The Missoula Community School is a non-profit educational community, created in the spring of 2001 by a group of teachers and parents. MCS is governed by a Board of Directors made up of no fewer than 5 members and no more than 12. Board members serve a two-year term, with an option to request re-election to a third year if desired.
The MCS Board meets on the second Wednesday of every other month (except July). Meetings are held at 6 pm, the 2021-2022 meeting venue will be posted at school; recently the meetings have been conducted via Zoom. Meetings are always open to parents, and input is welcome.
2021-2022 Missoula Community School Board of Directors
Kirsten Kuhnle (President): Kirsten was raised in Tulsa, OK & moved to Missoula after graduating high school. She attended the University of Montana & received a degree in Anthropology & Native American Studies & then returned to get her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She practiced physical therapy in town for 12 years & is currently a stay at home mom to her 2 girls Kenzie & Kiley. They love the wonderful outdoor opportunities that Missoula provides & love to spend time together recreating in this beautiful state. Kirsten’s oldest daughter, Kenzie, attended MCS for the last 3 years & they have been so impressed with the kind, loving, mindful environment that is provided at this school. Kirsten’s youngest daughter will start in the Tree room this fall. Community service has always been important to her & when she had the opportunity to join the board she gladly accepted so she can help foster the explore, create & care mission statement of MCS.
Amy Braig (Treasurer): Amy was born and raised just north in Kalispell, MT. Wanting to stay in the beauty of northwest Montana, she attended the University of Montana to complete her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Finance. While at the University of Montana, Amy thrived in her role as a cross country ski instructor, overnight ski instructor, and whitewater rafting guide for the Universities Outdoor Program. After graduation Amy was able to work full time as a whitewater rafting guide on the Alberton Gorge of the Clark Fork River and loved every second of it. Teaching people about the outdoors, rivers, and Montana is a strong passion for Amy and one she loves to share with others. Additionally, Amy found time to work as a small business loan underwriter for a local bank more recently. However, outside of work, Amy loves to enjoy Montana by rafting, backcountry skiing, climbing, biking, trail running, fishing, and meeting new friends.
Melissa Lanman (Secretary): Melissa Lanman was raised in Idaho and received her Design & Business degree from the University of Idaho in 2000. She finally made her journey back to the Northwest in August 2018 after having lived in Seattle, New York, and San Francisco over the past 19 years. Melissa’s passions are design, health & wellness, and cooking for her family. She currently is an enthusiastic stay at home mother to her three year old daughter Teddy, but in her spare time continues to consult in the design and beauty industries. She along with her husband Fritz, and daughter Teddy, are thoroughly enjoying all that Montana has to offer from fly fishing, skiing, delicious restaurants, and renovating their very old house. MCS has had such an immediate positive influence on her daughter’s life that she wanted to join the board to support the school and spread the word about MCS’s amazing philosophy and community.
Meredith Lease (Board Member): Meredith was raised in Wisconsin and attended both undergraduate and medical school at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She met her husband, Chris, in medical school. After completing their medical degrees, they moved to New Hampshire to complete residency training at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Meredith’s specialty is in pediatrics. After a life spent in the Midwest and Northeast, an opportunity to move to Missoula opened up that they could not turn down. In 2013, they moved to Missoula and settled down in the University district neighborhood. As they began considering preschools for their son, they were drawn to Missoula Community School. Their son started at MCS in 2014, spending three years there, and their daughter started at the school in 2018. Meredith appreciates the loving teaching environment, focus on social-emotional development, mindfulness curriculum, and sense of community both within the school and connection to the larger surrounding community. Meredith joined the board because she is interested in using her professional background to help the school continue to be a successful environment for early childhood development and considering areas for future growth. Meredith and her family spend much of their time mountain biking, both cross country and alpine skiing, playing soccer, swimming, and enjoying everything Missoula has to offer both in town and in the mountains, rivers, and on the trails that surround us.
