From Scientist to Bus Driver to Teacher: Ray Trejo reflects on his journey back to EP

From Scientist to Bus Driver to Teacher: Ray Trejo reflects on his journey back to EP

Retirement never suited Ray Trejo. He wanted to get back into teaching, and Eden Prairie was calling him home.

That’s when two back-to-back yellow school busses, with the sign “Now Hiring: School Bus Drivers” appeared at Eden Prairie High School.

“I was dropping off my youngest son at the Eden Lake summer program and noticed the sign on my way home. I thought – I've always wanted to drive a bus!”

Trejo, who holds a PhD in food chemistry and is also bilingual in English and Spanish, has two boys who go to school in Eden Prairie. He thinks his sons have the best teachers he ever encountered.

“I thought, maybe I can be a part of that community as well,” Trejo said. 

Trejo recently started as a 6th grade science teacher at CMS where he instructs in separate English and Spanish science classes. 

Driving busses and making connections

Trejo was provided bus driver training by EP staff where he then studied and took the written exam. He passed his exam and quickly became a stand-by driver.

“One of Ray’s roles is student management, where he helps other drivers with behavior and communication issues,” said Randy Haar, Director of Transportation. “Ray has wonderful student interaction skills. He just gets it working with kids.” Trejo will help new drivers by doing ride-alongs and by offering advice and support to help the drivers acclimate.

When a position for a bilingual science teacher came up at CMS, Trejo’s coworkers were the first to tell him to apply, based on his past experiences and proven skills. 

“That’s what got me thinking about being a teacher again. It would be even more fun teaching kids,” Trejo said.

Haar credits his operations team for their commitment to hiring diverse groups. “Here is an example of where our operations team has directly contributed to lessening the gap between student and teacher demographics,” he said.

Eden Prairie Schools’s strategic plan focuses on Personalized Learning, Achievement Disparities and Community Engagement. The district is committed to having a staff whose racial demographics more equally reflect its student body.

“Although this is a loss for our [transportation] department, it is a great thing for our organization and students.” Haar added.

It can be the little things such as a sign looking for bus drivers that leads to great things!

Transportation Kudos

Trejo has some kind words for the EP bus drivers as he moves into his job at CMS:

“Our bus drivers are some of the finest people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. It’s always amazing to me how thousands of kids are moving efficiently throughout the district. It’s made possible by our bus drivers who are always looking out for the welfare of the kids.”

Did you know Eden Prairie Schools is hiring bus drivers? HR is looking for excellent individuals who enjoy working with children and want part-time work with full-time benefits. Please share this opportunity with your community!