Cherokee County School District 2022 Bus Driver of the Year Tamara Stephens of the Cherokee Innovation Zone, center, is congratulated by Transportation department Executive Director Jim Georges and Chief Operations Officer Dr. Debra Murdock.
The Cherokee County School District this week congratulated the winners of its new Bus Driver of the Year Awards!
The awards recognize one outstanding school bus driver from each Innovation Zone (high school and feeder middle and elementary schools) and one from CCSD’s team of Special Education drivers; from this pool of winners, one overall CCSD winner was selected.
This year’s overall winner is 35-year CCSD school bus driver Tamara Stephens, who was the winner for the Cherokee Innovation Zone. The other Innovation Zone winners are: Creekview Zone, Misty Prestridge; Etowah Zone, Christine Minter; River Ridge Zone, Shanon Pruitt; Sequoyah Zone, Max Woodall; Woodstock Zone, Lynn Moore; and Special Education, Linette Mitchell.
“Our dedicated school bus drivers carry our community’s most precious cargo more than four million miles every year to and from our schools. We greatly appreciate each of them for their service and are proud to honor the best of the best with this new award,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “Tamara is a legend – both for her years of dedicated service, including many with perfect attendance, her mentorship of new bus drivers and her dedication to the safety and well-being of every student she serves.”
Ms. Stephens drives routes for Hasty Elementary School Fine Arts Academy and Cherokee High School, and additionally assists Cherokee High’s administrators with recording afternoon bus arrival at the school. She is praised by Transportation department leaders for her professionalism, noting she is highly respected by her peers. She also is known for her love of helping others, whether it’s collecting donations for a colleague undergoing surgery or visiting with shut-ins in her community.
Thanks to the sponsorship of the Cherokee County Educational Foundation and Peach State Thomas Buses, Ms. Stephens received a $500 gift card and the Zone and Special Education winners each received a $100 gift card. All of the winners additionally received a congratulatory banner and gift bag. All of the honorees were recognized before their peers at the Transportation department’s annual back-to-school kick-off meeting and training session held this week at River Ridge High School. Credit Union of Georgia sponsored lunch for all those in attendance.
The new awards program is in addition to CCSD’s Support Staff Employees of the Year program, which all non-educators, including bus drivers, are eligible to win for their school or central office division. Transportation Executive Director Jim Georges proposed the bus driver awards program to shine another spotlight on this critically important group of employees.
Celebrating at the first-ever Cherokee County School District 2022 Bus Driver of the Year awards presentation are honorees and Transportation department leaders, from left to right, Cecilia Norman, David Ammons, Liz Covington, CCSD Bus Driver of the Year and Cherokee Zone winner Tamara Stephens, Kim Bell, Woodstock Zone winner Lynn Moore, Creekview Zone winner Misty Prestridge, Sequoyah Zone winner Max Woodall, Lisa DuBois, Susan Neese, River Ridge Zone winner Shanon Pruitt, Etowah Zone winner Christine Minter, Rhonda Fiddler, Karen Denham and Kristen Nichelson. Not pictured: Special Education winner Linette Mitchell.