Spring Branch ISD Featured News

James Miner: Keeping the wheels turning in Spring Branch Independent School District



For the past four and a half years, James Miner has kept the wheels turning on school buses throughout Spring Branch Independent School District (SBISD), transporting kids to and from Valley Oaks Elementary, Spring Branch Middle School and Cornerstone Academy each day.

It's a role he's embraced and one he's grown to love.

As James maneuvers the bus through traffic, his eyes flicker between the road and the lively chatter of the students he sees in the rearview mirror. Their energy is contagious, their excitement palpable and James thrives on the interactions.

"I find them eager to socialize and listen (kind of), which makes the job rewarding and fun," James said.

His experience working in SBISD has opened his eyes to the profound impact that every member of the school community, from teachers to cafeteria workers to bus drivers like himself, has on shaping the lives of students.

"From the classroom to the cafeteria, from the bus stop to the principal, each encounter is an opportunity to make a difference in a student's life," said James.

Shifting gears

Transitioning from the corporate branding and strategic marketing world to education was a significant shift for James. After four decades immersed in corporate and client strategy meetings, he embraced the simplicity of transporting children to and from school each day.

"It's definitely been quite a change, but I have enjoyed it so much," said James, reflecting on the stark contrasts from corporate discussions to transporting kids to and from school daily. "In the office, everything was about business and bottom lines. But now, driving the kids around, I am immersed in their laughter and excitement."

All in the family

James' connection to SBISD extends beyond his role as a bus driver. His wife spent 23 years within the district as a school nurse and has recently retired.

When James was looking to leave the 9 to 5 corporate environment, it was his wife who encouraged him to apply for a job in the district, not only because of the flexibility it offers with the summers and holidays off but, most importantly, because of the supportive group of colleagues and structure it provided.

"Having a clear framework and collaborative team has been excellent," said James. "Bouncing ideas and thoughts off my team members has been refreshing. Working with other like-minded folks who care about the safety and well-being of our students is what I needed." 

A colorful background

James' job as a bus driver is just one more interesting item to add to his already eclectic resume.

Before pursuing a career in strategic branding, James attended Long Beach State University and embraced the carefree lifestyle as a surfer for several years afterward.

From there, he ventured overseas to England, where he worked in graphic design and printing industries for nearly four years.

"I became enamored with England's rich history and vibrant culture – so much so that I lived there twice," said James.

Balancing his passions

Even though James has transitioned from the corporate world to the daily routine of driving a school bus, he still has a passion for branding and graphic design, with several clients in the restaurant industry.

"I've wanted to keep my finger in it, and the bus driving job allows me the flexibility to do that," he said.

Another fun fact about James is that he is an avid volleyball player who thrives in competitive settings, including the national stage.

"Playing volleyball is definitely a source of joy for me," said James.

A new chapter begins

As the end of the school year approaches, James looks toward retirement, eager to start a new chapter in the Northwest with his wife as they relocate to be closer to their sons.

But there is no way James will sit idle in retirement. At the top of his list is finding a school district in his new hometown that will hire him as a bus driver.

As James prepares to bid farewell to SBISD, his commitment to ensuring the safe transport of students will continue through the last day of school when he drops kids off for the last time.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed working in SBISD as a bus driver and can't imagine not doing it. I have found it incredibly fulfilling, and I'm grateful for the opportunity," he said.

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