Vernoica Tenorio, a school bus driver for Santa Fe Indian School in New Mexico, is expecting to hit her 30th accident-free year behind the wheel in September.
“I think I’m going to force my supervisor to get this,” she continued. She also noted it’s time for electric school buses to join the other electric cars and trucks driving around Santa Fe. She added that the district currently has diesel and CNG buses.
Tenorio has been driving a school bus since 1992. She said she has children of her own, and she and her family live on a reservation Pueblo. At the time, she said she was having to take her kids to school before work. She said it made sense to become a school bus driver herself.
She thought that if she could become a driver, she could help all the kids on the reservation be transported to school. “I heard that they were hiring, so I went to Santa Fe, to the Indian School,” she said, adding that her first vehicle was a 10-passenger van, which New Mexico at the time required a CDL for.
Tenorio received her CDL training at Western New Mexico University.
While speaking with Tenorio during the Ride and Drive, she pointed out colleagues from neighboring districts. One man in particular, Vallen Aguilar a school bus driver for Santo Domingo School, was once a student on Tenorio’s bus route.
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Tenoria and her husband have seven children, four boys and three girls. She added her husband died 12 years ago, and even though she retired for about a week when he got sick, he encouraged her to go back to work. She has been driving since. She shared she has no current plans to retire because of the shortage of school bus drivers nationwide.
This entire time, Tenorio has been accident-free, and she shared that she loves every part of her job. “I love driving,” she concluded.