During National School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 18-22, Atlanta Public Schools will highlight various APS transportation staff members and their outstanding commitment to student safety. The following feature is part of this special series.
As assistant transportation supervisor for the South Region, Adrian Wright has a plethora of responsibilities that include overseeing a team of 108 bus operators, serving as the liaison between drivers and the community, coordinating and revising routes, and communicating with schools.
Other paramount responsibilities involve making sure that drivers’ routes run on time and that all APS bus operators set strong standards for good student management.
For Wright, who joined the APS Transportation Department from Marietta City Schools this past summer, it’s all in a day’s work.
“I enjoy the drivers, and when I started with Marietta City Schools, I worked as a bus driver,” said Wright, who has a commercial drivers license and drives an APS school bus whenever needed. “Drivers just have that love for children. One of the things that I learned and what I continue to share with our drivers today is that we are the first representatives from the district that children see everyday. So, it’s very important that we communicate a positive message to the community and students so they feel welcome as they enter their school day.”
In his role, Wright also listens and offers advice to drivers about how to handle different safety situations they may encounter on the road. This involves providing alternate routes and tips about student behavior and helping drivers maintain a positive state of mind.
“That’s how my job directly relates to safety. This is important because two things will stop a school district from functioning: If students can’t eat, and if they can’t get to and from school. School systems will stop. When you think about that, it’s important to have great leadership in place to offer drivers the support they need, as well as someone who is going to be accountable to their fleet, to themselves, and the community as well.”
Ultimately, Wrights’s goal is to maintain safety on his drivers’ buses by ensuring students are familiar with bus rules and that all operators are comfortable driving their buses and willing to work together as a team. Given the current national bus driver shortage, drivers are often asked to double-up on routes and pitch in whenever necessary.
According to Wright, that is where APS Transportation staff shine. Their professionalism, teamwork, collaboration, and commitment to student safety are simply unmatched.
“I say ‘thank you’ to the APS fleet for being the unknown, undiscovered heroes that you are,” Wright said. “This does not work without our team. Their willingness to step up, be on time, do multiple routes, do it with a positive attitude, and in a safe manner, is remarkable. Without them, it doesn’t work. Our drivers are highly talented and highly skilled. They do a geat job.”