Teaching the Trainers

All-Star driver trainers Trainers Betty Jean Kozikowski (r) from the Plymouth terminal and trainer-in-training Robin Azzara from Waterbury lot.

WATERBURY – When it comes to ensuring that school bus drivers know how to do their jobs and how to safely navigate the roads they drive every day, no one plays a greater role than the trainers who take beginning drivers and teach them the ropes of the business.

At All-Star Transportation, trainers must undergo extensive training before they are allowed to begin teaching new drivers. Those seeking to become trainers are typically experienced school bus drivers who must pass an interview process conducted by All-Star’s safety staff before becoming a trainer-in-training. They also must have no accidents on their records, be available to work year-round and be willing to travel to any of All-Star’s 18 locations.

All-Star school bus trainers.
Trainer Sara Lozier (l) from Thomaston and trainer-in-training Tracy Manville from the Newtown terminal.

“We are always adding to our Safety Department,” says Brenda Bass, All-Star’s director of training. “We like to have two to three trainers per yard.”

Currently, All-Star has a total of more than 40 trainers, with more on the way. The newest group of trainers – two from Newtown and one from Waterbury – began their training this week in Waterbury. During their training they work with an experienced trainer, shadowing the experienced trainer to learn how to teach new drivers.

School bus mirror training
Conducting school bus mirror training.

“They start with new drivers so that they can learn all aspects of teaching so that when they return to their yards they are better prepared,” says Bass.

“It takes a while, there’s a lot to new-driver training,” she adds. “It’s a very through process at All-Star. We have very high safety standards.”