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Director keeps kids safe, buses on time
Faces and Places
facesplaces Mickey Bayens 9-2-09
As transportation director for the Liberty County School System, Mickey Bayens stands in front of a line of buses. - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge

Name:  Mickey Bayens

Hometown:  St. Louis, Mo.

Family:  “My wife Kerry and I have three children. Joanna is 13, ViVi is 9 and Buck is 7. We live in Richmond Hill.”

Position:  Liberty County Schools Transportation Director

Salary:  Roughly $75,000 annually. (His day usually begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m.)

What brought you to Liberty County? “Liberty County gave me the first opportunity to get into an administrative position. That particular position was an assistant principal at Bradwell Institute. I was four years at Bradwell. Before that, I taught history and coached for nine years at Richmond Hill High School. I was the assistant football coach and head baseball coach at RHHS.
“I’m beginning my fourth year as director of transportation.”

How did you get into education? “I wanted to make that difference. Every teacher can recall that one teacher who made a difference for them. I loved coaching and I wanted to share my knowledge of sports and pass that interest on to students.”

What does your job entail? “With day-to-day operations we run roughly 140 regular and special needs routes each day. We have 170 buses in the fleet; we need spares.
“The job (responsibilities) encompasses from drivers to bus aides to mechanics to our front office staff. I supervise 175 employees. We also have a staffer who coordinates school field trips.
"Aside from Chatham and Bulloch counties, Liberty County is the largest (school system) transportation department. We believe we have the best (transportation) facility in Southeast Georgia. Here at our Airport Road location, we have a large meeting room that is used for state and school system meetings, and for classes and training. It’s always being used. We have another transportation center on Highway 84, near Liberty County High School.”

You recently had to ride the bus and monitor a bus stop where a shooting had taken place. How did that go? “It went fine. But first, you must understand (on the day of the shooting) that the kids were off the bus and walking home and the bus had pulled away before that happened. If the driver had seen that (someone threatening), the students would have stayed on the bus and the driver would have called police. They (law enforcement) have good response time to any school-related issue.”

What’s your favorite part of the job?
“I’ve been able to work with the schools making sure that all our kids are safe. And, we make sure they’re safe getting to and from school in a timely manner. The day here really begins at 6 a.m. in the morning. And we have every bus off the road roughly at 5 p.m.”

What’s your least favorite part of the job?
“The worst part of the job is when we have to deal with a bus accident. We do the best we can to resolve the issue.”

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