Russell joins state task force
Gov. Mike DeWine has appointed Cleveland Heights Council Member Davida Russell, a school bus driver, to serve on the newly formed Ohio School Bus Safety Working Group.
“I feel honored to be a voice for everyone who drives a school bus around the state,” said Russell, the only school bus driver appointed to the group.
DeWine announced the creation of the working group following the death of a Clark County 11-year-old who was killed when a vehicle collided with his school bus.
"There is always more that can be done when it comes to the safety of children, and I believe we have an obligation to take a holistic look at the safety of our school buses," said DeWine. "This group's review will be thorough, focusing on many different aspects of transportation safety."
“I started driving a school bus on Feb. 9, 1981, after being laid off from General Motors, when jobs were scarce during the Reagan years,” recalled Russell. “I drove babies, children and adults for the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities for 35 years, until [its transportation department closed in] 2017. Then, I was immediately hired as a driver for the South Euclid Lyndhurst school district.”
Russell noted that she has turned down higher-paying jobs due to her love for her work serving the community.
She is the president of the 10-county Northeast Ohio District of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE/AFSCME Local 4/AFL-CIO). The state's largest union for public school employees, OAPSE/AFSCME represents secretaries, teacher assistants, custodians, bus aides, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, lunch aides, librarians, school tutors, and others, at early childhood education and head start facilities, county boards of developmental disabilities, residential care facilities, and community and technical colleges.
Suzanne Zilber moved to Cleveland Heights in 2021. She is involved with several citizen-led organizations in Cleveland Heights.