*This feature is among a series of stories that will appear throughout the week showcasing APS Transportation staff in celebration of National School Bus Safety Week.
For as long as he can remember, Ryan Parker has always wanted to become a school bus driver.
A native of Eatonton, Georgia, Parker loves kids, and helping people is something that he is equally passionate about. As an Atlanta Public Schools bus operator, Parker now gets the opportunity to combine both passions while making a difference in students’ lives.
In celebration of Georgia School Bus Driver Appreciation Day and National School Bus Safety Week, held Oct. 19-23, Atlanta Public Schools proudly salutes the extraordinary efforts of bus operators like Parker, who love serving students and helping out in the community.
Parker is proud of his willingness to help however and whenever he’s needed. For him, being a bus driver is a dream come true.
And like his APS transportation colleagues, Parker – who began his new role in November 2019 – enjoys his job and misses the students he drives to and from school each day. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Parker spends much of his time distributing and delivering food to students and families throughout the Atlanta community.
“Driving a school bus and helping people are things I love to do,” said Parker, 23, a former regional kitchen director with Chick-fil-A, who services Route 611 in the South region and Mays Cluster. “I can help kids and serve the community at the same time.”
In addition to a flexible work schedule, Parker enjoys being a positive influence on the students he transports on his daily bus routes to and from Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy, Jean Childs Young Middle, and Mays High schools.
Parker is now just as committed to ensuring that his students remain safe once they return to school and are on the school bus.
“Without school bus safety, why drive a bus and put students and motorists’ lives at risk?” he noted. “As bus drivers, safety is our top priority because our kids and their parents depend on us to do our job properly.”