Rockford Bus Driver Selected As 2019 Education Support Staff Professional of the Year

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Public and Governmental Affairs 517-241-4395
Agency: Education

December 3, 2019

LANSING – For many students, their bus driver is the first and last person from school they see each day. For students along Mr. Russ Clark’s route, to and from school aren’t the only times they may see him. 

Clark is constantly involved in making sure that the school experience is a positive one for his students, many of whom have special needs. He attends their events at school, and goes above and beyond for them, making sure they know they are valued members of their school community.

For this dedication to his students and school community, Clark, a bus driver for Rockford Public Schools, has been named the 2019 Education Support Staff Professional of the Year – selected from a field of more than 250 nominations.

“Working together, it takes an entire school community to help our children achieve their full potential,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael F. Rice. “We are so grateful that Russ Clark and thousands of other dedicated education support staff professionals across Michigan work tirelessly each day to meet the needs of our students. Congratulations to Mr. Clark on receiving this award. We thank him for making each of his students know that they are important and valued.”

Clark is known for his Wednesday treats, and for making each student’s birthday special by getting them a gift, as well as putting together holiday treat bags of which he funds out of his own pocket. And when a student isn’t feeling well, Clark sends a get-well card.

His concern for his school community goes beyond ensuring that all his students have a positive experience. He checks in with school staff before getting started on his route and is constantly offering to lend a hand in the bus garage. Clark has been described as an exemplary teammate who works with other school staff for the betterment of students and their families, colleagues, and the district. 

As part of its ongoing commitment to highlighting and recognizing the contributions of individuals across the state who go above and beyond for their students, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is proud to partner with the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan, the Michigan Education Association, and AFSCME Council 25 to offer this award. 

For more information about the Education Staff Professional of the Year award, please visit the Education Staff Professional of the Year webpage or e-mail Jennifer Robel at robelj@michigan.gov.