Rudy Rhodes of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District was named 2014 School Bus Driver of the Year by the Missouri Association for Pupil Transportation.
An R-7 employee since 2009, Rhodes will be recognized by the association at the group’s annual state conference, scheduled for July 9 in Springfield.
Rhodes was nominated by co-worker Sandi Larsen based on his community-service activities, including initiation of the Book Buddies program at Prairie View Elementary School.
After working with the school’s principal to develop the program, Rhodes approached his fellow bus drivers about volunteering their time to assist students with reading skills. Along with four other drivers, Rhodes kicked off the Book Buddies program during fall 2012.
In addition to his work with Prairie View Book Buddies, Rhodes volunteers to work with the R-7 School District Transportation Department during Lee’s Summit’s annual Oktoberfest. At this community event, he talks to children and citizens about school bus safety and is best known as the voice of Buster the Bus, a motorized talking model school bus.
Rhodes received the Lee’s Summit Community of Character Award in January and the Lee’s Summit R-7 Learning for Life Award in February. He serves as driver for three R-7 schools, including Lee’s Summit High School, Prairie View Elementary and Woodland Elementary.
He joined the R-7 Transportation Department after retiring from a 28-year career with the United Parcel Service where he served as operations manager.