Kasey Davis (she/her) (Executive Director): Kasey has been with Missoula Community School since 2018. She started as the 2-year-old teacher in the Tree Room and has been the Director since 2021. Her background includes over 15 years of childcare experience, a degree in musical theatre, and a love of combining the two passions. She’s lived in Coeur d’Alene, Seattle, Ohio, and grew up in the south, and her hobbies include hiking, dancing, playing with her kids, and relaxing with her husband.
Kasey’s favorite part of her job is getting to know the families of MCS, witnessing an “aha” moment with a child, and the hilarious things kids say! A resident of Missoula since 2018, she quickly grew to love this city, its families, and the easy access to so much natural beauty!
Kassandra Lauritzen (she/her) (Assistant Director): Kassandra is originally from Lakewood, Washington, but has been living in Missoula for 4 years now! Kassandra has nearly 12 years of experience working in childcare and as an elementary teacher, with a focus in Special Education. She has found her passion in helping young ones develop a love for learning that will follow them throughout their lives.
While living in Montana, Kassandra has begun to explore new ways to enjoy the outdoors. She loves to spend time hiking, foraging, fishing and more! Her favorite thing Montana has to offer is the incredible variety of wildflowers; both for viewing, and preserving.
Tree Room (2-3 Yr Olds)
In her free time you can find Cora taking photos, practicing her vegan cooking skills, skateboarding or in the winter, chasing powder around the Big Sky!
Jessie Shott (Tree Room Teacher Assistant): Jessie has been teaching at Missoula Community School since August 2021. She is originally from Missoula and after graduating from the University of Montana in 2008, took a big leap of faith and moved to sunny San Diego. She lived there for the last 14 years working as a paraprofessional in a school district. Even though she was able to call San Diego her home it was time to return to Missoula and start a new chapter back in her hometown. She has an extensive experience working with children, including working as a Teacher’s Aide at Spirit at Play, Paraprofessional in San Diego, ABA in-home therapy and also received her Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst Certification in 2019. Recently, she started pursuing a dream of hers to become a certified sleep consultant and is working on connecting and building her business here in the Missoula community.
Her hobbies include, reading, traveling, wine tasting, happy hour, spa days, hiking, sports (Go Patriots!). She’s hoping to get back into skiing now that she’ll be living back in the snow!
Malorie Dahlen (3 Year old Lead Teacher): Malorie has been teaching at Missoula Community School since January 2022. She graduated with honors from the University of Montana in December 2021 with her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Malorie attended MCS when she was 4 years old!
Malorie is from Missoula, Montana and her hobbies include being outdoors, doing yoga, arts and crafts, hanging out with friends, and playing with her niece and nephews. In her free time, Malorie enjoys making earrings out of polymer clay and making projects with her Cricut!
Jessica Miller (Green Room Lead Teacher) – Jessica is a born and raised Missoulian. She has left Missoula a couple times but the mountains keep calling her back. In Jessica’s opinion, as a busy and involved mother of 3, Missoula is one of the best places to learn and grow. In the colder months, Jess and her family can be found hiking and skiing the mountains of Montana. During the warmer months, you can find her floating and swimming the Blackfoot river, or rocking out at concerts.
Jessica has been working in child care and education for the last 16 years. Starting with a degree in psychology emphasizing child and family development, Jessica later obtained a preschool certificate, while working in an early childhood education facility in Butte for a couple years. In 2013, she returned to the University of Montana, earning herself an elementary education degree and teaching certificate. She has worked in many positions for Missoula County Public Schools, from a special ed para to a gifted education teacher. After stepping away from teaching for 2021/2022, she is very excited to return to early childhood education. She is most excited to help create a love of learning and exploration for the future generations of Missoulians.
Megan Birkett (Green Room Teacher Assistant): Megan has been teaching preschool for 8 years now, and she loves the positivity and joy working with kids brings to her life, as well as getting to know and help out the families in the community where she was born! In her spare time she is working on writing a novel. Megan loves to read, watercolor, watch movies, go for nature walks to find cool rocks, and roller skate. She has two cats named Winona and Bramble who are her fur-babies. She loves working with kids and looks forward to getting to know everyone at Missoula Community School.
Beverly Thomas (she/her) (Green Room Teacher Assistant)- Bev has been teaching at Missoula Community School since January 2021. She moved from Kansas to Montana in 2017 and started a new career in early childhood education and has taken numerous classes through Childcare Resources. She is a member of and actively involved with the MtAEYC. To further her education for teaching, she likes attending MtAEYC state conferences each year.
Her hobbies include practicing yoga, hiking, travel, gardening, and exploring Montana. You will see her walking all the trails in Missoula and beyond. Her favorite part of teaching is attempting to answer all the many and varied questions of a young child and just being silly with them.
