White House Recognizes Southern Door Bus Driver’s Book Program

Southern Door School bus driver Ted Chaudoir is among a dozen “Champions of Change” from across the country who will be recognized today at a White House ceremony, where they will be honored for their leadership and tireless work to ensure that students receive the support and motivation they need to succeed.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities as school support professionals, who make up one-third of our nation’s education workforce.

Ted Chaudoir

Ted Chaudoir

Chaudoir was recognized for creating the Books on the Bus program, which puts books into the hands of his young school bus commuters.

It all began a few years ago when Chaudoir tried to calm a squirmy young student by asking him to pull a book out of his backpack. The boy said he didn’t have a book. So Chaudoir decided to bring a box of children’s books that once belonged to his now-adult daughter onto his bus, and with the help of Southern Door Reading Specialist Missy Bousley, a steady stream of picture and chapter books arrived for the students to read on their long bus rides to and from school.

Chaudoir’s efforts have been recognized by educational organizations at the state and national level, and schools from around the country have sought information from Southern Door about starting their own Books on the bus program. In 2014 Chaudoir was given the Celebrate Literacy Individual Award by the Wisconsin State Reading Association and was named the Wisconsin Education Association Council’s 2014 Education Support Professional of the Year.

“It started with just having books from our daughter we wanted other kids to enjoy,” Chaudoir told The Pulse in late 2013. “The interest they showed inspired me to expand it. They were asking for more books. It took on a life of its own. It proved to be something the kids really, really liked. Then when the public learned about it through the Peninsula Pulse, it struck such a chord. It was like a mandate.”

The result, he said at the time, is that kids come to school now with a greater desire to have a book in their hands.

“It’s amazing at that age, 4 to 8 years old, they are enthused to have that book,” he said “I have a lot of kids that say, ‘Can I take this home?’ Absolutely, you can take it home. When you’re done reading, share the books. I’ve had little kids bring bags of books.”

The event will be streamed live at 1pm CDT on the White House website at Follow the conversation at #WHChamps.

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