Ronald Mathis is a dedicated school bus driver on a service driven mission-service to his students, to his ministry & to our community. He has worked for the Webster School District as a bus driver for over 8 years.
Ronald is a former Marine whose military service allowed him to travel internationally. He’s proud of his service and says that it was “one of his greatest life experiences.” The Marines “took me as a shy kid and built my confidence.” After serving in the marines, Ronald worked at Kodak for over 18 years as a filing specialist in photochemistry until Kodak was bought by another entity and he was laid off.
Luckily, he had his CDL and started working at the East Irondequoit school district as a school bus driver. That was until a good friend was hired as a dispatcher at Webster and told him about job opportunities in the district. Ronald needed the healthcare benefits that Webster offered. He applied and got the job.
Ronald “loves driving” and “loves working with students and their families” He loves getting to know the kids and their parents. He finds driving a school bus much more rewarding and “peaceful” than his previous work at Kodak. He has a consistent route each year which helps reduce stress for drivers, students, and parents. He has found that students act differently when there is a substitute driver, and they yell and scream more. Children’s demeanor is more peaceful when there is a consistent driver & they’re more likely to listen. He’s had the same route for 3 years and gets to see his students growing up.
He makes sure to learn every student’s birthdate and sings Happy Birthday to them when they get on the bus. The entire busload of students joins in the singing and “really gets into it”. The “birthday child gets all excited when I start singing.” They thank him excitedly for remembering their special day.
He believes that the bus ride to school sets the tone for a student’s entire day and wants students to feel happy as they walk into their school.
When he picks students up to return to their homes he understands “they need to let out steam” and encourages them to laugh and chat before starting the bus. Once the bus starts the students understand that they need to be quieter for the safety of everyone on the bus. He says the “kids are respectful.”
Ronald has only good things to say about interacting with parents. He has a “great relationship with the parents” and they are “so grateful” he is their driver. Parents have told Ronald that their children are “so glad you’re their driver” and “feel safe with you” a huge compliment. Students and families will write him thank you notes.
Being a school bus driver is not the only area where Ron serves his community. Another area he serves is through his ministry.
Ronald Mathis was ordained a minister in 1996 with the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith Assn., Inc. (PCAF) and was confirmed as Suffragan Bishop in 2016. He graduated from the three-year Program of Education and Action for Responsible Leadership (PEARL) at Colgate Rochester Divinity School in 1997. He started his ministerial career with teaching ministry to young adults. He also worked in prison and street ministries. Currently, as a Bishop he oversees churches in the New York State District. He supports pastors, performs ordinations and church dedications, and teaches pastors.
Ronald says he “loves everything about ministry.” He loves sharing his faith with others and researching the bible to deepen his understanding. Much of his time is spent supporting people through their most painful moments like hospital visits, and funeral services.
Ronald is deeply grateful for his wife Marilyn Mathis. Ronald’s face lights up as he speaks about his wife, who is not only his life partner, but is also an integral partner at the church, where she serves as an administrator. They’ve been married for 38 years and “courted” for 5 years before they married. Marilyn has performed mission work in Malawi and helps people locally in need with comfort, food and prayer.
The last 5 years at the church have been challenging, as the neighborhood is plagued by an increase in gangs & violence and the church has experienced multiple break ins. “Something that would have never happened years ago.” Instead of being discouraged his church is increasing their community outreach and their events serving the community.
Ronald’s life mission, serving our community as a school bus driver and as a Bishop, touches and transforms the lives of the children and adults around him. Coworkers say about Ron “we wish there were more people like him.”
Update-On October 19, during bus safety week, Ron was recognized for his contributions to our community by Senator Samra Brouk, Monroe County Legislator Mark Johns and the Webster School District staff & board members.