RSU 39 bus driver and custodian wins statewide award
CARIBOU, Maine — The RSU 39 (Caribou and Stockholm) Board of Education presented custodian and bus driver Lance Belanger with a specialized jacket during the board’s Sept. 4 meeting, honoring his recent first place “Above and Beyond Award” from the Maine Association for Pupil Transportation.
Superintendent Tim Doak commended Belanger for his commitment to leadership within RSU 39 schools, which include Teague Park Elementary School, Caribou Middle School and Caribou High School.
“This award is essentially bus driver of the year for the state of Maine,” he said. “This is for his leadership within our school; he’s done some training with PreK programs on bus safety, and also shows leadership outside of school dealing with children and coaching.”
Doak said it was an honor to present Belanger with the jacket, and commended RSU 39 Maintenance and Transportation Director Wayne St. Pierre for initially nominating Belanger.
“Lance really sticks out as one of my top employees,” Belanger said. “No matter what I ask, he always does it, and he’s always there to lend a helping hand. It’s phenomenal what he does with the kids through the rec program, and I thought he would be the perfect candidate to nominate for this award.”
Doak agreed, adding that any time he visits a school where Belanger is working, Belanger is always upbeat and optimistic.
“It always seems like his day is a good day,” Doak said, “when every day could be a really terrible day. And Lance is a true leader in that way. I always preach leadership to every group here; you all need to be leaders in this district. It can’t just be me; it has to be everybody. And this is a great example. Lance is a true leader, and I think we’re very lucky to have an employee like him.”
Belanger also said a few quick words, primarily thanking colleagues who nominated him.
“I’d like to thank Wayne for believing in me,” he said, adding that Caribou High School Principal Travis Barnes, Teague Park Elementary School Principal Cheryl Hallowell and Gary Marquis “all wrote letters of recommendation” supporting him.
School board Chairperson Tanya Sleeper added that RSU 39 is “grateful to have your service, particularly the work you’re doing with young children,” which she described as “fantastic.”
“I’m glad that Caribou once again gets recognized as one of the best in the state,” Doak said.