Brooke Heckeroth (she/her) (Lead PreK Teacher): Brooke Heckeroth has been teaching at Missoula Community School since 2019. Her background includes a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and 3 years teaching at Corvallis Primary School. She is from Corvallis, Mt, and her hobbies include reading, listening to podcasts, hanging out with friends, listening to music and love of Korean things (food, tv, music, etc. I love it!). Her favorite part of teaching is seeing the complete joy and excitement a student radiates when they share something they love and did well on. A resident of Missoula since 2018, you can find her happily scarfing down sushi with friends and discussing her favorite new dance jam!
Dylan RunningCrane (Yellow Room Teacher Assistant): Dylan moved to Missoula from Browning, Montana in 2017 to pursue a degree in Film Studies. Having grown up surrounded by educators, working with children has been her go-to line of work since she began working in college. Dylan believes that working with children has brought her creative endeavors a sense of empathy, presence, and humor that is invaluable. When she’s not working at MCS, Dylan can be found watching movies, writing music, illustrating, or knitting with her dog, Buckley.
Ann Bonniwell (Mindfulness Teacher): Ann is thrilled to return to MCS after beginning her teaching career here in the school’s early days. Since then, Ann has taught in a variety of schools across Montana and California. In addition to 20 years experience as an elementary classroom teacher, she has also worked as a coach, tutor, traveling teacher for American families abroad and curriculum designer. Ann holds a BS in Elementary Education and Masters in Spiritual Psychology. In her free time, Ann can be found on the trail, on the road, in the kitchen, on her yoga mat, with her nose in a book or keeping her cat Mochi out of her latest art project.
Outside of our 8:30 am – 3:30 pm school day, we have wonderful staff members leading our extended care programs. Many of these folks are Teacher Assistants during the school day in one of our other classrooms as well as teaching in extended care.
Before Care: Hours 7:30 – 8:30 am
Beverly Thomas (Bio above in Green Room)
Jessie Shott (Bio above in Tree Room)
Aftercare: Hours 3:30 -5:30 pm
Ashe Cofell (Aftercare Lead Teacher): Ashe is originally from Minnesota and moved here for college to study in the field of developmental psychology. Her path has taken her on a journey which has strengthened her empathic skills to a gold standard and she is a firm believer in the immense benefits of mindfulness practices. She looking forward to applying them in the classroom! She has always been an enthusiastic advocate for neuro-divergent individuals and is excited to help the children in her care know that they are important, cared for, and that they will be heard. Kids will live up to or down to expectations so Ashe makes a point to take a highly optimistic approach to each and every interaction.
Jasper Jager (He/Him) (Aftercare Teacher Assistant): Jasper Jager is currently attending University of Montana with a focus on Earth Science and Communication as it relates to Family and Childhood Development. He has experience teaching children as a Science Educator at SpectrUM in both the Missoula Public Library and the Missoula Food Bank.
Jasper was born and raised in Montana. He loves to spend time outdoors hiking, running, and going on bike rides. In the winter months, he likes to spend his time reading by a window with his cat, Douglas. Jasper’s favorite things about teaching kids are the perspectives they provide on new information and all the opportunities for coloring.
Dylan Running Crane – Assistant Aftercare Teacher (Bio above in Yellow Room)
Kathryn Herman – Assistant Aftercare Teacher (Bio below in Hummingbird Section)
Gabe Bernosky – Assistant Aftercare Teacher (Bio below in Hummingbird Section)
Our Hummingbird and BumbleBee Teachers provide flexible care and guidance in many of our classrooms. You might see them in extended care, subbing for a different staff member, or providing extra support across the school.
Kathryn Herman (Hummingbird) (She/Her): Kathryn grew up in Wisconsin and then after living coast to coast, she found a love for the people and the outdoors in the Missoula community area for the last 6 years. She has been involved with aspects of childcare including nannying, swim lessons, and teaching kiddos in Peru about water systems. Additionally, she has been active as a volunteer and Board member for a local non-profit where she teaches children about arthropods and environmental awareness.
As a previous biology major in Colorado, Kathryn took a turn after college to working in actuarial sciences for about 10 years. Meanwhile she still pursued involvement with childcare and teaching within the community at any given opportunity. Kathryn decided to make another shift to a long-standing passion of pursuing education and public health. She truly enjoys providing care for the little ones and fostering their growth while learning from their insightful minds – there is always something to learn from each other! Kathryn appreciates seeing an individual feel safe, comfortable and happy expressing their unique and lovely self.
In her free time, you can find Kathryn hiking with her giant goofy dog Jenkins, soaking up the river life (still learning how to fly fish properly) and exploring the mountains. She likes to attempt going off recipe to create new baked items and dishes, head downtown for events or just relax at a friend’s backyard for a bonfire (not fire season!) and music.
Gabe Bernosky (BumbleBee): Gabriel is new to the childcare profession, but he has always loved working with kiddos, as they never fail to make him laugh with their silliness and creativity.