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 Tuesday of every month (except July). Meetings are held at 6 pm, the 2019-2020 meeting venue will be posted at school. Meetings are always open to parents, and input is welcome.
2019-2020 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.
Clark Tower (Treasurer): Clark Tower grew up in Missoula, graduating from UM’s Accounting Program. He is Montana Foodbank Network’s CFO, and fights national food-insecurity as a member of Feeding America’s Financial Leadership Steering Committee. Specializing in not-for-profit accounting, Clark has supported various Missoula-based non-profit organizations, and served as Tamarack Grief Resource Center’s Board Treasurer. Clark and his wife parent seven kids aged 25 to 4-years-old, and have adopted internationally and via foster care. His youngest attended Missoula Community School for two wonderful years. Clark appreciates the efforts of MCS Staff as they inspire students’ love of learning, exploration, and understanding of kindness and friendship. When Clark has a sliver of free time, he whittles away at home remodeling and landscaping projects. Clark also enjoys golfing, traveling, and exploring Montana’s great outdoors.
Sara Jones (Secretary): Sara Jones grew up in Colorado and moved to Missoula for graduate school in environmental studies in 2002. Sara and her husband, Matt, with their two children, have enjoyed their time at MCS. Sara has joined the board in order to support and give back to the community of MCS for many years of mindfulness and kindness. Picture coming soon!
Erin Saldin (Board Member): Erin Saldin grew up in Boise, Idaho, and moved to Missoula after more than a decade on the east coast and abroad. A former Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa and bartender in New York City, Erin is now a young adult novelist and a Lecturer at the Davidson Honors College at UM, where she teaches honors courses and creative writing. Erin and her partner, Rob, have two little girls, and they all enjoy adventuring in the mountains, playing in the mud, hiking with their dog, and eating cupcakes. Passionate about the outdoors and service to one’s community, Erin joined the board in order to support MCS and its focus on mindfulness, creativity, exploration, and kindness.
Melissa Lanman (Board Member): 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.
Shoren Brown (Board Member): Shoren Brown grew up exploring the swamps of Tangipahoa Parish in southern Louisiana where he developed a strong connection with rural people and places, fishing, wild country, and New Orleans Saints football. He currently lives in Missoula, MT with his wife and son and Dixie the dog.
Shoren earned a masters degree in Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Conflict Resolution from the University of Montana where he studied as a Doris Duke Conservation Fellow. He earned dual degrees in Conservation Biology and Environmental Policy from the Evergreen State College. After a 20-year career in the nonprofit sector, Shoren currently consults for NGOs, foundations and private companies on government affairs and communications.
Shoren is a passionate advocate for the Missoula Community School and its commitment to community service, experiential education and emotional intelligence. He hopes to absorb as much of the curriculum as possible from his son and the wonderful staff at MCS during his time on the board.
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.