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Bus Driver Retires after 46 Years with District
For 46 years, through the ever-changing Central Florida weather, Glenda Klein has been delivering Osceola School District’s most precious cargo to and from school.
“Times have definitely changed. Kids are different. There are many more schools and many more students. The demographics have changed, now we have people of all colors and races. It’s been a big cultural change,” Klein says. But, I still love my job."
In 1962, Klein moved from Lake Worth to St. Cloud. “My father was a farmer and St. Cloud was perfect for him.”
At the age of 26, Klein started driving a school bus for the Osceola County School District. On December 20 of 2019, at the age of 73, Klein retired. “I will dance and jam my way out, but I understand I need to find other things to keep myself busy,” she said.
“I have learned so much from all the students I’ve driven over the years, it’s just about the right time.”
Osceola School District Transportation Department Director Arby Creach remembers Klein as an incredibly dedicated pioneer of transportation and a true champion to children’s safety.
Supervisor of Operations Lisa Palmer said that Klein is a true school transportation icon that has served all kinds of students for Osceola County for 46 years. “She has shown great compassion and love for her students, parents, and co-workers throughout her career with Osceola County School Transportation. She will be truly missed,” she said.
Klein graduated from Osceola’s St. Cloud High School in 1965 and started helping her father at the farm by driving heavy trucks. “For me, driving a bus was very easy, my major concern was always keeping my precious cargo safe.”
“The first week wasn’t so good,” she said. “There would be children arguing, acting up. I had to manage it and keep it under control.”
Learning her stops and remembering the number of children riding her school bus was nerve racking. “Every day I prayed not to lose any of my students.”
After losing her husband of many years to pneumonia, driving her school bus became her salvation. “He was being treated and only lasted two months,” she said. “At that point my students, the people that knew me, my co-workers… they were my therapy.”
“My bus is a rolling classroom. My students pay attention and follow my rules. They just relax,” she said proudly. “One very important thing about my years of driving is that I have met multiple families; everyone knows me and when they see me they remember me and say hello. I am blessed!” I knew most of my students by name and they loved it. Knowing their name made a huge difference.”
Always be kind and smile,” Klein said her advice would be to other bus drivers. “Pay attention, relax, and get to know your kids as quick as you can, always speak to them. Show them you care. They may not say anything back, but they’ll get the message.”