MARCIA BROWNLEE, Executive Director

MARCIA BROWNLEE, Executive Director

Marcia grew up in small-town Michigan exploring corn fields, sand dunes, wildflowers, and tadpoles. She moved to Missoula in 2009 when she began teaching preschool at Clark Fork School. Marcia has been our Executive Director since October 2012. She has a Master's Degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education in Learning and Teaching. In her current position she is able to combine her experience in the classroom with her extensive experience attending to the diverse needs of a non-profit organization. Additionally, Marcia is currently serving on the City of Missoula’s Climate and Energy Team to support citywide sustainability initiatives. When not working, she can typically be found hiking, cross country skiing, hunting, star gazing, fly fishing, or reading.



 KRIS LITZ, Head of Curriculum and Instruction

KRIS LITZ, Head of Curriculum and Instruction

As a Missoula native, Kris loves getting others excited about learning in our 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 started teaching at CFS as a 3rd-5th grade teacher, after which she designed and taught in our Kids-Niche after-school program for 4 years. She has been the Head of Curriculum and Instruction since 2016 and loves helping teachers flourish in the classroom. Outside of work, Kris can be found in the mountains and rivers with her husband, their delightful little girl, and their two boisterous dogs.


 SHELBY MARSHALL, KINNIKINNICK 1ST GRADE TEACHER AND HEAD OF FACILITIES AND MARKETING

SHELBY MARSHALL, KINNIKINNICK 1ST GRADE TEACHER AND HEAD OF FACILITIES AND MARKETING

Shelby grew up in Dallas, Texas, a place very different from Montana. As a kid, she always enjoyed riding her bike around the neighborhood, climbing trees, and swimming in the community pool but wasn’t really exposed to adventuring in the wilderness until after graduating from the University of North Carolina and moving west to Missoula in 2013. Since arriving in Montana, Shelby has loved working in outdoor education across the state and exploring all the ways the outdoors can nurture growth and promote curiosity and connection. In this time, she has developed a deep appreciation for the positive influence time spent in nature can have for students of all ages.  She has worked at such nonprofits as the Watershed Education Network in Missoula, the Glacier Institute in Glacier National Park and Flathead National Forest, and Montana Outdoor Science School in Bozeman. In her free time, she has thoroughly enjoyed exploring and experiencing all that Montana has to offer including skiing, climbing, backpacking, hiking, biking, and gardening. She can often be found doing any one of these activities or cooking, dancing, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and partaking in general merriment around town.

 LISA LANG, Chickadee Classroom

LISA LANG, Chickadee Classroom

Lisa grew up in Minnesota and lived in North Carolina for a few years before moving to Missoula in 2007.  Lisa graduated from the University of Montana with a BA in Elementary Education with a concentration in science.  Before working at CFS, Lisa worked at Watson Children's Shelter and substitute taught at schools across Missoula.  She and her husband Mitchell welcomed their daughter, Abigail Grace Lang, on September 2nd, 2013.  Lisa enjoys watching Abigail grow, reading, sewing, biking, traveling, and much more when time allows.  She can often be found hiking with her beagles Fayt and Murphy or exploring all that the Western US has to offer with her husband and daughter.  She has been at CFS since 2012.  Lisa is currently pursuing a master's degree in Early Childhood Education. 

 SARAH CLARK, Chickadee Classroom

SARAH CLARK, Chickadee Classroom

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.

 DANIELLE BAILEY, Steller's Jay Classroom

DANIELLE BAILEY, Steller's Jay Classroom

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.

 
 PAIGE VIERA, Steller's Jay Classroom

PAIGE VIERA, Steller's Jay Classroom

Paige grew up experiencing the natural beauties found in her native Montana as well as California and Washington. Working in varying educational settings and age groups over the past decade has given her a love for lifelong learning and a greater scope for the development of a child from toddler to teenager and beyond. Paige was encouraged early on to travel and took her classroom from the local arena to greater explorations, learning about global villages and people around the world.  Studying French and History she graduated from the University of Montana with a B.A in Liberal Studies.  Combining her joy of travel, art and education Paige began personal and professional studies in Rudolf Steiner pedagogy and training in Waldorf elementary schools both in California and Holland.  Focused on learning and sharing knowledge on creative holistic teaching in practical ways she traveled to England in 2014 to live and work in an intentional Camphill community with adults with varying mental and physical needs. Returning with greater intent and motivation to make a difference in Missoula and Clark Fork School she delights in teaching, sharing and growing in the amazing community of parents, staff and children!  When not at work she loves all things art related as well as painting, reading, collecting vintage treasures, music and films, photography, and most of all sharing time with family and friends!

