KRIS LITZ, Executive Director

KRIS LITZ, Executive Director

As a Missoula native, Kris loves getting others excited about learning in the outside world and local community. After years of teaching in traditional and outdoor education, she earned a Master’s Degree in Adventure Education from Prescott College, with a focus on place-based and environmental education. She has worn many hats while at CFS, including teaching in the primary program, designing and teaching in our Kids-Niche after-school program, and helping teachers flourish as the Head of Curriculum and Instruction. She transitioned into the role of Executive Director in 2019. Outside of work, Kris can be found exploring the mountains and rivers with her husband, Robin, their delightful little girl, Avani, and their playful pups, Revvy and Kuna Boom.


DANIELLE BAILEY, Steller's Jay Classroom Lead Teacher

DANIELLE BAILEY, Steller's Jay Classroom Lead Teacher

Danielle grew up in Southern Oregon camping, fishing, and playing in the mud. She moved to Corvallis, Oregon and enjoyed being closer to the ocean while getting her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She has her Master's degree in Teaching from Willamette University with a focus on Elementary Education. Danielle moved to Missoula in 2009 having never been to Montana before. She has enjoyed exploring the area and learning about Missoula’s natural flora and fauna. Danielle has been teaching with Missoula County Public Schools since arriving in Missoula and is looking forward to getting back to her roots of learning alongside young children. In her free time, she can be found reading, picnicking, and going on long walks with her beautiful baby girl and husband.

SARAH CLARK, Chickadee Classroom co-Lead Teacher

SARAH CLARK, Chickadee Classroom co-Lead Teacher

Growing up in a rural community outside of Missoula Sarah spent her time exploring Montana’s mountains, hunting, riding horses, getting lost in books, and playing in the marsh behind her house with her two sisters.  She received her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana in December 2015 after many years of roaming and wandering at random.  She hopes to eventually acquire a Master’s Degree in Environmental Education, yet recognizes that life is its own adventure and that the path a person intends to walk upon can sometimes be very different from the one they travel.  Sarah enjoys being a teacher at Clark Fork School, spending quality time with her husband, foraging for wild foods, camping in the great outdoors, hiking, being artistic, cooking, baking, reading, playing chess, and being alive in every moment possible.

 
Jenna Tomiello, Special programs’ director

Jenna Tomiello, Special programs’ director

Jenna grew up in the Highlands of New Jersey, spending much of her childhood weekends exploring the forests with her sister as her dad fly fished. She graduated from Ursinus College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies, and fell in love with teaching environmental education during an internship with New Jersey Audubon. After venturing out west to U of M to get her M.S. in Environmental Studies, she farmed in the Hudson Valley for a few years and taught K/1st Grade, before the mountains of Montana called her back west. Jenna has taught in the Explorer program, led Kids’ Niche Beargrass for 3+ years, and started the Adventure Program at CFS. She, her husband Brian, and her dog Leopold-Zebulon spend their off-time trail running, cycling (though Leo hasn’t mastered bikes yet), and filling their lives with music in all ways possible.

Claire Manny, office manager

Claire Manny, office manager

Claire grew up in upstate New York exploring the creeks and forests of the countryside. Her love for the outdoors was shaped by the natural splendor of her rural upbringing. During high school, she studied at the Maine Coast Semester through the Chewonki Foundation, where she learned firsthand the value of nature-based and place-based education. Claire was drawn west to Portland, Oregon, to attend Lewis & Clark College, where she studied History and Environmental Studies. After working in Montana seasonally for three summers, she decided to brave the winters and make Missoula her home. She is excited to be a part of the Clark Fork School community, where she can blend her love for the outdoors with her passion for working with future generations. Outside of school, Claire spends her time running, biking, hiking, skiing, cooking, and exploring Montana. 

Celia Manny, Steller’s Jay Assistant

Celia Manny, Steller’s Jay Assistant

Celia moved to Missoula in 2016 from New York, where she grew up exploring the acres of rural farmland surrounding her home in the Hudson Valley. The daughter of a teacher and a chef, Celia was organically drawn to Nutrition Education and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition Science from University of California, Davis in 2014. Before joining the CFS team, she worked as a Food Specialist at a small, independent nursery school in Greenwich Village, NYC. She fell in love with Western Montana after spending a couple summers working at a guest ranch outside Missoula. Celia loves dogs and enjoys cooking, crafting and all manner of outdoor activities.

