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 enjoying time with her daughter (which currently involves superhero movies), cranking out ‘80s dance moves, playing her flute, and singing. 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 adventuring with her family and getting outside to enjoy all Missoula’s outdoors offer.
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 currently pursuing her M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction and K-8 teaching certificate at UM. 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 dogs, Jake and Cedar.
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!
Whitney Miller (Tree Room Teacher Assistant): Whitney has been teaching at Missoula Community School since 2019. Her background includes a degree in Theatre from UM with an emphasis in acting, vocal performance and dance as well as a national tour with The Montana Repertory Theatre. She is from Billings, MT and her hobbies include cooking yummy meals with her boyfriend, practicing yoga, and playing outside in our beautiful state. Her favorite part about teaching is watching kids gain their autonomy and independence as a person. A resident of Missoula since 2014, you can find her playing her ukulele and piano.
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.
Beverly Thomas (Aqua Room Teacher Assistant)- Bio and photo coming soon!
Mixed Age Room
Maddie Christenson (3 Year Old Teacher): Maddie has been teaching at Missoula Community School since 2019. Her background includes a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Montana.
She is from Missoula, Montana, and her hobbies include hiking, photography, and calligraphy. Her favorite part of teaching is reading books with the class. A resident of Missoula since birth, you can find her making wooden signs with her business partner.
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 favorite part of teaching is singing silly songs! A resident of Missoula since 2014, you can find her at the Farmer’s Market.
Samantha Toundaian (Mixed Age 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.
Brooke Heckeroth (Lead PreK Teacher): Brooke Heckeroth has been teaching at Missoula Community School since 2019. Her background includes a bachelor 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!
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
Whitney Miller (Bio above in Tree Room)
Aftercare: Hours 3:30 -5:30 pm
Colby Sailors (Lead Aftercare Teacher and Office Floater) – Colby has been teaching at Missoula Community school since 2020, though has been working in teaching and Early Childhood Education since 2013. She started as a fine arts teacher, though took more of an interest in early childhood development in 2014. Colby was Center Director for Overlake Kindercare in Bellevue, WA for over a year before finding a home in Montana to delve into more personalized student teaching. She moved to Missoula from her hometown of Redmond, WA in 2017 and enjoys seeing the mountains every day and the warm-heartedness that the community in Missoula brings to its residents. Her hobbies include reading, writing and drawing comics, animation and caring for her guinea pigs. When it comes to teaching, the thing Colby enjoys the most is the natural kindness and curiosity children carry in their hearts and finding ways to develop teaching strategies that further promote these positive qualities.
Her favorite children’s book is “My No No No Day”, because sometimes we all have bad days for no good reason but we can always start over and try again tomorrow.
Samantha Toundaian (Bio above in Mixed Age Room)