Jasmine Dirkes has always been passionate about supporting the education process. She once worked as a substitute teacher and is now the operations supervisor at our location in Anchorage, Alaska. “I absolutely love working with kids,” shares Jasmine. She is committed to going the extra mile to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride to and from school while doing it with a smile on her face.
Putting People First
Because she manages one of our smaller First Student locations, Jasmine knows how to do it all. In addition to overseeing day-to-day operations, she is also responsible for payroll, routing and training. Jasmine joined First Student in 2013 as a driver and recognizes the vital role they play in a child’s education. “I think it is important for the community to know that we uphold strict safety policies to ensure our riders are safe,” says Jasmine. “We set the highest standards because we care about and are committed to our customers and communities.” Jasmine was promoted to her current position last year. She has a full understanding of the business and the importance of putting people first.
Never Give Up
Jasmine’s location is unique in many ways. Because Alaska is a popular tourist destination, her team manages a lot of charter requests. “Wherever the road goes, we go,” shares Jasmine. The location also doesn’t serve a school district. The team provides transportation for a Head Start learning center with locations in Anchorage, Chugiak, Wasilla, Big Lake and Sutton. The Head Start program helps preschoolers develop the skills they need to be successful in school. Jasmine’s team transports some of our youngest passengers. “I always tell my drivers to remember to smile and be friendly, even when it’s hard, because you are the first and last face your riders see when coming and going each day,” says Jasmine. “Do your best, never give up and try your hardest to make a positive impact on your students, families and the customer, so they remember you.” Jasmine recognizes a child’s experience on our buses directly impacts their school day.
Making a Difference
It is also not usual to still find Jasmine behind the wheel of a bus. She has made a point to drive every single one of the location’s 13 learning center routes. Jasmine uses the experience to her advantage to create the safest and most efficient routes possible. When she’s on a route, Jasmine sings with the students as her monitor is assisting the children off and on the bus at each stop. “I love to make a difference and bring happiness into their lives,” says Jasmine. She even knows each of the approximately 600 children and their parents by name.
Jasmine also volunteers at the learning center the location serves. During her first year as a bus driver, her child was enrolled there. Jasmine would drive her route and help out at the center until it was time for her afternoon run. Her children are now in elementary school, but she still volunteers, even on her lunch break. Jasmine has painted murals at the center, created flyers to promote events, and even decorated her own bus to help with enrollment. She was recently named “Bus Driver of the Year” by the learning center and also the Alaska Head Start Association. “I am very excited about receiving this recognition,” shares Jasmine. “There is nothing better than knowing my customer appreciates the hard work and dedication that I have for both First Student and the children I serve.” When it comes to providing the best start and finish to the school day, Jasmine truly takes it to heart.