 
Jocelyn catterson, Enrollment and outreach manager

Jocelyn catterson, Enrollment and outreach manager

Jocelyn grew up in a small town in the mountains of Colorado. Her childhood was full of barefoot wandering, fort building, mudpie making, and camping. She attended the University of Montana to obtain her degree in Resource Conservation and worked for a variety of organizations including the Montana Natural History Center, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and the Montana Wilderness Association during that time. After graduating, she lived in a few southwestern states, working as a 5th grade teacher, running an after school/summer camp program, and designing an outdoor education program for the Austin Waldorf School. Since moving back to Montana 2+ years ago, Jocelyn has been at Clark Fork School working in a variety of teaching positions, including serving on the Board of Directors as the Teacher Representative. She recently transitioned into administration in 2019. Jocelyn loves to collect edible plants, backpack with her husband and two dogs, and nurture her childlike curiosity of the natural world.

 
Michelle Becker, Meadowlark co-lead Teacher

Michelle Becker, Meadowlark co-lead Teacher

Michelle grew up on the coast of Massachusetts, exploring the biodiversity of the oceans, wetlands, and rivers. She moved to Missoula in 2003 and graduated from the U of M with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. She lives here with her husband, their two beautiful children, and their very spoiled cat. When not spending time with the wonderful community at CFS, Michelle spends her time with her family exploring all of the great opportunities that Missoula provides. Although she just joined CFS this year, she is super excited to build relationships with all of the students and their families as well as the other great teachers!

 
Jessa Ouellette, fireweed Lead teacher

Jessa Ouellette, fireweed Lead teacher

Jessa grew up right here in Missoula on the banks of the Clark Fork River. As a child she found herself exploring the outdoors and drawing everything she saw or observed. She graduated from University of Montana in 2017 with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Wildlife Biology. She has worked for the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program for the past 4 years, educating 5th graders about stewardship and place-based learning. Jessa has a passion for environmental education, and takes every opportunity to learn/teach. Her other interest include baking, painting, sewing, fishing and enjoying time with her husband and their bearded dragon, Pascal!

 
Katie Whorrall, meadowlark co- Lead Teacher

Katie Whorrall, meadowlark co- Lead Teacher

Katie grew up in the urban landscape of Los Angeles. Her childhood was shaped by long beach days, Summer adventures in the mountains of Colorado and Arizona, spontaneous road trips to the Eastern Sierras, and by spending as much time in water as humanly possible. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Seattle Pacific University and spent the next several years exploring the Pacific Northwest and sharing her love of art and nature with her preschool class. She returned to Los Angeles in 2013, where she worked in education and arts administration. After years of dreaming of living in the mountains and reconnecting with nature, she fell in love with Missoula and decided to call it home in the Fall of 2018. Outside of work, she can be found practicing yoga, knitting things for people she loves, studying herbalism, and snuggling her cat, Richie.

Whitni Kent, SHooting stars lead teacher, planning sub, and music teacher

Whitni Kent, SHooting stars lead teacher, planning sub, and music teacher

Whitni, her husband, and their cat relocated to Missoula from Georgia in June of 2018. She grew up in a variety of places and remembers each based mainly on the outdoor activities she did most: playing pretend in the yard in middle Georgia; spending hours roaming the woods outside the Pittsburgh, PA suburbs; riding her bike into town in Illinois; hiking and jumping boulders in Pennsylvania Dutch country; camping and exploring the Appalachian mountains. She attended Piedmont College in the mountains of North Georgia where she graduated with a BA in History and Theatre Arts. She spent four years as a living historian in Atlanta before moving to Missoula. Elsie de Wolfe once said "every place has its own kind of wonder", and Whitni believes no one is better at discovering such wonder than children. When not working, she can be found biking, hiking, reading, writing, playing guitar and singing, snuggling with her cat, and generally falling in love with everything about Missoula.

