New transportation director takes over for Brownstown schools



From his time serving in the U.S. Army to civilian life, Dan Fariss’ work has revolved around transportation.

In his two years of active duty in the military, he was a mechanic.

Upon returning stateside, he drove a box truck for a while before becoming an over-the-road tractor-trailer driver. Even when he ventured into real estate, he was driving a school bus as a second job.

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In August 2019, his work in both fields led him to Brownstown, where he bought property and became a bus driver for Brownstown Central Community School Corp.

Upon the resignation of Karyn Rumph as the corporation’s transportation director earlier this school year, Fariss applied, went through the interview process and was hired.

During the Feb. 9 board of school trustees, he was introduced as the new transportation director.

"With my background, I’ve always been in some form of leadership position somewhere in my life, and this is almost the perfect size community. I just fell in love with the community," said Fariss, who turns 49 today.

"All of the drivers are great people. They know their routes. They’ve been driving their routes longer than I’ve been alive, most of them," he said, smiling. "Their focus is on safety and getting the kids to and from school. They know all of the parents. It’s just a beautiful community."

Fariss said the job was a good fit, and Superintendent Tim Taylor agreed.

"We’re really excited about everything he’s going to do for us," Taylor said during the February school board meeting. "He’s very enthusiastic, and I look forward to working with Dan."

Fariss is a native of Aurora, Colorado. After graduating from Smoky Hill High School in 1990, he went right into the military.

"My brother was a Marine, and my grandfather was a Merchant Marine, so it was always on the table," he said of his decision to serve the country.

Most of his two years of active duty were spent in Germany.

"It was a tremendous growth for me. You learn so much," Fariss said. "With the military, you’ve got the freedom to make mistakes, so they just kind of throw you in there and you learn how to sink or swim. It was a great experience."

Back in the United States, he served for six years in inactive ready reserve. He originally returned to Colorado and started driving a box truck for a carpet company for a while.

Then from 1992 to 2004, he drove an over-the-road tractor-trailer. Working for Mayflower brought him to Indianapolis.

There, he got into real estate and also started driving a school bus for the Metropolitan School District of Warren Township.

Still today, he has his real estate license and owns property up north.

"I don’t do anything as far as the buying and selling side," Fariss said. "That’s all property management and ownership, and I have a property manager up there that runs all of that."

He remained a bus driver for Warren Township until he moved to the Ewing area of Brownstown and started working for Rumph.

"I have a friend that lives down here, and so she said, ‘You’ve got to buy this property,’" Fariss said. "It’s kind of interesting because I don’t do it much, but I’ve done it before, buy it sight unseen just from what was being told to me by a person."

Initially, he said he bought it for the guys who work for him in the Indianapolis area to take a week off and stay there.

"But in the process of remodeling it and putting it together, I fell in love with the community down here and really did enjoy it," Fariss said.

Once he found out Brownstown has its own busing, he called and talked to Rumph and was interviewed and hired as a spare bus driver.

"She was letting me know it might have been for as long as a year, but one of the drivers got a different job and opened a route," he said.

Last school year, he drove buses 2, 11 and 5. Then this school year, once he found out Rumph resigned after 13 years as transportation director, he jumped at the opportunity to move up.

"It has been run very well up until now, so it’s not like there are any profound changes," he said of taking over as transportation director. "Just to make sure that I can do what I can to keep the drivers and everybody working and happy and just where it was before and always provide a good service to the parents."

The main focus is getting students to and from school safely. He estimates 400 kids are bused each day.

"You’ve got to balance the state regulations with safety and compliance, maintenance and compliance with the vehicles, drivers’ licensing and compliance. There are quite a few things that you have to do," Fariss said of his job. "But when it boils right down to it, you just want to make sure you can provide a service, making sure parents are comfortable, bring home their precious kids."

Fariss also values communication, which with his job includes parents, bus drivers and fellow school officials.

"Karyn did a tremendous job, so I’m just trying to build on what she has already done and just continue developing relationships with parents because everybody is an asset, just build great relationships with everybody so they are comfortable in approaching me, principals, teachers, whoever, if they see something," he said. "It’s a community effort."

In his new position, Fariss oversees 27 bus drivers, including some subs, who cover 21 routes in Brownstown and the outlying areas. The corporation has about 25 buses, which include the Brave Bus and minibuses.

"This school system is just amazing. I can’t brag more about this place," he said. "Everybody has just been tremendous. Even Karyn, she’s still a phone call away to help me process some of this stuff. It’s just a great team up here, and I love teams. Where wisdom is, wisdom grows."

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Fariss file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Name: Dan Fariss

Age: 49

Hometown: Aurora, Colorado

Residence: Brownstown

Education: Smoky Hill High School (1990)

Military service: U.S. Army (two years of active duty and six years of inactive ready reserve)

Occupation: New transportation director for Brownstown Central Community School Corp.


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