Preschool Team

Diana de Santiago-Burnich Preschool Teacher

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B.A. Autonomous University of Chihuahua

Diana is originally from Chihuahua, Mexico. She joined the MIS preschool team in 2014. Previous to MIS, Diana worked at the Early Learning and Day Care Center at the WHATSOEVER Community Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Diana has a B.A. from the Autonomous University of Chihuahua. She is also the proud mother of MIS students Camila and Sofia.

Mishel Vatoussis Preschool Teacher

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B.A. Communication Studies, University of Montana
B.A. Art, University of Montana

Originally from Guatemala, Mishel has a B.A. in Communication Studies and a B.A. in Art from the University of Montana with minors in Japanese and Spanish. Mishel taught Art in Greece for five years at a multilingual preschool and one year as preschool coordinator before returning to Missoula. Mishel joined MIS in 2012.

Outside of school, Mishel enjoys traveling, yoga, cooking and spending time with her family.

Belen Iniesta Plaza Preschool Teacher

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Belén is from Almeria, Andalusia, Spain. She has more than 9 years of experience as a teacher and is passionate about her work. This brought her to Missoula (and MIS – yay!) so she could learn about new teaching methods.
In her free time she loves to travel, experience new cultures, read about education and dance (although she claims not to be very good at it).

Jairo Torres Preschool Teacher

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B.A. in Physical Education Politecnico Jaime Isaza Cadavid, Medellin

Jairo is from Colombia. He loves to dance and can’t wait to teach MISers some songs and dances from his home. Jairo is excited to be back in Missoula with his daughter, and MIS 6th grader, and wife, Janet (an MIS 2/3 teacher). They also brought their dog, Copito, who came on his first airplane trip.

Fabiola Morales Preschool Assistant


Sebastian Cardozo Preschool Assistant


K/1 Multiage Team

John Kratz K/1 Multiage Spanish Immersion Teacher

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M.A. Spanish & Education, City University
B.A. Spanish, Idaho State University

Prior to joining MIS in 2011, John taught in Mexico at the Jesuit University of Guadalajara. He taught children in immersion and bilingual K-12 settings in New York City and Pocatello, Idaho. John holds an M.A. in Spanish and Education from the City University of New York, Hunter College and a B.A. in Spanish from Idaho State University.

Amparo Vidal K/1 Teacher

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Master’s Degree in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language
Specialist in Play and Free Movement
Master Montessori Children’s House

Amparo comes from Valencia, Spain (located on the Mediterranean Sea) and came to Missoula with her family including Ananda, an MIS student! She has been teaching early childhood education since 2010.

Her passion is teaching through play and feels it should be the main learning activity for children. In Spain, Amparo has given lectures and workshops on play as a method of learning and has designed education spaces, as well. She is excited to learn while at MIS as well as share her educational outlook.

Outside of school, Amparo loves spending time with her family – cycling and traveling.

2/3 Multiage Team

Patricia Cano 2/3 Multiage Spanish Immersion Teacher

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B.A. Spanish, Universidad Pedagogica y Tecnologica de Colombia
M.A. Linguistics, University of Montana

Patricia joined the MIS faculty in 2002 after seven years of teaching experience in Colombia, her home country.  In Colombia, she taught English as a Second Language from preschool to university level.   She received a B.A. in Spanish and English language from Universidad Pedagogica y Tecnologica de Colombia.  She also completed her M.A. in Linguistics at the University of Montana with an emphasis in second language acquisition. Outside of her professional interests, she enjoys traveling, reading, dancing and spending time with her family and friends.

Janet Granda 2/3 Teacher

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Degrees in both Art and Education
Specialist in English teaching and Virtual Education

Janet is orginially from Colombia. She and is excited to return to MIS as part of the 2/3 multiage teaching team and brings fantastic creativity to her classroom. She loves spending time with her daughter, an MIS 6th grader, Jairo (her husband and fellow MIS faculty member) and their dog, Copito.

Anneliese Broman 2/3 Multiage English Specialist Teacher and Middle School Design

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B.A. University of Northern Iowa

Anneliese first came to MIS in the fall of 2013 as a student teacher to complete her B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa. Anneliese teaches English in the 2/3 classrooms as well as middle school design. In her free time, Anneliese loves to read, sew and play violin.

4/5 Multiage Team

Ibrahin Mena 4/5 Multiage Teacher

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B.A. Primary Education
M.S. Social Communication

Ibrahin Mena is from Caracas Venezuela. He came to MIS in 2016 from Los Arcos School where he taught elementary students from 2008 to 2014. Ibrahin was honored as “Teacher of the Year” in 2014. At the encouragement of his school, Ibrahin took a leave of absence during the 2014-2015 to continue his education in Malta. Ibrahin has a M.S. in Social Communication and B. A. degree in Primary Education.

Liz Parris 4/5 Multiage Teacher

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B.A. Spanish, University of Montana
Elementary Education, University of Alaska

Liz worked in MIS’s Preschool Program from 2012 to 2016 and now enjoys teaching Math and English to the 4/5 multiage. Prior to working at MIS, Liz worked in Fairbanks, Alaska as a 4th grade teacher. She began working with students in 2002 in a Head Start Program in Alaska. A graduate from the University of Montana, Liz earned a B.A. in Spanish and has a Post Baccalaureate Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Alaska. She enjoys all Missoula has to offer in the out of doors, spending time hiking and floating the rivers of Montana.

Middle School Team

Gillian Kessler Middle School English Teacher and Advisor

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B.A. English, Santa Clara University
B.A. Theater/Dance, Santa Clara University

Gillian has two B.A. degrees from Santa Clara University in English and Theater/Dance. She has extensive teaching experience as well as international experience throughout the Spanish speaking world in Europe and the Americas. Gillian joined MIS in 2005.

