Mayor Bev Parnham in her school district role as transportation department administrative assistant presents Joanne Ranger with the School Bus Driver of the Year Award from the Association of School Transportation Services of British Columbia. Rich Kolich

Mayor Bev Parnham in her school district role as transportation department administrative assistant presents Joanne Ranger with the School Bus Driver of the Year Award from the Association of School Transportation Services of British Columbia. Rich Kolich

Provincial award for North Island bus driver Joanne Ranger

Port Hardy's Joanne Ranger has been named School Bus Driver of the Year by the Association of School Transportation Services of British Columbia.

Joanne Ranger has been named School Bus Driver of the Year by the Association of School Transportation Services of British Columbia.

Ranger, who will retire this year, delivered 320,000 students 493,000 kilometres during her 32-year career without an accident.

Mayor Bev Parnham, who is also the administrative assistant at the school district’s transportation centre, presented Ranger with a commemorative plaque and spoke on behalf of Randy Ball, the school district’s transportation manager.

Ball’s letter said when he became transportation supervisor in 1992, Ranger was an invaluable resource.

“She knew every student and every student’s parents on all four buses,” said Ball.

Now, some 19 years later Ranger is transporting the grandchildren of some of the children she transported early in her career.

In his letter Ball jokes, “It’s quite an effective discipline tool when you tell the little ones, I know your parents and your grandparents.”

Ball goes on to say that Ranger has been a driver trainer for more than 18 years. Many of today’s school bus drivers are her former students.

Temporary School District 85 Chair Jeff Field said, “I can recall, back a few years it was a family tradition when you and your mom were both driving. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank you for your years of service to this school district and to the children of this school district. Well done.”

“This is past my wildest dreams, really,” said Ranger. “I’m not going to miss the politics of it (driving), but I’m sure going to miss the kids. But, I’ll still be around. I’ll still see them in the grocery store.”

Also on hand to take part in the presentation was Rick Kolich, the school district’s transporation department working foreman.