Kristal Burns (Director): Kristal has been teaching at Missoula Community School since 2004. Her background includes a BS in Education and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction: Curriculum Studies. She is from Missoula, and her hobbies include fishing, enjoying time with her daughter, and cranking out ‘80s dance moves. Her funniest part of teaching is listening to children socialize in the restroom. A resident of Missoula since 6 months old, you can find her on a mom/daughter date at Café Dolce or adventuring with her dad most any day.
Megan Sorg (Assistant Director): Megan began working at Missoula Community School in 2017. Her background includes spending a year as an AmeriCorps FoodCorps member and receiving her Bachelors in Community Health from the University of Montana. She is from Billings, Montana and her hobbies include gardening, hiking, reading, and cooking fabulous food. The funniest thing she has seen teaching (so far!) was a group of kindergarten students doing nutrient dance moves to show her what “good-for-you” nutrients exist in carrots. A resident of Missoula since 2011, you can find her on the trails and rivers around Missoula with her partner and their lovable dog.
Ashlie Vinion (3 year old teacher and Mindfulness Coordinator): Ashlie Vinion has been teaching at Missoula Community school since 2013. She has countless hours of Early Childhood Development training provided by Childcare resources, and the Lifelong Learning Center. She has a little over 10 years of hands on experience working with children of all ages. She spent her childhood growing and exploring the beautiful Northwest corner of Montana, residing in Libby. Her hobbies include reading, painting, crafting, exploring in nature and the community, and generally being active. Her favorite part of teaching is watching children make their own discoveries by asking questions and examining the world around them. You can find her enjoying brunch with her friends and family at the local downtown restaurants on most weekends.
Carrie Wheet (Teacher Assistant and Sign Instructor): Carrie has been teaching at Missoula Community School since 2012. Her background includes being a nanny and a degree in American Sign Language Interpretation from Columbia College Chicago. She is from Indiana. Carrie’s hobbies include hiking, being on or with the river and anything outdoors. Her favorite part of teaching is how much love the children give her and how much she learns from them everyday. A resident of Missoula since 2012, you can find Carrie in the woods or on the river any given day.
Danielle Wright (3 year old teacher): Danielle has been teaching at Missoula Community School since 2018. Her background includes a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is from a teeny tiny town in North Eastern Oregon. Her hobbies include reading, biking, cooking, quilting, and outdoor adventuring. Her favorite part of teaching is exploring nature with the kiddos and being reminded of all the wonder and magic the world has to offer. A resident of Missoula since January of 2012, you can find her hiking many of the trails in Montana with her husband, two kiddos and three dogs.
Gabby Keller (Teacher Assistant): Gabby has been teaching at Missoula Community School since 2017. Her background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Montana which included an internship with Missoula Early Head Start, as well as working at Watson Children’s Shelter where she continues to work as an on-call staff. She is from Columbia Falls, Montana and her hobbies include hiking, disc golf, weightlifting, playing tennis, trying out new foods and recipes, and spending time with her family and husband. Her favorite part of teaching is building relationships with the children and getting involved in their world through play. A resident of Missoula since 2015, you can find her up Pattee Canyon, one of her favorite places to unwind and enjoy nature.
Julie Reardon (After Care): Julie has been working at the Missoula Community School since January 2016. Her background includes a B.A in Elementary Education with a minor in Environmental Studies. She grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Missoula since 1990. Julie loves spending time in nature and has had her own gardening business since 1996. Her favorite parts of teaching are the curiousity, smiles and laughter the children bring into her life and the world.
Kaia Keefe-Oates (Aqua Room Teacher Assistant): Kaia has been teaching at Missoula Community School since 2019. She has a Bachelor’s in Community Health from University of Montana and has worked with non-profits nationally. She loves working with children, and has worked with families all over Missoula. Originally from Encinitas, CA she has recently returned to Missoula after spending the last two years in Illinois. When she’s not working, you can find her running the trails of Missoula, curled up with the newspaper and her cat, or playing camogie
Kasey Davis (2/3 Year Old Teacher): Kasey started teaching at Missoula Community school in 2018. Her background includes over 13 years of child care experience, a degree in musical theater, and a love of combining these two passions! She is most recently from Coeur d’Alene, although she’s lived in Seattle, Ohio, and grew up in the south, and her hobbies include dancing, hiking, and playing with her 2 kids. Her favorite part of teaching is witnessing an “aha!” moment… and the hilarious things kids say. A resident of Missoula since August 10, 2018 (a newbie!) you can find her exploring the city, “relaxing” with her family at a coffee shop, taking a beer date with her husband, or going to see a show at UM!