 Jenna Tomiello, beargrass Lead Teacher, Harvest of the Month Educator

Jenna Tomiello, beargrass Lead Teacher, Harvest of the Month Educator

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 a couple years teaching at Tenafly Nature Center, she ventured out west to U of M, and got her M.S. in Environmental Studies, focusing much of her coursework on integrating environmental education and sustainable agriculture. After graduate school, she moved to the Hudson Valley and worked on farms in different capacities, and ended up at an Earth Literacy focused charter school, teaching Kindergarten and 1st grade. Jenna and her dog Leopold-Zebulon recently made a permanent move to Missoula, to start a life in the mountains hiking, cycling, trail running, backpacking, and exploring. When Jenna's not looking for birds or searching for wildflowers, she's usually drinking coffee, gardening, writing her friends letters, or throwing a stick for Leo.

 Jocelyn catterson, meadowlark classroom

Jocelyn catterson, meadowlark classroom

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. Her first experience teaching was in high school at the outdoor laboratory school in her hometown. After a week of teaching ecology to 6th graders in that hands-on, outdoor setting, she fell in love with environmental education and has been teaching ever since. Jocelyn attended the University of Montana to obtain her degree in Resource Conservation. During this time, she 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. After graduating, she moved to the mountains of New Mexico with her fiance in order to live off the grid and further develop her teaching career. There she ran the after school and summer camp program for a private school in Santa Fe and worked as a 5th grade teacher in the public schools. Most recently, she helped the Austin Waldorf School develop an outdoor education program while spending a year living in the Texas heat. Jocelyn loves to collect edible plants, backpack with her fiance and two dogs, and nurture her childlike curiosity of the natural world. She is incredibly happy to be back in Montana once again and feels blessed to be working at such a wonderful school.

 
 Michele McGuire, Explorer Lead Teacher

Michele McGuire, Explorer Lead Teacher

Michele McGuire moved often in her early childhood, living in three states - Arizona, Utah and California - before the age of ten. She spent many summers wandering with her sister through the Sequoia National Forest, wading through rivers, and climbing trees. When she was thirteen, her family moved to Death Valley National Park, where she would spend the remainder of her childhood. Although she grew to love and appreciate the desert in many ways, after high school she fulfilled her dream of moving to Montana to be among the forests and rivers once again. In 2016 she obtained her K-8 teaching license and a K-12 Reading Specialist Endorsement. She also began her first year teaching as the lead teacher in an early Kindergarten program in Kalispell, MT.  In 2017 she obtained her M.Ed. degree from the University of Montana, in Missoula. Michele believes that kids and adults alike thrive in nature and open air, and that being outside makes us all more open, humble and curious - a mindset just perfect for learning.  She spends most of her free time playing with her sweet Border Collie, Beso, enjoying live music, walking along the river, hunting for interesting rocks, hoping to spot familiar wildflowers, or floating on her paddle board.

 Jessa Ouellette, kinnikinnick assistant teacher

Jessa Ouellette, kinnikinnick assistant 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!

 Celia Manny, Steller’s Jay Assistant and before care teacher

Celia Manny, Steller’s Jay Assistant and before care teacher

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.

 
 Michelle Becker, fireweed lead Teacher

Michelle Becker, fireweed 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!

