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2021 Bus Driver of the Year: Ms. Katherine Goforth
2021 Bus Driver of the Year: Ms. Katherine Goforth
Posted on 06/04/2021
Retired Sand Hill-Venable Elementary School (SHVES) bus driver Katherine Goforth has spent each of her 30 years nurturing students, but she and her colleagues took it to a whole new level over the past school year.Pictured: BCS Transportation Director David Rhoney (center) shakes hands with retired Sand Hill-Venable Elementary School school bus driver Katherine Goforth (right) as Kay Thorp of Asheville Oil Company looks on.

By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Retired Sand Hill-Venable Elementary School (SHVES) bus driver Katherine Goforth has spent each of her 30 years nurturing students, but she and her colleagues took it to a whole new level over the past school year.

At the June 3 Board of Education meeting, Ms. Goforth accepted the Tracy Lea Calhoun Memorial award, also referred to as the BCS Bus Driver of the Year award, presented by BCS Transportation Director David Rhoney and Kay Thorp of Asheville Oil Company.

“I feel honored and appreciated,” she said. “I loved my bus, and I love the kids so much. Being a school bus driver means you’re the first person the kids see in the morning and the last one they see as they’re going home. You really have a chance to make a difference.”

Bus driver roles changed dramatically last year after the governor closed school buildings because of COVID, Mr. Rhoney said. Ms. Goforth and other drivers stood in the gap, delivering homework packets, Homework Hotspots, one-to-one devices, and meals to families. They cleaned buildings, cut the grass, painted hallways, answered phone calls, and helped teachers rearrange their classrooms to ensure physical distancing.

“Bus drivers went way above and way beyond their normal duties,” Mr. Rhoney said. “They have truly been superheroes.”

Ms. Goforth, an accomplished seamstress, also sewed around 250 masks by hand for children and staff at her school and the BCS Transportation Department.

“I have what you call a ‘giving heart,’” she said. “Doesn’t matter if you give to me, I just like to give.”

“Ms. Goforth never hesitates to dish out the tough love when needed to help a kid grow or go the extra mile to make a kid smile,” said SHVES Assistant Principal Dr. Laurel Stolte. “She is deeply caring and helps get kids on the right path.”

    Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin, shanon.martin@bcsemail.org, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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