Ohio County Schools bus driver Renee Ellis

Renee Ellis decided she wanted to become a school bus driver when she realized how much she enjoyed being around the “little ones.”

She was traveling on Ohio County Schools buses as an LPN/Aide, and she just loved seeing how excited elementary school students were on the way to and from school in the mornings and afternoons. Ellis decided to get her CDL, and she became a full-time driver in 2017.

“I fell in love with being on the bus,” she said. “I love all the kids, but the little ones made me love it more. I took the training to get my CDL through Ohio County Schools, and I still love it every day.”

Ellis arrives at the Ohio County Schools Operations center each school day before 6 a.m. to complete her pre-trip bus inspection. She gets behind the wheel and hits the road for her first morning run at 6:10 a.m., and she is dropping students off at Wheeling Park High School at 7:05. From there, she picks up elementary and middle school students before getting back to the bus garage at 9:10 a.m. Ellis’ afternoon schedule begins at 2:15 p.m., and it ends at 4:45 p.m.

Ellis said she enjoys her schedule because of the break it provides her in the middle of the day. She said she also enjoys being a bus driver for Ohio County Schools, and she commended the OCS transportation staff.

“If there is a need, the bus drivers are willing to help each other,” Ellis said. “If someone is sick, someone will help out to cover it. Everyone comes together. If there are traffic issues, they are helpful, and they will check on each other. It’s a close-knit group.”

Ellis is a 2002 graduate of Wheeling Park High School. Her son, Owen Ellis, is a sophomore at Wheeling Park High School, and her daughter, Olivia Ellis, is an eighth-grade student at Warwood School. Ellis said she appreciates Ohio County Schools, and she enjoys being a bus driver so much that she encouraged her father to become one, too.

“My father is Mike Auten, and he was hired as a full-time bus driver in October,” Ellis said. “I see him every morning and afternoon, and it is so nice. He loves it (being a bus driver) too!

“I really love all my kids,” she added. “They make the job. They are so excited, and they make it great to come to school.”