Kinsey Livingston (she/her) (Board Member): Kinsey Livingston was raised in California and received her Business Economics & Communications degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2009. She has spent her career working in sales and leadership roles at tech companies, which led to her living in Scottsdale, New York and San Francisco, before relocating to Missoula in August of 2018 for a job at ClassPass, one of the few tech companies in Missoula. Kinsey and her husband, Ted, have twin toddlers, Lennon and Tedders, who will be starting at MCS this fall in the Tree Room. They also have a German Shepherd named River, who you may spot on various playgrounds around Missoula. Kinsey’s hobbies include tennis, volleyball, skiing and of course enjoying all the outdoor activities in Missoula. Her latest project with her husband is renovating and decorating a tiny fixer-upper cabin near Disco. After participating in MCS auctions and fundraisers over the past few years, she is so excited to be more directly involved in the MCS community as a parent and board member.
MaryPat Hertz (Board Member): MaryPat has her BS in Early Childhood Education and 21 years of experience working with preschool children. MaryPat started as a parent volunteer in the Head Start program when her oldest child was a student there in 1994. After beginning to work as an aid in the classroom, she moved up into a management position where she worked up until the summer of 2018 when she joined the Origins Education team. MaryPat has a passion for working with children as well as working with teaching staff to help foster a high quality educational experience. MaryPat chose to join the board at MCS because she had fallen in love with the school, the administration and the children and families during the time she was substituting at the school. When it came time for her to move on to her current job, she was very sad to leave the school. Being on the board gives her the opportunity to still be involved in a school that she has become so attached to.
Ashley Connell Melwani (she/her) (Board Member): Ashley was born and raised in Missoula, and is thrilled to have returned “home” with her family after two decades exploring other places. Ashley attended college at the University of California Berkeley, where she majored in History and minored in Education. After college, she spent several years teaching and leading educational programs in places such as Thailand, Argentina, and Nicaragua. She then went to law school at the University of San Francisco, focusing her studies on human rights issues in the law. As an attorney, Ashley has worked as a public defender, employment civil rights lawyer, and most recently as an advocate for immigrant youth seeking asylum and other forms of legal relief through the federal immigration system. Ashley and her husband Sanjay are parents to Ella (6) and Dev (3), both of whom have loved their time at MCS camp – particularly building mud cakes and learning about bugs! Dev is continuing on in the Green Room this year. Ashley is grateful to have found in MCS a school that embraces each child’s individuality and spirit, and where the teachers are the most fun and creative people she could imagine. She is excited to continue supporting the MCS mission as a member of the Board.
Erika Martin (she/her) (Board Member): Erika feels so lucky to have been born and raised in Missoula, and though she lived in Washington state and Chicago in her college years, she is happiest in Montana, close to family, friends, and all of the wonderful amenities our town has to offer. Erika earned a degree in English Education from the University of Montana in 2008, and earned her M.Ed. from the University of Missouri in 2016. She taught at Frenchtown High School for three years before moving to Sentinel High School, where she has taught freshman and junior English for ten years. She and her husband, Ryan, are the parents to Clara (5), who is an MCS “graduate” and current kindergartener at Lewis & Clark, and Alida (3), who is currently with Kristal in the Blue Room. Erika is thrilled to be a part of the MCS community, and is endlessly appreciative of the teachers and staff members who spend so much energy helping our children grow academically, socially, and emotionally through hands-on learning, special projects, field trips, community service, and mindfulness. In her free time, Erika loves to run, hike, cook, and read
Allison McKinney (Board Member): Allison was raised in South Dakota and moved to Missoula to attend college after falling in love with the mountains. She graduated from UM in 2013 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in Dance and Choreography. Following graduation she danced with two local professional dance companies, Headwaters Dance Co. & Bare Bait Dance Co. She now teaches Pilates in downtown Missoula at Main Street Pilates. Allison and her husband Jack, are parents to three young boys, Buck (6), Charlie (4) and August (baby). They are going on their 4th year at MCS with more years to come! Allison is excited to contribute and serve on the board for the first time this year. Missoula Community School has helped to positively shape early education, social relationships and individual identities for both of her boys. You can find Allison and her family in the mountains, on the rivers, or strolling around beautiful downtown Missoula.