Charles Brown, a veteran school bus operator for over three decades, retired on Dec. 18, which Atlanta Public Schools affectionately established as “Charles Brown Goodwill Day.”
Brown is the son of two Atlanta Public School (APS) administrators and grew up attending the city’s schools. He is known for his service to the local deaf and hard of hearing community.
Brown’s former immediate supervisor, Monica Peterson, spoke of his reputation as a dependable, caring driver who was able to ease the anxiety of many families and students during his time working at the Atlanta Area School of the Deaf. He was praised by students, families and administration for his consistent kind and compassionate service.
John Franklin, executive director APS transportation, told School Transportation News that he nominated Brown for the 2017 APS L.E.A.D.S (Leading, Educating, Advising, Driving and Supporting) Award in the “Students First” category, which he subsequently won. Qualifications for nomination the award include, “demonstration of achievement and a record of stellar performance at work and in the community.”
Franklin added that Brown is not only respected for his work ethic but also for his commitment to service in his personal life.
Peterson recalled that she met Brown 27 years ago. “It wasn’t until years later that I learned he was attending classes with his wife, Suzette to become a foster parent and later on an adoptive parent,” she said.
Brown and his wife are the adopted parents of nine children.
“Mr. Brown just represented the ideal employee who went about his job with professionalism, candor and customer service,” added Franklin. “He was always a joy to run into as he would regale me with stories of his kids and their lives. Just a joyous individual who reflected great credit upon Atlanta Public Schools, the transportation department and himself.”
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Franklin said that Brown’s retirement was honored in a COVID-19 safety compliant manner including a drive-through clap line, a Zoom call with family and co-workers, and a radio salute following his final food delivery run.