Nordonia school bus driver writes what he knows

JEFF SAUNDERS
Reporter
Albin Weiler, a Nordonia Hills City Schools bus driver for more than 15 years, has written a book called 'Driven to Learn' that details his experiences and what he has learned in his profession.

NORDONIA HILLS — Parents who wonder about the experience their children are having when they ride the school bus in the morning or afternoon now have a local resource to explain it to them.

Albin Weiler, who has driven a bus for the Nordonia Hills City School District for more than 15 years, has put his experiences and knowledge into a 175-page book titled “Driven to Learn” that he began self-publishing last year.

“I take the opportunity to detail my experiences and also my fellow drivers and it includes public transportation lessons, tips, and things like that,” said Weiler. “It outlines the significant responsibilities drivers handle daily.”

The Brecksville resident began driving school buses in 2001 in Georgia, after previously driving children and seniors in parks and recreation buses. He began working for the Nordonia schools when he moved back to Ohio in 2004 — he had previously lived in Stow for 28 years.

Known as “Mr. W” to his passengers, he said he switched to driving school buses because he feels that getting children safely to school was a way he could be a part of their education.

“I wanted to work with children a little bit more,” he said. “I enjoy driving, but I also enjoy having them to be on the bus as well. So I enjoy doing that and I just kind of enjoy being with my fellow drivers. We’re concerned about getting children to school so it was a matter of I’d like to feel like I’m sharing in what I like to call the fabric of education.”

Weiler added, “I’m usually the first adult educational person that receives the children in the morning and I’m usually the one who says goodbye to them and have a great day when they leave. So it’s an opportunity also to be a part of their lives.”

Weiler and his book were featured in an article in trade publication School Transportation News this past April, a year after the book came out.

“It was actually published on my birthday in April [2019] when I turned 74,” he said.

Weiler said the book is in eight chapters with subheads for easy reading. Topics include how the buses are checked for safety before starting out, safe driving practices, training students in bus safety and managing students — all the things that go into “making student safety a top priority,” he said.

“My objective is to try and get these books into the hands of the parents because I think it will be good for them to know the responsibilities of being a school bus driver and some of the challenges that face school bus drivers and how we need the parents’ help by being able to have the children know the bus rules,” said Weiler. “I’ve even had some of the children read the book. It’s interesting that they were interested as well. That was nice to know.”

But also included in the book are anecdotes, stories about his experiences with students on his bus.

“What I do on occasion with students is I get their interest by asking them questions,” he said.

So one day, he asked if any of the students wanted to be school bus drivers.

“And of course, as you can imagine, they’re saying to me, ‘We don’t want to be school bus drivers,’ and I said, ‘You know, that really hurts. I mean, I thought everybody wants to be a school bus driver, taking kids to school, you know, enjoying driving,” said Weiler.

But he said the students insisted they did not want to be school bus drivers, “So I said, ‘OK, I guess. You don’t know what you’re missing.’”

Weiler said they arrived at school and he stopped the last student to get off, a fifth-grade girl, and asked her, “‘You probably want to be a school bus driver, right?’ and she said, ‘Nope, Mr. W, I don’t want to be a school bus driver.’”

Weiler said he then asked her why.

“She said, ‘Because I don’t want to go home with a headache,’” said Weiler. “Well, words of wisdom from children.”

Weiler said he is not out to make money from the book, but those interested in purchasing a copy can email him at JourneySchoolBusDriver@gmail.com. Weiler said he donates the cost of the book to two charities important to him, UNICEF and Catholic Relief Services.

The book can also be found in the school libraries, as well as at the Nordonia Hills and Brecksville branch public libraries, said Weiler.

He stresses that he really loves his job and the time he gets to spend with students.

“I get opportunities all the time to share with them so it makes it a lot of fun and that’s why I do it and that’s why I don’t drive packages,” he said.

Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at jsaunders@recordpub.com or @JeffSaunders_RP.