Two Frisco ISD substitute bus drivers are a testament to the District’s commitment to safety, accuracy and professionalism.
Transportation employees Cherie Daniels and Chris Lowery put their skills to the test this month at the Transporting Students with Disabilities & Preschoolers (TSD) Special Needs Roadeo, hosted in FISD as part of a national conference and tradeshow.
The pair won their second consecutive national championship in the contest, which challenges driver and attendant teams to show off their precision driving, pre-trip inspection, child safety seat installation and emergency evacuation skills, as well as an understanding of the different conditions and behavioral implications for students with special needs.
A total of 20 teams were judged on events such as wheelchair loading, student management, serpentine driving, back up alley and car seat securement.
Daniels and Lowery finished with 854 of a total 972 possible points, more than 20 points ahead of the second place team, after completing the written exam and a dozen behind-the-wheel and on-board skills tests.
Both Daniels and Lowery are eight-hour-a-day substitute drivers for Frisco ISD, with 24 years of combined experience with the District.
They advanced to the national competition after winning the regional and state competitions. They also won a national championship in spring 2016.
After back-to-back wins, both women say they want to return to the competition next year and participate, but in a different capacity.
"The competition is really hard on me, but I would like to come back and be a judge," Lowery told School Transportation News, adding that teams need to be prepared to get little sleep and practice many hours in preparation for the two-day event.
"Practice, Practice," added Daniels. "You know what it is? We do this every day."
The win may be lost on students, but Lowery says it provides a source of pride to share with their parents.
"When you tell a kid about a roadeo, they still think cows," she said. "But now when I pick them up I can say, 'Hey guess what?'”
FISD Transportation Director Doug Becker was happy to host the national event, and especially proud to boast of back-to-back championships.
“It was a great day and we were very happy to meet so many other transportation professionals,” he said. “It was even better when our own drivers brought home a win.”