Lauren Sharp (Aftercare Teacher Assistant): Bio and picture coming soon!
Lesa Setters (4 Year Old Teacher): Lesa has been teaching at the Missoula Community School since 2006. She has a degree in fine arts which helps keep her creative juices flowing when she is with the children. She is also certified to teach elementary students in Montana. Lesa was born a mid westerner in North Canton, Ohio. She is the designated “weeder” of the family garden, loves learning about natural science, and trains in the martial art of Aikido. Lesa’s favorite part of teaching is watching children become enthusiastic about learning and coaching them to employ kindness when they solve problems. A resident of the Missoula area since 1982, you can find Lesa tending the garden in summer and at the dojo year round.
Mary Barnett (Foster Grandparent): Mary Barnett has been teaching at Missoula Community School since 2012. She has done summer camps since 2011. Her background includes a BA in elementary education and 86 graduate credits for a MA in special educaton with a reading emphasis as well as early childhood. She is originally from California. She has taught 46 years. Mary knows 8 foreign languages. Her hobbies are scrap booking, dancing, calligraphy, singing, swimming and playing piano. She was married to her husband Gary for 46 years and has two daughters and four grandchildren. Mary socializes where ever she goes!
Nancy Mills (Teacher Assistant): Nancy started teaching at Missoula Community School in the Fall of 2018. Her background includes working with young children, in a variety of settings and age groups, for over 30 years. Most recently, she was a lead preschool teacher at Clark Fork School, in Missoula and developed a passion for the place-based early childhood education movement. Nancy grew up outside of Washington D.C, where she enjoyed the natural beauty of Virginia, as well as the cultural offerings of the nation’s capital. Her interests include art, music, mindfulness/yoga and environmental and community based volunteer work. Nancy’s favorite part of teaching is exploring the creative process with young children through art and outdoor play and instilling a sense of belonging. She has been a Missoula resident, where she raised her two daughters, for over 20 years.
Nicki Wood (4 Year Old Teacher): Nicki has been teaching at Missoula Community School since 2015. Her background includes a Bachelors in Elementary Education with a minor in Psychology. She is from Puyallup, WA and Helena, MT, and her hobbies include reading, dancing,and comic books. Her funniest part of teaching is singing silly songs! A resident of Missoula since 2014, you can find her at Zootown Brew.
Peggy Schmidt (3 Year Old Teacher): Peggy has been teaching at Missoula Community School since 2015. Her background includes an elementary teaching certificate with an endorsement in special education and a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies. She is from Stillwater, Minnesota, and her hobbies include running, gardening and spending time with her two teenagers and her spouse. Her favorite part of teaching is sharing funny books with children. A resident of Missoula since 1990, you can find her running or bicycling along the city’s streets and trails most every day.
Robin Bryne (PreK Teacher): Robin began teaching at Missoula Community School in 2015, and had the opportunity to work as a sub in all of our classrooms prior to becoming a lead teacher. Her background includes many years of teaching preschool at Clark Fork School in Missoula as well as at schools in Great Falls , MT and New Haven, CT. She is from Nebraska but moved to Montana when she was 11. Her hobbies include gardening, writing, hiking, quilting and all manner of mixed media art making projects. Her most engaged aspect of teaching is the relationships that develop with kids around art and natural science exploration. A resident of Missoula off and on since 1985, you can often find her poking around the water or ice in Rattlesnake Creek in Greenough Park on any given sunny day.
Samantha Toundaian (Blue Room Teacher Assistant): Sam has been teaching at Missoula Community School since December 2018. Her background includes a degree in art education and a teaching certification from Michigan. Her favorite part of teaching (especially art) is seeing and experiencing her students’ vast imagination and witnessing the “ah-ha” moment. Sam recently moved to Missoula from Marquette, MI and you can find her skiing every weekend at Snowbowl with her hot pink skis