As a kid, Jephte Mondesir loved watching “The Magic School Bus,” a popular animated children’s television show featuring an eccentric teacher who took her students on educational adventures via a magic bus.
The ex-New Yorker and 10-year Texan loved watching the teacher, known affectionately as Miss Frizzle, transport her science class to new worlds.
He loved it so much, in fact, he knew he wanted to do the same.
“I wanted to operate that bus in real life,” Mondesir said with a laugh. “I just knew that the school bus was an important part of education. In fact, all the real ones truly are.”
A 22-year veteran bus driver, Mondesir now serves as a response team operator for the Houston Independent School District’s Transportation Services department. He is among a select group of drivers who work with department leaders to solve manpower issues and recruit new drivers.
Mondesir said the first thing he looks for are safe and reliable drivers. But the job doesn’t end there. Drivers also must be able to address technical operations issues, make sure routes are running efficiently, clean and disinfect buses, and communicate professionally with students and parents.
“It’s imperative that the drivers we hire are dedicated to safety above all else so every student can continue their education and succeed before and after graduating,” Mondesir said.
Mondesir encouraged interested candidates to apply online at DriveHISD.org or in person at one of several upcoming job fairs. All job fairs are held from 9 a.m. to noon.
Northwest Motor Pool, 6351 Pinemont Drive
• Wednesday, July 14 and 21
• Wednesday, Aug. 4, 11, and 18
Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th St. on Saturday
• Saturday, July 31
Applicants must be at least 18 and have a valid Texas driver’s license and a motor vehicle report with less than six points. Candidates must bring their Social Security card and employment authorization card, if applicable, and be able to communicate in English.
All applicants must be able to pass a background investigation, drug and alcohol screening, and a Department of Transportation physical.
Drivers earn a starting hourly wage of $18 and will receive free CDL training. Other benefits include health, dental and vision insurance, Teacher Retirement System participation, and special trip pay options.