Bernice Anaya has been driving a school bus for 21 years.
Greg Byrd | El Defensor Chieftain


Bernice Anaya is a long time bus driver for the Socorro School District with her main route being to drive the special needs students.

Is special needs children your only role as a bus driver?

No. I also drive various athletics and activities. I drive the new “blue bus” for away games for all sports. I’m also what is officially called a School Bus Driver Instructor. I train incoming employees how to be school bus drivers.

How long have you been in that role?

I’ve been an SBDI for 12 years now. I’ve been driving a school bus for 21 years. I’ve been with the school system for 27 years. I was a volunteer parent. Then the principal at the time Mrs. Romero-Wilson, who was my fifth grade teacher, called me and said there was a job opening so I started off as an aide in the special needs department. From there they asked me to be a bus monitor for the special needs kids. It was supposed to be just for two weeks until eventually transportation director Annabelle Romero at that time approached me to get my CDL (Commercial Drivers License) in order to drive buses regularly.

Was there any point in the process of becoming a driver that you thought this was the wrong fit?

I loved it once I got started. I’ve always loved being around the kids. At that time my kids were in junior high, Vanessa Montoya, and elementary school, Mariah Anaya, and when they got older I could drive them to play sports and get paid for it which was an added bonus to the job. Both of them are grown up now and have given me and my husband Joey four amazing grandchildren, Raiden and Analie from Vanessa, and Amelia and Alana on Mariah’s side.

What has been your favorite part about being both a parent as well as a grandparent?

I would have the grandkids first (laughs). As you always hear about how the grandparents spoil their grandkids, that’s us. Our kids always say “mom, you never let us do that but you let our kids do that!”

How long have you and your husband been together?

We were actually high school sweethearts. We’ve been together since 1987. We just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on September 28. We went to Arizona to go see a baseball game. It was the Dodgers vs. the Padres. Neither of them were our teams. He’s a Yankee and I’m a Rockies fan. But it was so fun because we love baseball. Anytime we get to go see a game, no matter who’s playing, we love baseball. Our grandkid Raiden is already getting ready to play.

How did Joey steal your heart?

It started in fifth grade. He used to sit behind me in Mrs. Romero’s class and he would pull my hair all the time, which bothered me. At the end of the year, my cousin and I were line dancing. I was wearing these blue shorts and my husband watched us perform and right there he told me “you are going to be mine forever.” I got tired of him and moved our desks because he would keep bothering me. I guess he kept doing that because he liked me.

Are you from Socorro?

Born and raised. My mother Stella Castillo and my late father Albert raised me here. Both of them were also born and raised here. I have deep roots here.

A few random questions. What is your favorite movie?

“A League of Their Own.” I love baseball. I managed softball for four years here at because they didn’t have the sport for the girls. If I could have played I would have, and I could watch that movie millions of times.

If you won the lottery, what would you do?

Pay off my kids’ houses. Buy new buses for the schools. Give back to the schools so the kids could eat out during all of their functions on the road. Some of these kids never get to eat out and they are trying to play sports to get out of Socorro.

If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?

To push myself harder. If I would have gone to a trade school or anything for example. I wish I had done a lot more, but I didn’t push myself enough.

If you could change one thing about Socorro County, what would it be?

I would build a bowling alley and putt-putt fun center. It would give the kids something fun to do. Plus if we had that it would give visiting teams before and after games something to do together with our kids.


Greg Byrd | El Defensor Chieftain