Director looks to build adult education program

Print Article

David Donaldson is the coordinator for the Whitefish School District’s Adult Education Program. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

David Donaldson wants to make Whitefish’s new adult education program for the community, by the community.

“Adult education is a community-based entity. It doesn’t work without the community being involved,” Donaldson said. “The community is the consumer, and the community is where our teachers are going to come from.”

Donaldson recently joined the Whitefish School District as the coordinator for the district’s Adult Education Program.

Donaldson and his wife have lived in Whitefish for the last three years. He holds a doctorate in education leadership from California State University, Long Beach.

Right now Donaldson is looking to future students for ideas on what to offer in the program.

Interested community members are being asked to fill out a survey, which is available online at

“We’re asking what people want as far as professional development, so if you need a computer class, a food handler certificate, we can offer something like that. I think there’s a lot of professional development classes or certifications we can offer,” he said.

So far most of the responses have come from teachers and staff members at Whitefish schools, he said, with suggestions for courses in software like Google Docs and Drive or even an affordable lunchtime yoga class.

Likewise, as a psychology teacher in Flathead Valley Community College’s continuing education program, he understands the fine line Whitefish schools are balancing by not competing with their Kalispell neighbor.

“We want to be responsive to the community. We recognize that they have a continuing education program offering very similar classes, and we want to make sure that we’re working collaboratively alongside them and not competitively,” he said.

“There will be some overlap, but I think that’s OK. We’re the little guy.”

While Whitefish used to have an adult education course, support for it fizzled out four or five years ago, Donaldson said.

The upcoming program brings something new to the table, he said, including a unique Innovation Lab for the community to use.

The lab, housed in Whitefish High School, will allow community members to access a large variety of software and learning programs, using the resources like and other tutorials to enable self-learning.

“It’s an incubation space, it’s a place for community members to come in and work, learn, experiment in a digital workspace,” Donaldson said.

Group classes will start this summer with offerings like CPR, First Aid, Planting and more.

Some classes will be free while others will require a small fee to help pay the instructors, but Donaldson said the focus is on keeping continuing education affordable and accessible for Whitefish residents.

A program like this is something special, he said, and he’s happy to work on it.

“I’ve lived and worked in big cities and small towns, in the U.S. and out of the U.S., and this is pretty unique. It’s a unique opportunity that anybody in the community can come in and sit down and have access to,” he said.

The full course catalog is available at

Print Article

Read More Schools

Homecoming royalty

September 25, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Whitefish Pilot The Whitefish High School homecoming royalty was celebrated during halftime of Friday’s football game against Browning. Lee Walburn and Emily Gunlickson were named the 2018 king and queen. ...


Read More

Parents irked by traffic route changes at Muldown school

September 19, 2018 at 6:32 am | Whitefish Pilot A few Muldown Elementary parents are frustrated with new changes in the drop-off parking rules at the elementary school. When school began for the year in late August new parking and drop-off proced...


Read More

Concerns raised about teacher, administrator relationships after survey

September 18, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Whitefish Pilot One Whitefish Schools parents is raising concerns about the relationship between teachers and administrators, but school district officials say they are already working to improve relationships. Du...


Read More

Whitefish Schood District food service program wins awards

September 18, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Whitefish Pilot The Whitefish School District’s food program has earned both state and national recognition. Led by Food Service Director Jay Stagg, the district’s food programs have been selected for the Montana C...


Read More

Contact Us

(406) 862-3505
312 E. Second Street
Whitefish, MT 59937

©2018 Whitefish Pilot Terms of Use Privacy Policy