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Want to be a Driver Education instructor? Training is available

Posted at 2:39 PM, Feb 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-23 12:06:46-05

Great Falls Public Schools is approaching an uncertain future in its Driver's Education Program. In collaboration with Great Falls College MSU, Veronica Griffith and Beckie Frisbee put their heads together, creating a program offered to adults.

"As the Adult Education Program, we do Continuing Education and Continuing Enrichment classes. We thought that this could be a class that we could add to our repertoire. We investigated and Billings is the only community in Montana, we know of, that offers adult driver education," explained Griffith, Data Specialist and Community Coordinator for Great Falls Public Schools at the Great Falls College MSU Career and College Readiness Center.

The need was brought to the attention of the School District's dozen or so Driver's Education Instructors from numerous community members. The calls didn't stop at the instructors, but in both Griffith's and Frisbee's offices. A good thing without good people, is hardly a good thing.

"We had one of our instructors that did more in Highwood and Centerville, and he retired." Mick Davis explained, "Where do those kids go? If we could have more instructors certified, it would certainly help.”

Davis is on year 43 of teaching Driver's Education in Montana and he is approaching his own retirement. He says, GFPS has shy of a dozen instructors that aren't meeting the demand of students signing up to take Driver's Education. In 43 years, he's worked with approximately 4,300 students. That number could diminish in the future if something doesn't change.

During the Spring term at Great Falls College, in collaboration with Great Falls Public Schools, enrollment is offered for students 18 years or older and not enrolled in high school to take Driver's Education. The partnership between the two will contract the student vehicle from GFPS and its instructors to teach the course.

A mixture of classroom and behind the wheel hours. The course offers flexibility to the student, while meeting the desired requirements, at the discretion of the instructor. More importantly, it won't take driving experience away from students enrolled in the high school programs.

"We planned it so that we will be doing our classes when they are done... We are only planning right now to offer it during the Spring and Fall between the time that they are done and starting the new session," added Griffith.

Orientation for the adult course begins March 4, 2023, and the maximum cost is $350 for the Permit and Driving (behind the wheel) Training, Permit Only training costs $100, and Driving (behind the wheel) Only Training sits at $250.

Adult Driver Education is only known to be offered at one institution in Montana, but the same goes for a Minor program offered at MSU-Northern in Havre.

Becky Frisbee, Traffic Education Supervisor for GFPS told MTN, passing the Minor course with the preliminary eight credits needed could land a student holding a BA/BS degree, a Driver's Education teaching job. There's one catch, the MSU-Northern course requires the student to spend a select number of days in Havre to complete the course.

"Having a centralized location for this course, in Great Falls, a bigger market, is certainly going to help, we hope it will alleviate an instructor shortage." Davis explained.

Great Falls Public Schools is willing to help teachers or potential hires get immersed into the Great Falls College program and get hired within the School District.

"Teachers will often come to us, and that appeals to them, and they'll take those courses and we do work with them to get those credits. While helping them get through the process in order to be part of the Driver's Ed Program," said Frisbee.

Davis shared that the compensation for the instructor position is sizable and worthwhile, but it's more about the students and the impact made in the community after 43 years.

“It is exciting, and kids are great. If you’ve ever worked with kids, they will keep you young and on your toes. But that’s another thing.” He added laughing.

Davis's certification is up in 2026. It's unclear if he will continue to teach Driver's Education with GFPS or retire. He hinted to MTN, retirement is on his mind.

The Adult Driver Education Program enrollment period is currently open. The program isn't only open to prospective instructors, but also students over the age of 18 and not enrolled in high school.

Applications are available at Great Falls College in the Career and College Readiness Center or online at the GFPS website.

For other specific questions regarding the program, contact the instructors, Mick Davis at; Kevin Sukut at; or the Career and College Readiness Center at 406-771-8108.

Great Falls College MSU is located at 2100 16th Ave S, Great Falls, MT.

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Great Falls Career & College Readiness Center