Andrew Northrup, Explorer + Adventure program assistant teacher

Andrew Northrup, Explorer + Adventure program assistant teacher

Andrew is originally from Berkeley, CA, and after an extended road trip exploring the nooks and crannies of the West, he settled in Missoula. Andrew’s passion for the great outdoors all started in a child carrier on his dads back exploring a myriad of California landscapes. Since then, he has been drawn to exploring and increasing access to wild places. Before CFS, Andrew worked in the outdoor retailer industry, outfitting customers for wilderness excursions. For the past three years Andrew has volunteered as an adviser to the Berkeley Youth and Government program, engaging high school youth in a mock legislature and court program. He is a passionate guy, eager to enhance youth education in an outdoor environment. There is no better learning than doing!

 
seth orme, grounds assistant

seth orme, grounds assistant

Raised amidst the live oak and magnolia, Seth grew up exploring the lowlands of South Georgia. After high school, Seth decided he needed a little more life experience before diving into the university. A few cross-country trips and a 2,500 mile kayaking journey down the length of the Mississippi River quenched Seth’s thirst. During these travels Seth felt a growing desire to share the beauty and lessons of nature with others. Still rocking back and forth from his Tom Sawyer experience along the Mississippi, Seth enrolled at Georgia Southern University, graduating with a degree in Outdoor Recreation Management. After college, Seth went straight to work for Wilderness Inquiry, an inclusion based guiding service in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Comfortable wearing many hats, Seth could be found leading sea kayaking trips in the Apostle Island and captaining Voyageur canoes filled with singing 5th graders. Seth quickly saw that much of the beauty in his life has stemmed from time in nature. An audacious idea soon formed. In an effort to give back to mother nature, Seth and two lifelong friends began walking north along the Appalachian Trail, cleaning up all the trash they found along the way. Five months later they stood atop Mt. Katahdin completing their journey north. They had cleaned up over 1,100 pounds of trash off the Appalachian Trail. The next year, Seth did it again - this time along the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail. During those final days along the Pacific Crest Trail, Seth met Leah. Pursuits of higher education and a love for long distance running in the mountains led them both to Missoula. When Seth is not out running in the high country, he can be found nestled into the landscape practicing his passion for photography.

Bianca, Shooting Stars assistant and planning sub assistant

Bianca, Shooting Stars assistant and planning sub assistant

Bianca is from Chicago, IL. Being from a big city, she really tried to get to the lake as much as possible and would spend weekends with her mom in Lake Geneva. Bianca received her Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Iowa and she came to Missoula to pursue her degree in School Counseling. Being is our Assistant Teacher for the Shooting Stars.

Aubrey Pongluelert, adventure Program lead teacher

Aubrey Pongluelert, adventure Program lead teacher

Growing up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, Aubrey was fortunate to spend much of her youth exploring the Sierra National Forest and Yosemite National Park. This time instilled in her a great appreciation and love for the natural environment and the incredible curiosity, learning, and connection that these spaces foster. This love led Aubrey to pursue a BA in Environmental Studies and Studio Art at Oberlin College, where she found great fulfillment in working with children through a practicum called Eastwood Elementary Outdoor Classroom. Upon leaving Oberlin, Aubrey moved back to California to work as a Naturalist at Rancho el Chorro Outdoor School in San Luis Obispo, where she led hikes and ocean kayaking trips with local students. Aubrey is currently finishing her master's thesis in Environmental Studies: Sustainable Food and Farming at the University of Montana. This program has further impressed on her the value and importance of connecting young generations to their natural environment and landscapes through applicable and sensory-based experiences. She is excited to join the community of Clark Fork School and to saunter, explore, and discover with her students in the Adventure Program! Outside of school, Aubrey enjoys jumping into alpine lakes, playing cribbage, and making soup.

 
Jenn Schmaus, Fireweed assistant

Jenn Schmaus, Fireweed assistant

Jenn grew up in Montana in the mountains outside of Helena. A good portion of her elementary school years were homeschooled and mostly spent out of doors playing in the mountains and creek outside her front door. Her family spent a lot of time fishing, hiking, camping and generally bumping around the mountains in her dad's truck. Currently, Jenna is seeking a degree in elementary education with some background education in Holistic healthcare. She has three children and they love spending time outside playing and like to include their dog, Biscuit, whenever possible. In her free time, she enjoys reading, painting, gardening, baking, and generally doing family activities with her kids.

