Riding a school bus is often a child’s first school experience. This can be a difficult transition for kids and parents alike, but with caring bus drivers like Jan Powell, rest assured that your children are in great hands. With safety as her top priority and genuine love of children, Jan shares her experiences as a transportation specialist for Liberty-Benton Schools.
A little about Jan
Jan began driving a school bus for Liberty-Benton nearly 25 years ago after earning her license in 1995. “I’ve been driving so long that I’m now picking up the kids of the KIDS that I started picking up years ago!” Jan says. “I love it when kids that have grown up come up to me and still know me and hug me. I’ve wiped a lot of noses, tied shoes, zipped a lot of coats, shared a lot of birthday cookies, cupcakes and treats, and sang ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ a million times!”
Jan attends Findlay First Church of the Nazarene where she sings and plays guitar with the worship team. She has been married to Mark Powell for nearly 40 years and, together, they raised their four daughters on a farm outside of Rawson. The family has grown to include four son-in-laws and eleven grandchildren with one more on the way. “I always wanted a dozen. So I’m getting my dozen grandkids,” Jan says.
Building relationships from day one
Liberty-Benton gives bus rides to children entering kindergarten and their families prior to school starting each fall. “It breaks the ice a little bit and they get to know me,” explains Jan, “I give the families my phone number in case they have any problems. I don’t mind texts or calls because I like to keep that communication open with all of my parents. I get to know them that way, too.”
One of Jan’s favorite parts of her job is watching her kindergarten riders transition to school. “They’re just so meek and mild the first two or three months. The moms are standing at the end of the driveway, kissing and hugging them goodbye. And then, by about January, the kids are like ‘see ya, Mom!’ and the moms are like, ‘see ya kid!’ They’re just a lot of fun,” she says, with a laugh.
It is clear that Jan loves her job and invests in the children she sees on the bus every day. From providing little treats to the families at Christmas time to praying for the kids on her bus every day before she picks them up, she goes above and beyond the call of duty and is cherished by her students.
Q & A With Jan Powell
What is your favorite restaurant in Findlay? Cheddars or Red Lobster.
What is your favorite local coffee shop? I don’t drink coffee, but I love hot chocolate from Tim Hortons.
Where do you most like to spend time as a family? We love to go family camping as much as we possibly can in the summer. Sometimes there are 10 of us and sometimes there are 25 of us!