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Tennessee principal becomes certified school bus driver to help out with shortage

Principal Emily Clark of Norman Smith Elementary School
Posted at 1:12 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 13:12:06-05

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — An elementary school principal in Tennessee has taken her dedication to her students to another level.

Principal Emily Clark of Norman Smith Elementary School noticed the bus driver shortage in Clarksville-Montgomery County schools only got worse during the pandemic, so she decided to do something about it.

"After the students stay in the hallway for awhile, you realize, gosh it's sad. You want them to be home," Clark said. "They see me in the hallways and classroom, but they couldn't believe I was behind the bus."

Clark started training in October to become a bus driver. In January, she became certified and did her first official bus route last week.

"Students thought it was special that their principal was driving the bus," Clark said.

She says it gave her an extra opportunity to bond with her students.

"It's relationship building when you drive the bus and take that time to talk to them."

In Montgomery County, more than 20,000 students rely on school buses each day. While being responsible for these students can sound overwhelming, Clark told WTVF the experience, so far, has rewarded her two-fold.

This story was originally published by Seena Sleem at WTVF.