All Around the World: Mr. Brent Burner

Bishop’s new bus driver’s journey to campus.


Mr. Brent Burner

Mr. Brent Burner has moved thousands of miles from breezy Indiana to busy California, and driven people from all over the world to all sorts of places. According to him, working at Bishop’s has been one of the greatest blessings. Even if we’re only halfway through the semester, he’s already loving Bishop’s!

Behind the steering wheel, eyes on the road, is Mr. Brent Burner, Bishop’s new bus driver. From driving rushed to laid back people all over the world, he seems to have seen it all! Mr. Burner has played games with star athletes, laid with the grass tickling his face on the dairy farms in Indiana, and enjoys the ocean breeze with his dog and his wife. He lives his life by the Bible, and is reflecting all the kindness he has received from the many students he drives to and from Bishop’s.


Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

A: I was born in Indiana. I was a dairy farmer. I went to a very small school similar to this, the same exact school colors, maroon and gold. I was state runner up in football, played in the Hoosier Dome. I got a divorce. I ended up moving to California. I’ve been here for 10 years now. I remarried. I’ve been in transportation for almost 7 years now. I used to drive a wheelchair van, so I took wheelchair patients to and from their appointments. I’ve done close to 10,000 rides for the public, and I’ve been a school bus driver for 5 years too.


Q: What’s your favorite thing about being a dairy farmer?

A: Well, you know, it was a different type of lifestyle. It was very very laid back, it was very slow, very methodical. It just was a different environment, a different demographic. Growing up on a farm, you’re one with nature. The grass grows, you mow it, the hay grows, you cut it, then you dry it, then you harvest it, then you bail it. The cows, they come in, they need to be milked, you clean up afterwards, you’ve gotta feed the cows, you gotta clean up after the cows… There’s always something to do on a dairy farm. But everything was pretty methodical, it was kinda laid back and slow. Plant to harvest in the springtime, and then it grows, and then in the fall, you harvest it. I was driving tractors at an early age, so I learned machinery and equipment at a young age. It was just a different lifestyle, so when I came out here, everything was fast-paced, everything was moving pretty quick. It took me a while to adjust, but I love it here. The weather’s perfect, the people are so so nice, and this school is a blessing to me. I’m a Christian, so, I put God first in my life, and obviously, my job, I take it very seriously. I take transporting the kids very seriously… I just enjoy being here. I enjoy my job, I enjoy my environment, I love being a part of the school, I love being a part of the community. It’s a blessing to be here, it’s a blessing to have this job.


Q: What’s been your favorite thing about coming to Bishops?

A: Probably the fact that the students and the faculty are just so nice. It was such an easy transition for me to come in. I used to work with Matt Baranowski [Director of Transportation/Assistant Director of Facilities]. He’s a really good guy. I think it’s just part of the whole system from where I came into the transition. He had called me, offered me the job, I said yes and then I came in. It was just so easy. I couldn’t ask for a better environment. It’s just so nice. Everybody that I’ve met so far, all the students that I’ve transported, everybody has been top-notch, over-the-top nice, and good to me. And it’s just a blessing to have that in my life.


Q: Do you have any hobbies?

A: I like to ride motorcycles! When I lived in Indiana, I used to drag race motorcycles. So, I had a race track in the town that I lived in. I did that professionally for about three and a half, four years. When I transitioned from Indiana to California, I ended up selling all my drag bikes and all that stuff, and I kind of walked away from it. But I still have motorcycles. I still ride. I don’t go fast anymore, unfortunately. I’m a school bus driver, I have to obey the laws, not only in the school bus, but in my personal vehicles as well. So, I drive accordingly. But I do enjoy that. I also love to go to the beach. My wife and I are very outdoor oriented, so we love to go to the beach. We have a little dog named Coco, so we take him with us. That’s another thing that we like to do. I go to church, I go to Sunday school, and I do a worship group online. That’s a big part of my life, too. That’s pretty much it. I mean, I’m a pretty simple person.


Q: What does Christianity mean to you?

