Employees at Derby Public Schools take pride in what they do! At the Derby Bus Barn, you will find a three generation family consisting of Sara Niyonteze (Bus Aide), her two daughters Jasmine Edwards (Bus Aide) and Selena Edwards (Bus Driver) and Sara’s mom Mary Oliver (Bus Aide). This family loves and appreciates their jobs, their co-workers and the students they serve. Derby Public Schools is continuing to work on the overall employee experience in our district through a dedicated goal area of Personnel: Retention, Recruitment & Development within our new 2022-2027 Strategic Plan.
The family’s story at Derby Public Schools begins with Sara Niyonteze, who joined the Transportation Department four years ago after attending a Bus Rodeo (bus safety driving competitions hosted by Kansas State Pupil Transportation Association) where she was attending in support of one of the participants. While there, she was told she was great with kids and was asked if being a Bus Aide was something she would be interested in. Sara loves her job as she enjoys working with students because she likes to make sure they feel appreciated, understood and valued. When asked why she is Derby Proud, she said, “The community, the kids, the staff and the district in general make me Derby Proud because teachers care about serving students. Derby makes you feel appreciated and that is something you cannot put a price tag on. I feel like I have value here.”
Jasmine Edwards was the next family member to join the Transportation Department. She said the reason she joined was because she heard how much her mother loved working for Derby Public Schools and with students each day. According to Jasmine, a big part of a Bus Aide’s job is to provide support to students and Bus Drivers in various manners such as being the person students can rely on for support before and after school and helping a new bus driver navigate their route.
“My job makes me Derby Proud because it does not feel like just a job, it feels like family. ”
“That feeling of family is what makes it easier to go to work because you feel comfortable around the people you work with.”
Selena Edwards, the next family member to join the team, was initially hesitant to apply as she was fresh out of high school. After her family continued expressing their love for their job, Selena decided to take the chance. After working in the Transportation Department as a Van Driver, with a little helpful encouragement from her supervisor and her family, Selena earned her CDL and began driving buses. After earning her CDL, Selena received first place during competition at the Bus Rodeo in the Summer of 2022. “Witnessing the charisma and joy that people have for this town and students at Derby Public Schools has made me Derby Proud,” Selena said. “The people here are adamant about taking care of students, always make you feel included and are always doing something new and creative.”
Mary Oliver became a Bus Aide after Sara, Jasmine and Selena began working in Transportation. Mary has always loved working with children as she has previously ran her own daycare and currently fosters children. Mary has cultivated a strong love of caring for children into her daughter, Sara, and her two granddaughters, Jasmine and Selena, that is evident in their work.
Sara shared the reason she has stayed in the district and recruited her family to join her is because of her love for the job, her boss, her co-workers and the students she serves. Sara shared having a supervisor who is caring is an added bonus. “Randy is a great boss. Our family has been through a couple of tragedies since we began working here, but he has always helped us get through those difficult times.” Jasmine has stayed with Derby Public Schools because she believes this place makes you feel like family and that there is no replacing that feeling. Sara, Jasmine, Selena and Mary all live in Wichita, but commute about 20 minutes each day to get to work. Why not work in Wichita you might ask? Sara explained the reason perfectly when she said, “Derby is the perfect size of district for you to get to know the students on your bus as our own.” That is exactly what this family has done, they have made personal connections and built strong relationships with the students on their bus.