Dale Lord recognized for 43 years of service
— Dale Lord, who recently retired after driving a school bus for Caroline County Public Schools for 43 years, was recognized by the Caroline County commissioners at their meeting Tuesday, July 24.
“It’s been a great career,” Lord said. “Unless you’ve done it, you have no clue.”
Lord said she enjoyed the challenges, from driving the bus through snow to figuring out how to relate to the students.
“Some kids, you needed to find what made them tick,” Lord said.
Milton Nagel, assistant superintendent for administrative services, said in addition to being an exceptional driver, Lord was an advocate for all of the county’s bus drivers.
In the early 1990s, Nagel said, the IRS audited the school system, focusing on the school bus drivers’ contracts. After the audit determined the drivers should be treated as employees, rather than individual contractors, the drivers formed a single LLC.
Lord was the original manager of the LLC, Nagel said, and did all the negotiating for its first contract with the Caroline County Board of Education.
“It was a tough time, as we had to create a new relationship with the drivers,” Nagel said. “But she crunched the numbers as well as anyone I ever sat across the table from.”
Nagel said Lord’s work cemented the foundation upon which the drivers’ contracts are still based today.
“The drivers all know what her efforts meant for them today,” Nagel said, which is why she got a standing ovation when she was recognized at the gathering for bus drivers held every year after the last day of school.
Superintendent Dr. Patricia Saelens called Lord “just amazing.”
“She was the first and last face kids saw every day, and that makes a difference,” Saelens said. “We are very appreciative of her ser vice.”
Commission President Larry Porter thanked Lord for her years of hard work.
“You did everything you had to do to keep those kids safe, and advocated for all the bus drivers in the system,” Porter said.
Recently retired Caroline County bus driver Dale Lord, second from right, was recognized at the Caroline County commissioners’ meeting Tuesday, July 24. Also pictured, left to right, are Commissioner Dan Franklin, President Larry Porter and Vice President Wilbur Levengood.