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 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, 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, the Glacier Institute, and Montana Outdoor Science School. In her free time, she enjoys exploring and experiencing all that Montana has to offer including skiing, backpacking, hiking, biking, and gardening.
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.
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 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.
Anders grew up skateboarding in the urban streets of Denver, Colorado. His childhood was filled with car camping trips and adventures to Moab, Utah which helped spark his curiosity in the outdoors. When it came time to go to college, he chose the high desert of Durango, Colorado and earned a BA in History and a minor in snowboarding, backpacking, rock climbing and river floating (though not recognized by Fort Lewis College). Post-college, Anders spent two summers working with youth in a farm-structured environmental education setting in central California. Anders transitioned to Kalispell, Montana in 2011 to continue work with youth through a restorative justice program. When not at work he enjoys hiking all around the state, especially in the Bob, fly fishing, plucking strings on the guitar and still pushing around on the skateboard. Anders has ridden motorcycles through Vietnam, taught in schools in Guatemala, India and Myanmar, worked on a coffee farm in Honduras. However, like a cat landing on his feet he always seems to land upright again, back in the state of Montana, ready for more adventures.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Erin Petersen, Steller's Jay Aide and BEfore care
As a native from southern Louisiana, Erin grew up splitting her time between the vibrant city of New Orleans and exploring her backyard woods and neighborhood bayou. Living in a more rural suburb of the city offered Erin a chance to develop a love for playing outdoors in the water and woods, as well as develop an appreciation for the music, food, and culture of southern Louisiana. Influenced by the Cajun culture and language in her area, Erin attended Louisiana State University and chose to study French and International Studies. Enamored with the French language, Erin studied in Nice, France and later after graduation, taught English for a year in a rural village in France called Villefranche de Rouergue. Her time spent in France, and especially in her rural, agro-centric village with its focus on organic, local food, sparked Erin’s interests in food, agriculture, and the environmental issues encompassed in those fields. Upon returning to New Orleans for the next two years, she worked at a French immersion school as an after-school counselor for Pre-k through 4th graders, a substitute teacher, and eventually a teaching assistant in their first grade classroom. Last year, she decided to make her love of sustainable agriculture official and chose to pursue an Environmental Studies master’s degree at the University of Montana, thus bringing her to Missoula! In her free time, Erin loves to trail run (although adjusting to the mountains and cold weather has been tricky for a southern girl!), bike, swim, do yoga, and go to her crossfit gym in town. She also enjoys growing and cooking her own food, perusing the farmers’ market, and baking healthy treats!
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.
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.
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.
Maria grew up in Bozeman, Montana, riding the Bridgers and floating the Madison River. She enjoyed dancing cumbias and cooking empanadas in her wonderfully loud Bolivian home with her mom, dad, sister and brother. She moved to Missoula in 2016 to study at the University of Montana and quickly fell in love with the Clark Fork community. Maria now loves biking around Blue Mountain and eating Bridge pizza. She has visited Bolivia multiple times in her 20 years, but hopes to trek around the rest of South America someday soon!