Penny Shefland always knew she wanted to be a bus driver, despite her husband’s disbelief. When they first met, she mentioned, “One of these days, I am going to be driving a school bus.” He simply laughed.
Shefland and her husband are celebrating two milestones this school year. He is retiring from his position at Rainbow Foods and she is celebrating her 25th year driving buses with the South Washington County Schools/District 833. “I wanted to be able to be off when my children were off. But I have always thought that I have wanted to be a bus driver,” Shefland says. “I just love kids and I love driving; that helps.”
Shefland’s daily route includes stops at eight schools in the district including Lake and Woodbury Middle Schools, and Saint Ambrose, Liberty Ridge and Middleton Elementary and Hillside Elementary schools in Woodbury. She notes that she loves interacting with kids of all ages. Although she has many favorite moments, she enjoys leaving a lasting impression on her passengers. Many past kindergarten riders have invited her to high school graduations throughout the years. These are sentiments she cherishes.
Similar to the thoughts of many Minnesota drivers, Shefland cites icy road conditions as the most difficult part of her job. Her tight pickup and drop off schedule heightens the challenge.
“You just can’t let that get to you; you have to think safety and kids,” she says. “Even if I am late, you have to focus on that.”
It appears that Shefland proved her husband wrong. “I guess I can say I am doing my dream job, right?” she laughs.