Vrooming with Vincelette

Haley Seymour, Co-Editor

Many students were confused at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year to find that there was no Driver’s Education teacher.

In June 2018, Perry Bove, Driver’s Education teacher for 34 years, retired. Bove was also a coach at BFA for over 30 years.

When Bove suddenly retired, the Northwest Technical Center filled his position with Shawn Allard, a teacher at Georgia Elementary School.

Leeann Wright, Director of the Northwest Technical Center, explained Allard’s participation in the Driver’s Education program when Mr. Bove retired.

“[Shawn Allard] was in the plan already. He was scheduled to do our summer Driver’s Ed because he has a full time teaching job already at Georgia [Elementary School]. So we had had conversations with him, along with Mr. Bove early on because a lot of the Driver’s Ed teachers were not able to teach in the summer, and so Mr. Allard said that he wanted to do it. And he was already certified and it worked out great,” Wright said.

Being the Driver’s Education teacher was a summer job for Allard, however it was difficult for the Northwest Technical Center to find someone to fill the position for the school year.

“No one qualified. Anyone that applied, if they were qualified, they had already gotten a job somewhere else or if they applied, they didn’t actually have their Driver’s Ed endorsement,” Wright said.

The job description on the School Spring Website for this position was posted on July 24, 2018, and with a desired hire date of Aug. 22, 2018. This job was not filled until October because no one had the correct qualifications.

Many students inferred that the Northwest Technical Center would not be able to find a teacher, meaning students would have to pay 700 dollars for the course through a private company that teaches Driver’s Education called Cow Tales.

The only person qualified for this position besides Shawn Allard was Adam Vincelette, the Automotive Technology teacher in the Northwest Technical Center. Vincelette has been teaching Automotive Technology in the NWTC for 16 years, and has been a Driver’s Ed driver since 2006 or 2007. Being a Driver’s Ed driver meant that Vincelette did teach in the classroom, however he rode alongside driving students and taught them terminology and how to drive.

“I was used to working 10 to 12 hours a day, and when I started teaching high school, working seven and a half hours a day it felt like I wasn’t doing a full days work. So I was looking for something else to fulfill some time and Driver’s Ed kind of ended up in my lap,” Vincelette said.In previous years, Vincelette has driven with students from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. However, Driver’s Ed classes take place during these times. Although Vincelette has taken on the role of Driver’s Ed teacher in the classroom, he will continue to drive the same amount with students. Vincelette said that he will drive from 4 to 6 p.m. and on weekends if necessary.

Although there was no Driver’s Education teacher for the first part of the semester, Mr. Vincelette is teaching the same amount of students Mr. Bove would have in the first semester in previous years.

“The good news is, we’re doing roughly 25 kids in the morning and 25 kids in the afternoon right now. So, typically Mr. Bove only [did] 50 kids in the first semester, and we’re doing 50 [right now], so we’re right on target to be doing what we were doing last year,” Vincelette said.Vincelette also mentioned that the Driver’s Education program had to be taught before and after school, rather than during the day like other schools. This was another reason why it was so difficult to find someone to take on the position.

“The situation is, having Driver’s Ed during the daytime would make kids miss some of their electives, like music or Mr. Symula’s programs. So to avoid taking kids out of those opportunities, Driver’s Ed is typically taught before and after school. So it’s very hard to find an instructor that will come in for three or fours in the morning and three or four hours in the afternoon,” Vincelette said.

Vincelette and Wright both mentioned that they didn’t know if Vincelette would be the Driver’s Education teacher next year.

“Basically the school is going to have to decide. If the opportunity comes for me to teach Driver’s Ed next year, I will continue. But it’s basically the school’s [decision],” Vincelette said.

Wright agreed that she did not know if Vincelette would be the Driver’s Ed teacher in the future. She elaborated, saying that there were a lot of different factors.

“When people become teachers, there’s a process that you have to go [through] in order to be endorsed, and Mr. Vincelette is qualified to teach [Driver’s Ed] until the end of June. The licensing board is working on what they deem as qualified for the endorsement, and we’re waiting to hear from them before we can find out who will be teaching next year. It could be Mr. Vincelette, but it depends on the licensing board and what they decide the qualifications are. So currently, Mr. Vincelette is on an emergency license that the licensing board gave him,” Wright said.

Wright would like to have Vincelette be the Driver’s Education teacher in the future if the opportunity arises.

“Mr. Vincelette has a very high work ethic, so he has no problem with teaching all of his Automotive [Technology] classes, plus teaching Driver’s Ed in the morning, plus teaching Driver’s Ed at night, and driving with kids. So he just likes to work. So if it works out, and he can make it work, and he wants to make it work, and he’s qualified then he’ll be the one,” Wright said.

Wright added that there is a high demand for Driver’s Education teachers, as she was shown through the lack of applications brought in to the NWTC Driver’s Ed job position.

“What I would like to say is, there [aren’t] a lot of Driver’s Ed teachers in Vermont that are endorsed. And there are local school districts and supervisory unions that are going without a Driver’s Ed teacher because they can’t find one. Currently, there’s one Driver’s Ed teacher in Milton, who’s teaching full time there, and teaching in Winooski. There’s just a real need for Driver’s Ed teachers right now, and what I would say is I don’t think there are a lot of teachers going to college to become a Driver’s Ed teacher, it’s typically an endorsement that you add on your certifications afterwards. So I think that’s important, and that’s what the struggle was in finding a qualified Driver’s Ed teacher. It wasn’t like we had ten applicants to choose from, there were none,” Wright said.

Students are no longer confused and are listening intently to their new Driver’s Education teacher at 6 a.m.