baldwin thinks back to her school days, one of the first people who comes to mind is her bus driver.
That’s why she now dedicates her career to hiring impactful transportation personnel for the students of Polk County Public Schools.
“My bus driver’s name was Miss Jackie. You could always talk to Miss Jackie. She would always make your day better,” said Baldwin, a transportation recruiter. “Those are the kinds of people we need on our buses too.”
Before becoming a recruiter, Baldwin spent several years driving a bus for PCPS. Her time behind the wheel gave her a deeper understanding of the important role transportation employees play in students’ lives.
“One of the things I did was I called the seat next to me the ‘best friend’ seat. If a student was having a bad day, I’d ask him or her to be my ‘best friend for the day,’” Baldwin said.
“For some of these students, their bus driver may be the first person they see in the morning. We can be a source of consistency and a smiling face for our students.”
As a recruiter, Baldwin takes every opportunity to share the many perks of being a bus driver or attendant, and she keeps an eye out for individuals who can bring something special to the job.
“We’re hauling babies, not oranges,” she said. “You have to have a heart for kids to drive a bus.”
Baldwin shares more about her experiences both driving a bus and recruiting bus drivers on the most recent episode of People of PCPS, a podcast dedicated to telling the stories of people who contribute so much to our organization.
You can watch the episode on YouTube or download it on Apple, Google, or Spotify. See polkschoolsfl.com/podcasts for more information.
People of PCPS is brought to you through the generous support of Joe Fisher’s office at MidState Educators Insurance. For more information, visit InsurePolk.com.
Know someone who has an interesting story to tell? Nominate them to be featured on People of PCPS. A nomination form can be found at polkschoolsfl.com/podcasts.