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Face of the Week: Joe Jeppi, BCPS Office of Transportation

Team BCPS is made up of thousands of accomplished and interesting students, employees, and community supporters. “Face of the Week” introduces you to some of the people who make BCPS such an amazing mosaic of talent, caring, and commitment.
06/18/2018

Face of the Week

Kindergarten can be a tough time for a kid. There’s the anxiety of going to school for the first time, making new friends, bonding with new teachers, and for lots of kids, riding a big school bus.

Kelly Kuehn, a Towson mother of five BCPS students, noticed her youngest daughter, Tessa, struggling with this anxiety as she began the year. Getting Tessa to school in the morning was a challenge.

Meet Mr. Joe, as in school bus driver Joe Jeppi. Since joining BCPS five years ago, after retiring from a career with Giant Food, he has given daily rides to students of Dumbarton Middle, Towson High, Riderwood Elementary, and Tessa’s school, West Towson Elementary. As Kuehn would walk an apprehensive Tessa up to her school bus, she could tell Mr. Joe was instantly in tune with her struggles and would spring into action.

“Every morning since day one, he has greeted her with a “Hello, Beautiful. Where are we going today?” Kuehn said. She mentioned how Mr. Joe would distract Tessa with conversations of pretend destinations he could drive her to, whether they were down the street or across the planet.

“On the days when she is struggling, he always seems to pick up on it, and they drive away to ‘Disney World’ or to ‘New York to see Mema and Pop Pop,’” Kuehn said.

Mr. Joe says that he did indeed notice young Tessa was an anxious bus rider. “Anything that popped up, I’d use it. I ad-lib. That’s what I do. I do that for any of them.”

He’s enjoyed watching the change she’s made and proudly displays the artwork she makes for him on his bus. Still, he said he works hard at having a positive impact on all of his riders. “Whatever the situation is, I just go with it,” Mr. Joe said, whether it’s turning up a student’s favorite song on the radio, asking them about vacation plans, or listening to them talk about their favorite toys.

Mr. Joe is proud to be a BCPS bus driver, and is quick to point out that he’s just one of many who are out there giving their all to an often-difficult job, a job that he didn’t initially know if he could do.

“When I first started, I didn’t think I was going to make it – finding where places are, kids screaming, a big vehicle driving, traffic cutting you off. I thought ‘Wow, how am I ever going to do this job?” Fortunately, those feelings didn’t last long. “I came around,” he said. “As I got to know the people, I got the full picture and developed a love for it. I really wanted to do a good job.”

Experiences like he had this year with young Tessa leave him more assured than ever with his process, and leave him equally excited about more years of driving students.

“You just have to know what works and what doesn’t. You try a few things and see what the result is. When you see success, you know how to help others in the future,” he said. “Every day is a new experience. Every year is a new experience.”

Kuehn hopes those experiences continue for many years to come, as she considers herself one of Mr. Joe’s biggest fans.

“He not only provides safe and efficient school transportation, but absolutely fosters a positive social interaction, allowing our daughter to start her day heading off to school on the right foot, which allows her to be a successful learner. I can’t ask for more than that.”

Written by Jeff Flynn, Media Specialist and Good News Ambassador, Stemmers Run Middle School

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Team BCPS Newsletter
Baltimore County Public Schools
6901 Charles Street
Towson, Maryland 21204
443-809-4554

Report Fraud, Waste, or Abuse

Darryl L. Williams, Ed.D.
Superintendent

E-mail Dr. Williams

Follow @BCPS_Sup

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©2020 Baltimore County Public Schools. All rights reserved.