Jen Gebo Middle School Math and Science Teacher and Advisor

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BS in Zoology, University of Florida

Jen joined the MIS team in 2014. She enjoys inspiring our middle school students through inquiry-based science curriculum, paying special attention to the role of science in critical thinking skills, environmental responsibility, and social justice. She is also a Middle School Advisor, sharing her experience in Responsive Classroom techniques to bring social and emotional learning into focus.

Christian Baker K-8 Physical Education Specialist

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B.A. History, Oklahoma State University
B.S. Sociology, Oklahoma State University

Christian has a B.A. in History and a B.S. in Sociology from Oklahoma State University. He received his elementary teacher’s certification in Texas. He engages students in developing a love for physical activity and cooperative games at MIS. Christian joined MIS in 2010.

Ismara Partidas Middle School Teacher and Advisor

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Teaching, Simón Rodríguez University
Civil Engineering, Venezuela Army Force University

Ismara Maidyd de la Asunción Partidas Aguilar born in Caracas, Venezuela on August 15, 1985, she graduated as an Teacher in Simón Rodríguez University and as a Civil Engineer in Venezuela Army Force University, since 2008 worked in three schools in rotating shifts public and private and in the Carlos Soublette College as Spanish’s Teacher. Ismara joined the MIS Middle School team in July of this year.

Jeff Kessler Middle School Teacher - Individuals and Societies (History)

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B.A. History, Willamette University
M.S. Environmental Studies, University of Montana

Jeff has a B.A. in History from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. He earned an M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana. Jeff joined MIS in 2003 and has taught at all the grade levels from first grade to eighth grade. Prior to MIS, Jeff taught for three years in Southern California as a Teach for America Corps member.

Linda Gazzola Middle School Math Teacher

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M.A. Teaching Mathematics, University of Chicago
B.S. Industrial Engineering, Northwestern University

Linda has been teaching high school and middle school math since 1992. For 13 years, she worked at the Latin School of Chicago before moving to Montana in 2009. At the Latin School she taught a broad range of courses from pre Algebra to AP Computer Science as well as running the Geography Bee and coaching cross-country. Linda speaks Italian and appreciates any opportunity she has to use it. She enjoys traveling with her immediate family as well as with her large extended family. Linda joined MIS in 2015.

José Manuel Díaz MS Spanish Teacher

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Masters of Education
Masters of Linguistics

MIS is excited to welcome José Manuel to its faculty for the 2017-2018 school year. José Manuel has been working with students in his native Venezuela since 2004. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was the Head of the Language Department at Colegio Fundación Carlos Delfino. A true life-long learner, José Manuel is currently finishing his Ph.D. in education to complement his dual Master’s degrees in elementary education and linguistics.

Specialist Team

Loryn Zerr Preschool – 8th grade Art Specialist

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B.F.A., University of Montana
B.A. Education, University of Montana

Loryn is originally from Colorado. She received a B.F.A. with a ceramics emphasis and a B.A. in Education, Art Teaching emphasis, certified K-12 from the University of Montana. She taught art for many years at The Missoula Art Museum, Sentinel High School, Sussex School, the Flagship program, and at Zootown Community Arts Center. She remains active in the local arts community, showing her paintings, sculpture, and mixed media art whenever possible. Loryn joined MIS in 2012.

Laura Bovard Director of Admissions and Marketing

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B.S. Business Administration & International Studies, Iowa State University
Minor in Spanish, Iowa State University

Laura is a proud alumni parent who has been actively involved with MIS since 1996. As a parent volunteer, she helped to establish the MIS library and enjoys sharing her love of books, languages and adventure with MIS students. Laura has a BS in Business Administration and International Studies with a minor in Spanish from Iowa State University. Laura spent 12 years as a sales representative and marketing manager in the employee benefits industry. She worked for CIGNA Corp, Coventry Health, and as a consultant for Johnson Administrators. Laura currently serves on the Board of Directors for MCT and Arts Missoula (formerly the Missoula Cultural Council)

Christian Baker Middle School Advisor

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B.A. History, Oklahoma State University
B.S. Sociology, Oklahoma State University

Christian has a B.A. in History and a B.S. in Sociology from Oklahoma State University. He received his elementary teacher’s certification in Texas. He engages students in developing a love for physical activity and cooperative games at MIS. Christian joined MIS in 2010.

Natalie Baker Preschool – 8th grade Music Specialist

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Natalie has a broad educational background in Music, Theater, and Dance, including her teaching certificate in Elementary Education with endorsements in Special Education, Early Childhood Education, and Music Education. She is an ORFF certified teacher and is working on her M.A. in Education at the University of Montana. Natalie joined MIS in 2008.

Amity Interns

Marta Cobo Amity Intern

The words kind, creative and enthusiastic are used to describe Marta. She loves working with kids and has taken the opportunity to visit other countries to learn about cultures and languages!


  • volunteer to help children at risk of falling behind with their school tasks
  • speaks Spanish, English & Italian

When her time at MIS comes to a close, Marta wants to be a teacher at a bilingual primary school.

Isabel Garrido Amity Intern

Isabel is patient and hard working with an infectious, positive attitude. She is open-minded, creative and excited to immerse herself in the US experience while at MIS!


  • intern & volunteer to support the students with their school tasks in a small village in Ghana, Africa
  • speaks Spanish, English & some French

When her time at MIS comes to a close, she wants to be a teacher at a bilingual school in Spain.