GREAT FALLS — The Great Falls Public Schools Foundation is searching for a new executive director, after Dave Crum announced his retirement.
Crum has been at the helm of the foundation for almost a decade. He began his career in 2010 after coming to the foundation from McLaughlin Research Institute. Back then, the foundation looked a lot different.
“The foundation was only on paper,” Crum said. “They did not have a board; they had not raised any money.”
Today, the foundation is a multi-million dollar operation, with $2.2 million in scholarships awarded and $3.7 million in building enhancements. The foundation has given scholarships to nearly 800 students, mostly through private donors, and grants to more than 400 teachers.
Samantha Faulkner, a Great Falls High School graduate who’s now a freshman at Montana State University, received nearly $10,000 in college scholarships from private donors through the foundation. Without that money, she said she would've needed to find a job during her first year of college, while taking 17 credits.
“It’s super helpful, not having that financial stress of how am I going to pay for this in five years,” she said.
Beth Britton, a journalism teacher at CMR High School, was able to secure grants for new cameras through the foundation. She also sat on the board for the foundation, and saw Crum’s work ethic firsthand.
“There is nobody in this town who is a bigger cheerleader and supporter of everything we do in the schools,” she said. “We need more people like Dave Crum.”
The search is on for a new executive director, who will start shadowing Crum in the winter, before taking over fully in June of next year.
Crum said while executive directors come and go, one thing about the community will stay the same. “In my gut, I knew that people wanted to support public education,” he said.