California Educator

March 2012

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FEATURE Selene Pasion waits to board school bus in Redlands. The future of the bus goes round and round AS A STUDENT growing up in Potter Valley, Paul Monlux rode a bus to school every day. He always looked forward to talking about the day's events with his friend, Earl Preffer, the bus driver. "We called him Cooter," he recalls. "He was like a rock star to kids. He was one of those teddy bear kind of guys who seems a little rough around the edges, but is all about safety and kids." Monlux grew up, went to college in Los Angeles and served in the Navy. Eventually he moved back to Pot- ter Valley. A year ago, he was hired as a bus driver Story by Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Photos by Scott Buschman for the Potter Valley Community Unified School District. Training him for the job was none other than Cooter, who then promptly retired. "Just like Cooter, I always smile, say good morning and tell the kids to have a nice day when I pick them up," says Monlux, a member of Potter Valley Classified Employees Association (PVCEA). "A lot of these kids don't have stabil- ity in their homes. But one solid thing they do know is that the bus driver is going to be there for them every morning, smiling and saying hello." For a while it seemed uncertain whether the bus driver In Potter Valley, many of the district's 239 students travel more 22 California Educator / March 2012

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