RFamily: Joyce "Betty Lou" Brown
Her name is Joyce Brown, but to her friends and RFamily, she’s Betty Lou...and she drives Bus 78 with her heart.
Her routes take her through Church Hill, as she safely transports students to and from George Mason Elementary, Martin Luther King Jr. Middle, and Armstrong High. She also drives the City Hall shuttle bus to and from Richmond Alternative School for downtown employees.
“I try to learn my kids, and be able to read them,” Brown said. “I don’t give many write-ups. I try to get with the parents...Sending them to the principal is only a last resort.”
Brown’s secret lies in building positive relationships. Between knowing so many people in her community, and having many of her kids ride her bus from kindergarten through 12th grade, she is truly a staple in a neighborhood that benefits from her consistent, positive presence.
“She’s very compassionate for all of her students,” said Adell Green, Brown's supervisor. She added that her team spirit, her leadership skills and her attendance set her apart. Green also said Brown does a great job of communicating with the principals of the schools she serves.
“Wherever I can jump in, I do,” Brown said. “I just see where I can be helpful and help.”
She is excited to see all of the new programs for students these days through the school and the community, and hopes that trend will continue. Brown has even helped kids take advantage of community programming opportunities by helping them get there on her own time.
“Some mornings, when I think about not wanting to go to work, I think about the kids being late to school...maybe missing breakfast,” she said. “That’s my motivation.”
She started driving for RPS in 1972, and then left to drive for the City of Richmond and GRTC. She came back to RPS in 2003, and has been going strong ever since.
“I’m retirement age, but I’m not ready to retire,” she said. “My job is good, and I love the kids. Even the high school kids, I love them, too.”
When she isn’t driving Bus 78, Brown enjoys spending time with her family, bowling, skating, and dancing, and she attends church at the Temple of Judah on Venable Street.
At RPS, our strength is RFamily, and we thank you, Betty Lou, for driving your bus with love and being a positive daily influence on so many children.