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She will miss the kids, even the ones who give her heart palpitations

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300,000 miles. 

That’s about the number of miles that Brenda Lyerly has driven a school bus for Davie County Schools.

February is Love the Bus Month, “a time to show gratitude towards the dedicated professionals who ensure the safety of students on their journey to and from school,” according to the National Association for Pupil Transportation.

Gov. Roy Cooper issued a proclamation honoring school bus drivers across North Carolina, noting that everyday 11,000 buses transport 650,000 students on rural roads, neighborhood streets, and multi-lane highways to and from school.

Lyerly has been in the driver’s seat of a big yellow school bus for 50 years, only serving one school: Cooleemee Elementary.

The students on her bus this year keep asking her age. They’ve made guesses — anywhere from 30 to 90!

After this school year, Lyerly plans to hang up her keys and retire.

“I always said that when I had kids get on there, and they said ‘my grandma rode your bus,’ I’d quit,” laughed Lyerly. “It happened, and I didn’t quit.”

It’s hard for Lyerly to leave the kids, who she says are her favorite part of the day.

“It’s a different bunch of kids every year. They make it fun,” said Lyerly. “Sometimes they tell you everything. I could write a book!”

Driving a bus is in the family. Her husband currently drives an exceptional children’s bus, and her children and a niece have all been school bus drivers, too.

“It’s the perfect job,” said Lyerly. “I have talked several people into coming and driving buses. They were scared to death until they got to driving. It’s just like driving a car.”

Jeremy Miller, the transportation director for Davie County Schools, has worked with Lyerly for 21 years now.

“She knows her kids, she knows her route, and she knows her bus,” said Miller. “If any of those were off she would always notify us to make it right. That is so important in keeping our students safe!” 

Emily Moore, the assistant principal at Cooleemee, said Lyerly is extremely dependable.

“She has transported countless students to and from school safely,” said Moore. “Safety on her bus is a top priority.”

“I’m going to miss the kids, even the ones that give me heart palpitations,” said Lyerly.

In the comments posted on Facebook, it is clear Lyerly will be missed.

“I love Mrs. Brenda. I know my kids are always safe.”

“Wow, 50 years!”

“We are so proud of you, Brenda!”

“Thankful for dedicated people like Brenda.”

“Thank you so much for all the hard work!”

Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC.

Karen Jarvis

Karen Jarvis is the chief communications officer for Davie County Schools.