Kim has a B.A. in Education from the University of Montana. She also holds two Montessori certificates (one for 3-6 year olds and another for 6-9 year olds) from the Montana Montessori Teacher Education Institute in Kalispell, MT. She has been a teacher in many capacities working with 16-21 year olds at a Job Corps in South Dakota; teaching in a one-room schoolhouse for kindergarten through sixth graders in Camas Prairie, MT; Title 1 teacher for three years for kindergarten through eighth graders; and third grade teacher for five years in Kalispell, MT. Kim has also been a Montessori teacher trainer in Kalispell, and a presenter at International Montessori Conferences in California and Canada on the Six Traits of Writing.
When Kim's boys entered Woodland Montessori in Kalispell as preschoolers, she became absorbed in this fascinating Montessori model - eventually implementing it into her public school program. Helena Flats Montessori was the second public school Montessori program implemented in Montana.
Kim credits her two fabulous sons, Patrick and Benjamin, for introducing her to the Montessori Method and thanks her husband Ted for his ongoing support. This is Kim's first year as a full time administrator which is very excited. She loves to travel, is an avid reader, and adores walking their family dog Riley.
Catherine brings a unique background to Missoula Valley Montessori. She has a Master's degree in Education from the University of Massachusetts specializing in Elementary School Counseling. Her background as a counselor gives Catherine valuable skills to share with children as they work to become independent learners and social problem-solvers.
Catherine has been teaching since 1998. She taught both first grade and pre-kindergarten in Connecticut and New York before moving to Missoula in 2004. Catherine worked as a parent educator and parent counselor at Families First before becoming certified as a Montessori teacher for 3-6 year olds. She says that her discovery of the Montessori Method was an epiphany and she could not wait to share it with others.
Catherine and her husband Jim are the proud parents of three children, Sam, Ben, and Hannah. She loves to read and enjoys many of the outdoor activities available in Missoula from running to fishing.
Alyssa completed her Montessori training through the Montana Montessori Teacher Education Institute. She is also a graduate of the University of Montana where she earned a BA in Elementary Education with a concentration in Early Childhood education. Upon completing her degree, Alyssa began to seek a way to further her education and find an alternative method of teaching that fit more soundly with her educational philosophy. She quickly found Montessori education and it was love at first sight.
Alyssa is very passionate about working with children. In the past nine years Alyssa has worked with children in a variety of settings. Each of these experiences have assisted her in becoming an enthusiastic and dedicated educator. Throughout her professional career, Alyssa hopes to instill in her students a compassion for others and a love of learning.
Jens Bolstad grew up in Helena and moved to Missoula in 2012 for college. He originally intended to become a high school teacher, but after only a few weeks working with our students he realizes there is a positivity that can only be found with this age group. Even a long day is manageable because it is regularly interspersed with laughter and he finds this truly special.
Sheila Roche is from Whitefish, MT where she spent the majority of her childhood. Once she graduated from high school she started out at Carroll College where she pursued a degree in Nursing and Education. Sheila quickly discovered that she had a passion for early childhood development of speech, language, and communication. In 2015 she transferred to the University of Montana to pursue a degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders also known as Speech, Language, and Hearing Disorders. After two years of undergraduate clinic and research experience, focused on children with Autism Sheila is excited to be part of the MVM family.
I have recently moved back to Missoula looking for a change from my past hectic career in food and beverage. It has been a wonderful change in my life. Since joining the staff I have learned so much and gotten to be around such great personalities. I came from Ohio where I studied environmental geography and geography, but moved west when I graduated and didn't look back.
When I'm not teaching you can find me at the yoga studio, skiing in winter, or hiking in summer.
After graduating from Rollins College in Florida with a degree in Psychology, Jordan moved to Missoula to pursue her passion for working with young children. She worked at her college's child development and student research center, and spends every summer working at Camp Marshall on Flathead Lake.
Growing up as a military brat allowed Jordan to travel across the globe, and she still thinks Montana is the best place to be. In her free time, Jordan enjoys reading poetry, creating needlepoint art, and doing yoga. Jordan is so excited to join us for her first year at MVM!
Jason Fiske grew up in rural Massachusetts. From a young age, Jay was deeply interested in art and music; his love of illustration led him to study graphic design at Fitchburg University, where he graduated with a B.S. in Communications in 2003. After graduating, Jay spent a decade working as a graphic designer for creative agencies in New York, Boston, Seattle, and Portland. In 2013, Jay left the agency world to pursue a more integral and holistic career path. He attended the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine, where he studied traditional woodworking, and afterward worked as a building apprentice and educator at Cob Cottage Company natural building school in Southern Oregon. It was there that Jay cemented his affinity for creative and alternative education pathways.
After several years of working in the public school system, Jay is deeply grateful to be a part of the Missoula Valley Montessori community. Outside of work, he's most likely painting, walking, recording music, or getting lost in the mountains with his pup, Kenji.
Isabel Sage was raised in Florence, Montana with three other siblings. She enjoys outdoor activities such as fishing and camping. Isabel intends to pursue an education in early childhood development with the hope of encouraging learning, fostering curiosity, and joy. She believes the most important things in life are family, kindness, and growth.
One of her favorite quotes is the following: "Our greatest natural resource is the minds of children." - Walt Disney
I am an Oregonian who recently moved to Missoula after working in Glacier National Park for the past two years. The outdoors is where I love to be, so I thought Missoula would be a great fit for me. Every summer for about 4 years I volunteered as an assistant in a Special Ed classroom, working with many children ranging from 6-12 years old. I very much enjoyed this, and was eager to take this opportunity to work with preschoolers. I also have been in the serving industry since I was 17, and am very much looking forward to a new work environment.
I am very excited to learn more about Montessori teaching, and be the best guide and mentor for these children as I can be. Looking forward to this new beginning!
Wasan Al Bujasim moved to Missoula in 2016. As well as being the mother of two adorable young boys, Wasan has worked in child care for over a year. Wasan has a BA in geography and is now working towards her teaching certification at the University of Montana. Wasan comes from a family of educators. Her mother is a teacher and her father has a PhD in history.
Wasan's husband works in a nearby school district. She has joined the Early Learners' classroom and tell us she is amazed on a daily basis with the level of independence she sees in the two-year-olds at MVM.
Meaghan grew up in Los Angeles, California where she studied Early Childhood Education. While getting her Associates degree in Early Childhood Education she became a nanny and that's where she knew she absolutely loved working with children. From there she became an assistant teacher at a Montessori school. Meaghan gained so much knowledge about the Montessori method and learned how wonderful it is for young children. In 2017, Meaghan and her husband decided to pack up and move to Alaska. There she worked as a kindergarten assistant teacher at a child care.
She loved traveling Alaska and seeing all the incredible sights. Now Meaghan has settled in Missoula where she is excited to meet new people and experience new places. In her free time, Meaghan loves to go camping, road tripping, and hiking with her husband and chocolate Labrador.
Deb Palmer recently moved to Superior Montana after living in Alaska for thirty years. She has two sons who were born and raised in Alaska. Taylor graduated from the University of Montana. Matt is a senior at Waldorf University in Iowa.
Deb has worked with kids throughout her life. The last six years she worked with the Alaska school system in the Special Education Program. She also worked for Focus Outreach summer camp for special needs children.
Deb enjoys any outdoor activity, road trips, working with horses and spending time with her sons.