PEWAUKEE — Felicia Goines started driving a school bus for the Pewaukee School District this year. When she noticed some of the kids she was picking up seemed hesitant about climbing aboard, she got an idea.

With a ladder, a paint brush and strategic deployment of a finger here and there, Goines transformed the windows of her bus into a series of canvases depicting hand-painted cartoon monsters.

“I just wanted to make the kids happy,” she said. “I just did a little monster bus and they loved it.”

Nowadays, kids aren’t hesitant to get on her bus; it’s quite the opposite. The monster bus quickly picked up enough attention among Pewaukee students and Goines’ fellow drivers began asking her to give their own vehicles a similar sort of makeover. Now there’s a Cinderella bus, a Rugrats bus, an Alice in Wonderland bus, and more.

“I treat them like my own kids,” Goines said. “I want my kids to have fun and be excited about school.”

She has two children in the district.

Although she’s not looking forward to the next rainfall washing off her work, Goines has ideas already for Christmas and other holidays. She’s always loved art and this experience has reignited some of that passion, she said.

Goines came on board at the same time districts across the nation are struggling to find bus drivers. She works for GO Riteway and said she’d recommend others give it a try, praising her managers and co-workers.

“They’re just some really great people,” she said.

Pewaukee School District Superintendent Mike Cady said the district respects and appreciates what bus drivers do every day.

“What I love about this story is here we have someone who not only embraced the responsibility of making sure kids can get access to education (but) did something really clever and creative in the process,” he said. “It gives kids something else to be happy and excited about, which is awesome.”

To learn more about bus driver openings, visit www.goriteway.com.