The Ulster County School Bus Driver of the Year Award has been presented to Lisa Haynes of the New Paltz Central School District and the runner-up award has been presented to Kevin Ross of the Kingston City School District. A ceremony was held on Thursday, April 28 at the Ulster County Law Enforcement Center Rotunda. The annual award recognizes drivers with exceptional service and safety records and is issued in conjunction with the Ulster County Traffic Safety Board and Operation Safe Stop.
“Congratulations to Lisa Haynes and Kevin Ross. They represent the approximately 700 school bus drivers throughout Ulster County who have one of the most important jobs — to care for our children and ensure that their school bus ride is safe. I truly appreciate their dedication, care and commitment,” County Executive Pat Ryan said. “Additionally, I want to thank our law enforcement community for their participation in Operation Safe Stop and for their continued efforts to enforce stopped-school bus laws and educate the public about the hazards of passing stopped school buses.”
Haynes has 32 years of experience, driving grades K-2, 6-12 and special needs runs. She is known for working with students in a gentle, reassuring way to ensure a safe ride, often traveling 90 minutes each way. Haynes was nominated by Maureen Ryan, Director of Transportation for the New Paltz Central School District, and received an Arthur Mulligan Award and gift certificate to Savona’s Trattoria.
Ross has 13 years of experience driving for the Kingston City School District. He received glowing letters of recommendation and support from fellow staff at the J. Watson Bailey Middle School. Ross was nominated by Denise Wiley of Ethan Allen Transportation and received an honorable mention for his outstanding bus driving performance.
Operation Safe Stop is a cooperative project in New York State that seeks to promote school bus safety through education and enforcement efforts. During Operation Safe Stop, police officers in marked and unmarked patrol units monitor select bus routes that have a history of illegal passing complaints, and issue tickets to drivers who illegally pass school buses when the lights are flashing (which indicates the bus is picking up or discharging students).