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Driving Students to Their Tomorrow
Driving Students to Their Tomorrow
Posted on 07/22/2021
Ms. Gloria Lewis stands in front of her bus at Woodfin Elementary School.By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Ms. Gloria Lewis smiled broadly as she parked Bus 246 at Woodfin Elementary School after dropping off a group of students at the BCS Summer Academy on Wednesday.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to get up in the morning,” she said. “It’s different every day, and you just get a sense of happiness when you see their faces. They love to see me too.”

Ms. Lewis was PTO president for Woodfin in 2003 when she learned that the small Erwin District school needed more activity bus drivers. She signed on and just kept driving. By 2004, she was driving a yellow bus and working in the cafeteria to round out a full-time position.

“I drive the kids to school, and then I cook for them, and then I get to take them back home,” she said. “I treat them like my children, because I know their families want them to be safe, loved, and cared for.”

Ms. Gloria Lewis smiles from the driver's seat of her bus.Some of her earliest students are now adults, and they still remember Ms. Lewis as their favorite school bus driver.

“That’s what warms my heart, to know that I took care of them,” she said. “It’s wonderful to feel appreciated and to know that I made a positive difference in someone’s life.”

When she first started driving, Ms. Lewis was nervous about the big buses, but she said the BCS Transportation Department's rock solid training and maintenance program made the learning curve much more navigable.

“It’s easier than it seems, and you’re not alone out there,” she said. “They train you extensively and ride with you to help you learn what to do down to the minute. And whenever I have any engine problems, they seem to show up in seconds to help me out. I feel safe and supported.”

BCS provides free training for bus drivers, and for those like Ms. Lewis who want full-time work, BCS creatively combines complementary opportunities like custodial, nutritional, or teacher assistant positions. Eligible staff have access to medical, dental, and vision insurance, as well as retirement and savings account options like 401k, 403b, and more. We also offer paid time off, paid holidays, sick leave, and a competitive local salary supplement.

Even part-time employees of at least 20 hours have access to some level of benefits like paid time off and sick leave, a 457 supplemental retirement account, and a local pay supplement that brings the beginning school bus driver pay rate to $15.83 per hour.

More information is available at

Buncombe County Schools is hosting a Support Staff Job Fair on July 28, 2021, from 2:30-4 p.m. The fair will be held in the Martin L. Nesbitt, Jr. Discovery Academy cafeteria, located at 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

Everyone is welcome! We are hiring bus drivers, instructional assistants, custodians, and school nutrition staff for the 2021-22 school year! We look forward to meeting you.

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,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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