On Monday afternoon, Hillcrest Elementary presented Jed Hoopes with a metal school bus during an assembly to thank him for his service. As he walked out of the school, clutching the little bus that said his name on the back, Hoopes said it all felt bittersweet.
At the end of the week, Hoopes will retire after serving nearly 14 years as the district’s facilities, maintenance, and transportation department director.
Hoopes started with the district in 2006 after working for a decade at the Butte-Silver Bow County Health Department. He said he’s always had busy jobs, but heading both transportation and maintenance for the school district was like working two.
“I could stay here 24 hours a day and still not get everything done,” Hoopes said, laughing.
According to Hoopes’ job description, he is responsible for overseeing all personnel and processes related to the district’s transportation, or bus routes and drivers, 13 facilities and maintenance. This put Hoopes in the thick of most of the district’s major projects and made him the go-to guy for anything in between.
“Jed has been a very good asset to the district and he will be missed most definitely,” said Judy Jonart, Butte School District No. 1’s superintendent. “It’s hard to fill a position where the institutional knowledge and experiences are so valuable. You can’t replicate that immediately.”
Although Hoopes said he’s had to work long hours, he also said the job has been extremely satisfying and that he’s met a lot of great people.
“All of the administrators and secretaries work their tails off, it’s unbelievable what they have to deal with every day,” Hoopes said. “They help me so much. If I didn’t have them, I couldn’t do this job.”
Hoopes said some highlights over his school district career have been the recent renovations made to East Middle School and Kennedy Elementary School; the new, turf football field put into Butte High’s Naranche Stadium; and never having to cancel the district’s 24 bus routes due to weather or other complications.
But Hoopes said he’s starting to “run out of gas.” He said he turns 63 this coming February, and with the passage of the $35 million school bond project, Hoopes believes this is the perfect time for a new person to step in for him. His advice?
“You can’t do it alone, it’s not an ‘I’ job,” Hoopes said. “You have to be a people person.”