TORRY AVERY, Kinnikinnick lead teacher

TORRY AVERY, Kinnikinnick lead teacher

Torry Avery grew up traveling and recreating in nature primarily in the Boundary Waters just north of Minnesota and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Whether they were canoeing, hiking, skiing, biking or playing games, Torry and his three sisters were usually up to something. Torry followed his passion for the mountains to Montana where obtained his undergraduate Liberal Studies degree in Bozeman. He then went on to teach English as a foreign language in South Korea. After his time in Korea he returned to Montana and received his Master’s in elementary education from the University of Montana here in Missoula in 2018. While not teaching Torry is usually out on a trail or by a river working with his 2-year-old bird-dog Athena. Torry is very excited to have the opportunity to join the Clark Fork School and engage with education in a natural and authentic setting. 

Jane Auld, Huckleberry co-lead teacher

Jane Auld, Huckleberry co-lead teacher

Jane recently moved to Missoula. She is super passionate about outdoor experiential education and place based learning. Previously, she have worked at Outward Bound in Maine and most recently at Missoula Outdoor Learning Adventures. Both have taught her that having children spend time outside has a huge positive impact on their emotional, social and educational outcomes. She is excited to be working at the after school program!

 
audrey daniel, Beargrass assistant teacher

audrey daniel, Beargrass assistant teacher

Audrey grew up in Billings exploring the Yellowstone River and surrounding Rimrocks. She moved to Missoula in 2014 to begin her studies at the University of Montana where she would earn bachelor degrees in music and environmental studies. Audrey has focused on working in community oriented jobs while in Missoula ranging from a student staff member at KBGA College Radio and most recently as a summer camp instructor at Montana Natural History Center. She is excited to start her journey as the Bear grass assistant at Clark Fork School. She currently plays as a substitute bassoonist for several symphonies across the state of Montana and is a lover of fine arts! In her free time she enjoys exploring the outdoors, cooking, reading and spending time with her partner, Dillon and their two cats Berlioz and Koshka.

Kimberly Rose Smith, Kinnikinnick assistant teacher

Kimberly Rose Smith, Kinnikinnick assistant teacher

Kimberly grew up in Lake Tahoe in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains.  Kimberly’s love for the outdoors began in childhood.  Some of her favorite childhood memories are waking up at 6 in the morning in the summertime to jump in the delightfully frigid water to go for a water ski, and getting up at the crack of dawn in the winter to catch the first lift to ski the slopes on a bluebird powder day.  She also loves camping, mountain biking, and hiking in the great outdoors. Before settling in Missoula, she spent several summers migrating to Missoula for her husbands job as a smokejumper, and then moving back to Tahoe for the off season.  The Missoula community truly won her heart, and she moved her family to permanently reside here in the Spring of 2016.  Kimberly has a BA in Liberal Studies, and is pursuing her MA in Education. She is also in the process of earning her accreditation in Montessori Education through Montana Montessori Teacher Training Education Institute.  Kimberly is passionate about cooking for her family.  She has a wonderful husband, 3 beautiful, intelligent, hilarious, and talented kids, 2 dogs, a cat, a spotted gecko, two fish, and a crawdad (I guess you can say, she is trying to bring the outdoors in).  

Bonita Pernot, Huckleberry co-lead Teacher

Bonita Pernot, Huckleberry co-lead Teacher

Bonita grew up in a rural suburb of Madison, WI. Much of her childhood was spent exploring the farmland that surrounded her neighborhood, and playing made-up games with the plethora of peers that lived near her. Bonita earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies, and a Minor in Spanish while attending the University of Wisconsin--Oshkosh. During her college education, she took classes focusing on Elementary Education, Human-Land Relations, Wilderness Theory, and Environmental Justice. She has worked as a substitute teacher for two years (one year at a private, mindful-practice school in North Hollywood, CA, and another year with Missoula County Public Schools); she's spent time as a camp counselor; and she has also served two terms with the Montana Conservation Corps (one year as an Adult Field Crew Member, and a second year as a Youth Crew Leader). Bonita is passionate about serviceship, social & environmental justice, and place-based education. She is happy to be working at a school that allows her to embrace nature as a teaching tool!

Chloe Teske, Chickadee co-Lead teacher

Chloe Teske, Chickadee co-Lead teacher

Chloe was raised here in beautiful Missoula, Montana. She spent a major part of her childhood in the country of Brazil. Chloe is passionate about the beautiful country and the Portuguese language In her free time she enjoys traveling, kayaking, teaching, learning and her corgi, Nix. She has been in early childhood education for seven years now. Recently moving back to MT from Phoenix, AZ she is excited to be a part of the CFS team!