 Gillian Thornton, Huckleberry Lead and sustainability friday educator

Gillian Thornton, Huckleberry Lead and sustainability friday educator

Gillian is originally from Kalispell, MT where she grew up hiking in Glacier National Park, swimming in Flathead Lake, and hunting for huckleberries in the Swan Range. She received her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Oregon, and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana, with a focus on sustainability and environmental education. Since moving to Missoula in 2014, Gillian has taught in preschools, at the Montana Natural History Center as a summer camp instructor, and worked as an educator for the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program. She loves to travel, and has had the pleasure of milking sheep for cheese in Italy, studying mountain mythology in Peru’s Sacred Valley, and macheting her way through the jungles of Costa Rica. But Montana is where her heart truly lies, and in her free time she enjoys backpacking, gardening, cross-country skiing, and cooking in her backyard pizza oven. 

 Claire Manny, shooting stars lead teacher

Claire Manny, shooting stars lead teacher

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. 

 
 Kelly Byard, Butterfly, Grounds Assistant, Lead Teacher Thursday Beargrass, and Sustainable Art Educator

Kelly Byard, Butterfly, Grounds Assistant, Lead Teacher Thursday Beargrass, and Sustainable Art Educator

Kelly grew up in Washington State camping and biking around the San Juan Islands and the Puget Sound. As a Girl Scout, she developed a love of earth and art through exploring the forests and rivers around her. She graduated from Western Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in Art Education. She had the opportunity to move to Montana to pursue environmental education in 2014 and has put down roots ever since. Kelly has held a variety of positions taking care of the earth and taking care of people by teaching, being a caregiver, building trails, leading field trips, pulling noxious weeds, and learning with her students. She is passionate about sustainability, bicycle transportation, hiking, foraging, backpacking, eating local food, building community, and making everything from scratch. She cannot typically be found in her free time because she is too busy enjoying life with her wife in Montana. 

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Stephanie Lockyer, Fireweed assistant

Growing up in Western Michigan, Stephanie has always felt at home in the woods and on the beach. After high school, she set out on her own and fell in love with the Rocky Mountains and exploring the west. She began her career in environmental stewardship and sustainability as an ACE AmeriCorps member in Flagstaff, AZ.   She went on to become a field crew leader for the American Conservation Experience, leading AmeriCorps youth and international volunteers on conservation projects all throughout the Southwest.  Stephanie’s passion for plants, wildlife, conservation, exploring, and living in her tent flourished as she worked as a field technician for a Greater Sage Grouse study in Nevada and Oregon.  During her second field season, she met her husband, Caleb. They moved back to Missoula where Stephanie studied Wildlife Biology and they started their family. Stephanie can now be found spying on birds, hiking, foraging, and identifying wildflowers and mushrooms with her two little naturalists, James and Iris.

 

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CLAIRE COMPTON, BEARGRASS ASSISTANT

Growing up in the urban landscape of Oakland, CA, Claire relished every opportunity to get outdoors – from gardening in her parents’ backyard to kayaking in Tamales Bay. She spent much of her early twenties exploring the American landscape until she landed, by chance, in Missoula. Since moving to Montana, Claire has dedicated her time to learning about her neighboring plant and animal communities and is especially interested in the myriad relationships Montanans have with the land. She recently received her BA from the University of Montana in English with a double focus in Literature and the Environment and Creative Writing and has since been teaching Creative Writing at Missoula’s Juvenile Correction Facility. A perennial student and explorer, she spends her days reading everything from ethnobotany to poetry, hiking among ponderosas and cottonwoods, observing the insects and birds who frequent her garden, and diving into the wild possibilities of imaginative life.

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Courtney Jaynes, Huckleberry Assistant

Courtney grew up in the Kootenai River Valley of northwestern Montana, where she enjoyed fishing, hiking, and exploring in the beautiful Cabinet Mountains. She moved to Missoula with her husband in 2013 and received a Bachelor’s degree in Natural History Biology from the University of Montana in 2016. She has gained experience as an educator while working for spectrUM Discovery Area and the Montana Natural History Center and has most recently been substitute teaching in Missoula elementary schools. She also remains an avid volunteer with MNHC’s Visiting Naturalist in the Schools program. In her free time, Courtney enjoys exploring the vast natural areas in and around Missoula, bird watching, plant identification, nature journaling, baking, quilting, and playing with her puggle, Miley.