Glenburn superintendent volunteers to drive school bus amid bus driver shortage

Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 4:24 PM CST
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GLENBURN, N.D (KMOT) – Long before the school bell rings, the superintendent of the Glenburn Public School has been on the job for several hours.

Larry Derr drives the morning bus route every day. After he parks the bus, he changes hats and manages all the teachers and staff in a school with 250 students. “If I don’t know them all, but I know most of them,” said Derr.

He’s beginning his third year as a superintendent, but he needs to transport kids to school because there’s a shortage of bus drivers. “We had hired somebody, but it didn’t work out so now we’re back to administrators driving again,” said Derr.

Students like his hands-on approach to running the school. “He’s really nice, and he’s caring and he always says, ‘Good morning’ and is super friendly and I feel like I can talk to him if I have a problem with anything,” said Brooklyn Borgen, a Glenburn 11th grader.

Staff members recognize what a valuable resource he is to the school. “I have no idea what our community or school would do without him, because to replace him you would have to have at least five people,” said Linda Llewellyn, an administrative assistant.

One of the people he manages is his wife. Donanne Derr is the school’s 6th grade teacher.

In addition to his day job as superintendent, Larry has been the boys’ basketball coach for the past 12 years. “If it’s a long road trip, we don’t get back till 10:30 - 11:00 o’clock at night and then you’re making sure the uniforms are in the washroom and get them thrown in the washing machine,” said Derr.

And the next day, he does it all over again. “Some days are long. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The bottom line is we’re in it for the kids,” he said.

When he’s not at school and helping parent his two children Larry also volunteers as an EMT with the fire department.