As a dedicated educator, former Superintendent of Grand Haven Area Public Schools Andy Ingall does whatever he can to ensure students are set up to succeed in school. Prior to his retirement on December 31, 2021, that meant earning his Commercial Drivers License (CDL) to help with a districtwide shortage of bus drivers.
Schools across the state and nation have been struggling with a shortage of bus drivers for some time and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made matters worse. The school year in Grand Haven started eight bus drivers short. Add to that shortage, drivers out with illnesses and those who head south for the winter and there are a lot of routes to fill. To help get students to and from school, former Superintendent Ingall, former Deputy Superintendent of Human Services and current Superintendent Scott Grimes, and the entire GHAPS Transportation Department have been filling in when needed.
“I earned my CDL in the winter of 2020 to help on some special education routes and to drive sports teams to their events, “ Andy says. “I didn't feel I was doing anything extraordinary, I was happy to help students safely get where they need to be.”
GHAPS runs about 64 buses per day. Even utilizing every substitute bus driver, there are routinely still a few routes that don’t have a driver.
“I was happy to help out,” Andy says. “It's fun to walk in different shoes and understand what our drivers and families experience. At the end of the day, we are all here for the kids and want what’s best for them.”
Andy says it was very rewarding to be around young people with all of their energy, and a privilege to have the opportunity to make a positive impact on students as they began and ended their school day.
“I felt like I was really doing something and making a difference.” —Rick Blauwkamp, bus driver
“Getting kids outside the classroom positively impacts their learning, gets them engaged and encapsulates all the learning styles.” —Shelly Hammond, Ferry and Voyager principal