School bus driver will fill seat on Greencastle-Antrim School Board

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot

Charles Ford told Greencastle-Antrim School Board members he is "a mass transportation specialist with a focus on delivery ... a school bus driver."

Board members cited Ford's enthusiasm, personality and unique perspective as they came to a consensus at Thursday's meeting for him to fill the seat left vacant in their ranks by the resignation of Mike Still, who is moving from the district.

Thursday's meeting was a work session so a formal vote on Ford's appointment will be taken at the Dec. 3 reorganization meeting.

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"I am so happy we had so many candidates," President Tracy Baer said after 11 district residents told the board about why they applied for Still's seat and their priorities for the district. She noted it is often hard to get anyone to run for vacant school board seats in an election.

Ford's appointment is for one year, and there will be a number of seats available in next year's election, she noted.

"We're in a good place if this many people want to help," Baer said.

Ford said he was unhappy in a previous job, when his wife suggested becoming a school bus driver.

"I didn't know what a profound impact the students would have on me or me on them," Ford said, explaining they have a bond of trust, love and acceptance.

"I would relish the opportunity to be their voice," said Ford, noting he is the first and last school contact of the day for many of the children.

Keeping extracurricular activities "alive and thriving" is one of his priorities because he has seen the impact they have had on the lives of students and allow them "to be part of something bigger than themselves."

Baer recalled a time prior to COVID-19 when she was in the superintendent's office and watched Ford high 5 every student that got off his bus.

"His passion is in his job ... he has better reach with students than any of us," added board member Scott Hart, who said, "I can see why kids want to give him a high 5."

Ford will have to make sure there are no conflicts of interest with his employer before the board's Dec. 3 vote. He also will have to abstain from voting on transportation issues during his tenure on the board.

All the candidates were well-qualified, board member Pat Fridgen observed.

In addition to Ford, the applicants were Sheronda Brown, Cody Hill, Michael Robinson, Tiffany Bloyer, Joshua Dull, Shawn Burgener, Susan Blankenship, Cameron Schroy, Patrick Mills and Stephen Pellegrino.