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Los Angeles Unified bus driver is named CHP’s ‘driver of the year’

School bus drivers are rarely recognized for the essential role they provide, but on Tuesday, May 9, one superstar bus driver who works for the Los Angeles Unified School District was given the spotlight she deserved.

Tamara Conley was named the California Highway Patrol’s 2022 Southern Region School Bus Driver of the Year for her  exemplary 36 years of service, and her steadfast commitment to getting students safety to school.

She was recognized at a ceremony in the Sun Valley Bus Yard, where district officials gathered with a crowd of her co-workers who proudly snapped photos of her beaming smile and gold plaque.

“Receiving this award is the greatest thing,” Conley said. “I am in awe and very surprised to receive the Bus Driver of the Year award. It’s an inspiration. … Many people cannot say that they have a job that they actually enjoy. I’m just really appreciative to have the opportunity to work for Los Angeles Unified.”

Los Angeles Unified bus driver Tamara Conley was awarded the 2023 California Highway Patrol (CHP) School Bus Driver of the Year award during a ceremony at the LAUSD Sun Valley Bus Yard in Sun Valley, Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Coworkers take photos as Los Angeles Unified bus driver Tamara Conley is awarded the 2023 California Highway Patrol (CHP) School Bus Driver of the Year award during a ceremony at the LAUSD Sun Valley Bus Yard in Sun Valley, Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

CHP Captain Andrew Poyner presents Los Angeles Unified bus driver Tamara Conley with the 2023 California Highway Patrol (CHP) School Bus Driver of the Year award during a ceremony at the LAUSD Sun Valley Bus Yard in Sun Valley, Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Coworkers take photos as Los Angeles Unified bus driver Tamara Conley is awarded the 2023 California Highway Patrol (CHP) School Bus Driver of the Year award during a ceremony at the LAUSD Sun Valley Bus Yard in Sun Valley, Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Los Angeles Unified bus driver Tamara Conley was awarded the 2023 California Highway Patrol (CHP) School Bus Driver of the Year award during a ceremony at the LAUSD Sun Valley Bus Yard in Sun Valley, Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Los Angeles Unified bus driver Tamara Conley was awarded the 2023 California Highway Patrol (CHP) School Bus Driver of the Year award during a ceremony at the LAUSD Sun Valley Bus Yard in Sun Valley, Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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Conley can boast 30 years of accident-free driving and 15 years of perfect attendance. Above all she’s earned the love and respect of her student riders, her co-workers and district leaders.

Frank Ramos, an LAUSD area supervisor, and Jose Pineda, a driver trainer, nominated Conley for the award and praised her leadership qualities, which they said brought out the best in others. In a shared statement, they said Conley’s positive attitude “projects through her students and gives them the perfect start to their day” and added that “everyone on our team is excited about this outstanding achievement.”

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LAUSD school Board President Jackie Goldberg said, “I’m so happy to see your dedication to transporting our students safely recognized by the CHP. Every day you are trusted with our district’s children, and every day you reward that trust with consistent quality and professionalism. On behalf of the Los Angeles Unified School District, thank you.”

The CHP gives the statewide award annually, based on nominations from school district leaders in California. It recognizes school bus drivers who go above and beyond.

“Every day, school bus drivers safely transport the most precious cargo, our children,” said Kevin Davis, CHP chief of enforcement and planning division. “The California Highway Patrol is proud to recognize Los Angeles Unified school bus driver Tamara Conley for her 36 years of dedication to this wonderful profession.”

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