by Amy Haggerty
Having great people skills is one important aspect of being a school bus driver, but drivers must also be patient, dependable and responsible. They are tasked with ensuring each child is picked up and dropped off at school and returned home safely every day. Leslie Reasoner, having worked 19 years for Stockbridge Community Schools, epitomizes what it means to excel at the job.
Tracey Wooden, Transportation Director, put it succinctly when she said Reasoner “really cares about kids.”
Controlling an oversized vehicle effervescing with rambunctious youth is hardly an easy task, yet Reasoner makes the job look easy. She considers her student riders her kids and is in their corner, guiding and helping them. Reasoner once said “country music is safe to play,” so now she allows her students to listen to country music on her daily route. She takes pride in and loves her job, keeping her bus clean, neat and tidy, and she is popular among the bus driver community.
A homegrown lady, Leslie Fletcher graduated from Stockbridge High School in 1986 and earned her associate degree in Business Management and computers from Cleary College. After she married John Reasoner in 1991 and they had two children, she learned Stockbridge Community Schools needed bus drivers. Since her children would attend school in the district, she submitted her application.
Her greatest accomplishments in life? Her two children, she said. Lyle is 26, and daughter Rheagan, 24. She and husband John recently became grandparents and “could not be more excited.”
Reasoner likes working for Stockbridge Schools because “in my department we are like a family.” She feels the team works hard to ensure the Transportation Department runs at top performance.
When asked what she would encourage of others, Reasoner suggested people do something nice for someone today. “It can be easy like holding a door, picking up a pencil, or just smiling,” she said. “These little things can make a big difference in someone’s life.”
Her advice to Stockbridge students? “Always remember that we are human and have feelings,” she said. “We all handle things in different ways, and we never know what goes on in a person’s home. Don’t judge the cover before you get to know what is inside.”
“Being a bus driver is who I am. It’s just not a job!” Reasoner grinned. “My students know that the door is always open if they need to be heard or help with a situation.”