Meet our Administrators:
Meet an Administrator: Paul Vigil
Position: Director of Transportation
Years in Education: 18
Years at Clover Park: 8
Paul Vigil has been the director of transportation in Clover Park School District for the last year and a half. Prior to arriving in Clover Park in 2010, he worked as a supervisor in the East Valley and Central Valley school districts in Spokane, Wash.
How did you get started in education?
I owned my own business and I was commuting a lot but had days off, and a friend of mine said, “Hey, why don’t you come drive a school bus for us?” On my days off, I was a substitute bus driver. I enjoyed it and worked my way up and eventually applied for a dispatch position. It was a brand new position focused on special education students. In my time in that position, we transitioned 80 students off of special needs buses onto regular ones. It was about giving them the tools they needed to prosper once they graduated.
What pushed you to stay in education and move up in the transportation department?
I really enjoyed the work and getting out of the office. I got to be part of the greater good: I got students to school. Part of my route for a long time had my nieces and nephews on it, so I was helping family as well!
Where did you go to college?
I went to Eastern Washington University and majored in human resources and management but that didn’t really go anywhere at the time. Though, I did use some of those skills as a driver, and then later, as a supervisor. I ended up going through Central Washington University’s transportation management program after I started in education. That has been one of the most beneficial things I’ve ever done for my job. I gained some useful knowledge and made long-lasting professional connections.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Salt Lake City and moved over to Spokane when I was in high school. I wasn’t really into school when I was in Spokane, but I was really active with my church youth group. A lot of the friends I made then are the ones I have today. We’re scattered all over the country now, but we still stay in contact.
What brought you to Clover Park School District?
I applied to other positions around the state and actually had to turn down a job offer at another school district that didn’t pay well enough in relation to the cost of living there. Clover Park was a great area, and they offered enough pay that you could make a good living here. Plus, it was close to Seattle!
What has surprised you most about working in education?
How education is not like the real world. For the most part, educators work a limited schedule. And they need it. It’s not a normal nine-to-five job. We face a lot of struggles. We get everyone else’s kids and they become our students for six or more hours each day. Despite the struggles, it can be rewarding.
How do you help create promising futures in your position?
It comes down to my team and making them successful. They take the majority of students in the district to and from school each day. The success of my team and making sure they get the job done right and giving them the tools they need to succeed is essential. My role is to make sure we are equipping the drivers so that they can successfully get students to school safely every day.
What is the best part of your day?
The best part of my job is the people I work with. I love it when they come in and tell me stuff about their families, whether its successes or struggles. It’s humbling knowing for some of them that I’m one of the first people they call when they are facing something difficult. I love when one of my drivers comes into work, excited to tell me, and everyone else, that their kid got a scholarship to PLU.
How does Clover Park School District differ from other districts you have worked?
Clover Park has a high turnover of students, which makes it difficult for consistency, even in transportation. We are constantly catching up with students, which causes a lot of route issues. It’s difficult, but we work through them.
Do you have any hobbies?
When I am not at work, I am spending time with my family. I have two young kids at home and by the time I get home from work, I try to spend as much time with them as possible. We love to go camping.
Where do you like to go camping?
We go to Ocean Shores a lot. We love to go clamming and walk on the beach. Being able to camp there and enjoy the beauty of it, Ocean Shores is definitely my favorite place.
Is there an educator who had a big impact on you?
Ms. Moll in eighth grade. I had changed districts from Utah to Washington, and the way education was taught between the two states was different. I was re-learning a lot of the things I had already been taught in Utah. Ms. Moll recognized that and gave me challenges beyond what the normal class had. She recognized that I could excel, and she was always someone I could go back and talk to even after I moved on from her class.