A: To be a Christian is to be a follower of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that we shouldn’t live a worldly life. We should live a life according to the scripture. The book is actually a manuscript of how to live our lives here on Earth to gain a Heavenly life. I try to live that way. I follow the Bible, I read the scriptures, and I try to live a life according to how Jesus lived his life. He died on the cross and rose again so we could have a chance to go to Heaven. I know I’m not perfect. Unfortunately, that’s just the way life is. But I can still try to do the best I can every day. For me, being a part of this community and this school, showing people love and kindness, are part of the fruits of the spirit. That’s how I try to treat everyone. You know, there’s going to be days of conflict, and there’s going to be days of being down and moody. Not everybody has a good day. But I look at it this way. I want you to succeed in life. I don’t want you to fail. So, I’m going to do everything in my power and the gift that God gave me to try to make you a better person if I can. If you’re having a bad day and I need to uplift you, then I’m going to do that. If you’re weak in an area and I can help you, then I’m going to do that. That’s all part of what I think of being Christian, as well as just being a positive part of your community. I try to uplift people, not bring them down. We see that every single day. We see it on TV, movies, music… To me, it’s a lot of negativity. Everybody has their own opinions and their own beliefs, and that’s okay. I’m going to love you no matter what you choose to do in life. I’m going to try to uplift you. That’s part of what I think of being a Christian is.


Q: Do you have any funny stories from the years that you transitioned from Indiana to San Diego?

A: The living style was so different and the cost of living was also very expensive. I was kind of sticker shocked at everything, when I saw how much it was to rent, how much it was to buy a house, and everything was going so fast! I was like, “Why is everybody in such a hurry all the time?!” People were like, “Look. This is just the way it is. This isn’t Indiana. This is Southern California. The people out here are either commuting, or they’re going to work.” It was a big challenge for me to gain the speed that I needed to get up to, in order to understand things. People were always saying, “If you think this is fast, try to go up to LA!” The first time I went to LA, I was like, “Wow! This is 10 times worse than San Diego!” And when driving with Rideshare, I get people from all over the world. I pick people up from the airport, take people to Balboa Park, you name it. So, I get people from all over the world, and everybody always says the same exact thing to me. That this place is like paradise. And I just laugh because it’s amazing that I’m a part of paradise. I’m a part of this community. I get to live here. The people who come here always say, “Oh, we have to go back to the East Coast.” And I’m like, “Well, I used to live in the midwest, so I know what it’s like to be in a snowstorm, and I know what it’s like to be in bad weather.” To me, the transition was really hard at first, but now, I get it. Now I get the system, now I get how the community and the people and the environment work, how the freeway system works… For me, it was a big shell shock to come out here and see how fast everything was. But, like I said, I enjoy it now. And I wouldn’t ever leave again. I wouldn’t retire from this place, because this is where I want to be.


Q: What’s your favorite memory from Indiana?

A: Well, I played [basketball and football] with some pretty incredible athletes when I lived in Indiana. I played with Shawn Kemp. He is an ex-professional basketball player. He played for the Seattle Supersonics. He was one of the first players to ever go from high school straight to the professionals. And this is back in the 1980’s. I also played with Rick Myer in high school football. He played at Notre Dame and went to the Seattle Seahawks. Playing sports in Indiana was all we had, because the weather’s bad in the wintertime, so you’re just huddled inside. When the weather was good, I was always outside either playing baseball, basketball, or football. But that’s probably one of my greatest memories: playing with two guys in two different sports: basketball and football. And they both went to the professionals.


Q: Do you still keep up playing sports, whether that be a hobby or not?

A: My bones and my joints are not the same. I try to do a lot of walking with my dog, but I don’t play sports like I used to. I still take care of myself. I still try to eat healthy and eat a plant-based diet. I try to stay away from GMOs and drink water. I’ll sneak a cheeseburger every now and then, and fries from In-n-Out. 


Q: What are you looking forward to with this new year?

A: Well, I guess it’s just gonna be a great year, because driving the school bus and driving the van here, and being around the students is my true love. After doing this for almost five years, I’ve worked through several different districts, I’ve done private driving, and so far, this has been the biggest blessing in my life: coming to work at Bishop’s. So I’m just looking forward to a wonderful year with traveling with the sports teams, taking them to field trips; any extracurricular activities that the kids need for bus service, and obviously the day to day busing in and out. I’m just looking forward to spending time and making sure the kids are safe, and doing the best I can for the kids here at Bishop’s, and being the best person I can for this community.