#MNPSVoices: Sherry Mabry, Coordinator of Safety and Training

image001 Sherry Mabry, a 23-year veteran of Metro Nashville Public Schools’ transportation department, believes something as simple as a smile can brighten a child’s day.

“A bus driver can sometimes be the first smile a child sees and the last smile in some child’s day,” she said. “It helps to start their learning day out on a positive note."

And Mabry has been delivering smiles to children since joining Metro Schools in 1995 as a bus driver and has worked her way up through the department. She now serves as coordinator of safety and training providing support to Metro Schools’ large fleet of bus drivers.

Mabry was first drawn to a career as a bus driver because of her love of children. “Our family would have get-togethers and I was usually on the floor playing with the children,” Mabry said. “My mother-in-law would say, ‘You should drive a school bus,’ and I thought, ‘Hey I’ll give it a try.’ [It’s the] Best job ever!”

In addition to giving her the opportunity to interact with children, being a bus driver also provided Mabry with a flexible schedule as a working mother.

“I started when my son went to Kindergarten,” Mabry said. “It was perfect. When schools were closed, I was home with him and could take field trips with him in the middle of the day.”

Mabry’s current role gives her less face time with students, but she still enjoys having the opportunity to meet different people. As coordinator of safety and training, Mabry is responsible for hiring drivers, helping them pass their driving tests and certifications and teaching classes to new and current drivers.

Mabry has had a long and successful career with Metro Schools serving as a driver, driver training specialist and now as a safety and training coordinator, but one position stands out as the most important to her.

“I would say a defining moment in my career would be when I became a Third Party Tester through Metro Schools for the Department of Safety and Homeland Security,” Mabry said. “I enjoy being able to help people get their CDL [Commercial Driver’s License] to drive a school bus.”

Although Mabry has held various positions throughout her career with Metro Schools’ transportation department, she said one thing remains the same – she loves her job.

“There have been moments I have told my husband, ‘I can’t believe they pay me to do this job, I would do it for free,’” she said.