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Bus driver savors a Golden moment

January 31, 2007|by JANET HEIM

Editor's note - There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like...

Trish Taddei



Age - 38.

Occupation - School bus driver for Washington County Public Schools.

Hometown - Queens, N.Y. Now lives in Hagerstown.

Where would you see Taddei? - When school is in session, Trish Taddei (pronounced Taddy) is behind the wheel of Bus No. 377. She has driven the route, which includes Maugansville Elementary School, Salem Avenue Elementary School and Western Heights Middle School, for 6 1/2 years.

Taddei was recently recognized with the Golden Apple Award by the Washington County Board of Education after the board received a letter of praise about her driving.

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"It's very sweet. I feel funny talking about myself," said Taddei, who added she's more comfortable talking about her kids.

Joyce and Paul Kirsch, whose daughter Brynne rides Bus No. 377, wrote that Taddei "shows a considerate, caring attitude while doing a superb job of 'managing' the students. It is obvious ... that she truly cares for their personal safety."

Taddei said she finds most drivers courteous here, compared to where she grew up in New York. She said she was raised about five minutes from LaGuardia Airport, not far from where her husband, Andrew Taddei, grew up.

The couple has been married 18 years and have two daughters, Heather, 17, who goes to South Hagerstown High School, and Casey, 13, a student at E. Russell Hicks Middle School. Taddei's mother moved here after falling in the love with the area after one of her girlfriends moved here.

Taddei said it took her seven years to convince her husband to move here. When the family moved to Hagerstown 12 years ago, Taddei was a stay-at-home mom, after having worked for Cotton Inc. in Manhattan.

She was looking for a part-time job when her mother suggested she apply to become a school bus driver.

It took Taddei about two months to go through the drivers' training - in the classroom and on the road - provided through Washington County Public Schools and earning her commercial driver's license, which all county school bus drivers must have. She began as a substitute driver in March 2000.

Taddei eventually got her own route and said the first year was a challenge as she learned the route and the students. She has learned to set the expectations on the first day of school, reminding her riders of safety rules.

Simple techniques like giving students warnings, then making them sit up in the front of the bus keep behavior in check on Taddei's bus. She rewards good behavior by letting younger students sit in the back of the bus and said she rarely has problems.

Now she loves the job, especially the flexibility it allows her. Being off with her own children on school holidays and in the summer is important to Taddei, who said she likes to spend time with her kids.

"The hours are terrific. They're willing to work with you, with your children," said Taddei, whose children would ride on her bus when necessary, as long as they were enrolled in Washington County Public Schools. "My weekends are my time with my family. It's just the whole thing. I feel blessed."

She said she works a little more than five hours a day. Between the morning and afternoon runs, Taddei goes home, cleans and cooks dinner.

Hobbies - Taddei said she likes to hang out with her family, often playing board games or pool. She enjoys cooking, especially when the whole family is involved. Going for walks and having friends over round out Taddei's list of hobbies.

What does Taddei like best about Washington County? - "I absolutely love it here - the mountains, it's clean. People in cars - believe it or not, they really are courteous here. Very few people cut me off," Taddei said.




If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, contact Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024, or send e-mail to janeth@herald-mail.com.

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