Heritage Teaching Staff
Julie Ackerly- Third Grade Literature, Worship
Julie grew up here in beautiful Kalispell, Montana and attended the University of Montana, where she received her BA in Communication Studies in 2003. For the last six years, Julie has homeschooled her own children and has taught small group early elementary classes. She is excited to join the staff as the third grade literature teacher this year. She loves exploring with her amazing husband and three wonderful kids, spending time with family and friends, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, skiing, singing, reading, and crafting...won’t Heaven be great when we have time for all that and so much more?!
Kamela Anderson- English Studies
Kamela is a life-long native of Montana who developed a love for learning in a variety of different school settings. Educated in Christian schools and public schools alike, Kamela embraced the rewards and challenges of homeschooling her three daughters and is committed to teaching a new generation a love for and excellence in imparting the word in all its forms. She received her B.A. in English and Theatre along with her teaching certification in grades 6-12 from Montana State University in 2000. After a year of teaching sixth grade at Heritage Christian School (HCS) in Bozeman, MT, she worked with the school to develop and launch its high school program in 2003. She then returned to the classroom taking her original sixth graders through their years of English studies until they graduated in 2007. In addition to English studies, she has taught pre-Algebra, Biblical Studies, and produced and directed multiple theatrical productions for HCS and the Bozeman community. After six years at home with her young children, Kamela is privileged to return to the classroom alongside of them teaching and instructing in wisdom and virtue.
Tara Bailey - Fourth grade
Tara Bailey grew up in Southern California and graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara with a B.A. in elementary education. After teaching for a year she married her husband, Matt, and continued teaching 4th and 5th grade until the birth of their first of five children. They moved to Montana in 2002 right out of residency and Matt began his practice as an orthopedic surgeon in Whitefish. Tara homeschooled until her oldest reached high school, learned of Heritage, and enrolled her into it’s amazing program. Now with most of her children attending, she is excited to join the staff of teachers. She enjoys skiing, hiking, mountain biking, running, and reading as well as spending time with and taking care of her family.
Kristin Cotton- Kindergarten, K-2nd Science
Kristin Cotton, a life long Montanan, grew up in Bozeman. She and her family moved to the Flathead valley four years ago, now residing in the beautiful, little town of Lakeside. Kristin attended and graduated from Gonzaga University with a BA in Spanish and a minor in Biology. During this time, Kristin was able to live in Valencia, Spain and finish her Spanish studies. After graduating from Gonzaga, Kristin moved to Omaha, Nebraska to attend Creighton University’s accelerated nursing program, graduating with a B.S.N, Magna Cum Laude. Kristin has practiced nursing over the last nineteen years in many areas of health care. She has considered it such an honor and privilege to be able to help and care for people during difficult times in their lives. Kristin has been married for fourteen years to her amazing husband Ted. They have two wonderfully fun kids, Macy and Teddy, and a handsome, red, golden retriever, Willie Nelson. She and Ted have been classically educating their kids for four years. Kristin has a passion for God’s word and has enjoyed studying with BSF. When there is free time, Kristin enjoys being outside hiking, mountain biking, and taking the cold plunge into Flathead Lake.
Rebecca Chertudi- 4th-6th History
Rebecca Chertudi grew up in beautiful Missoula, Montana, where she learned to love the humanities. Although her degree at Washington and Lee University in Virginia was in East Asian Languages and Literatures, she also studied Classics extensively. Two years after graduating, Rebecca and her husband, James, left the United States for Japan, where they developed their own curricula and taught English to approximately 3,500 elementary and junior high school students. The lure of teaching in the United States was too strong to resist, however, and after three years in Japan Rebecca returned to Montana, where she developed her own Latin curriculum and taught Latin and History at Whitefish Christian Academy for four years. Rebecca joined the Heritage community last year, when she worked in the nursery, and is thrilled to return this year as a history teacher. She can't wait to show her students that, no matter how many years have passed, the stories of the past are just as fascinating and relevant as they were when history was being made.
Rachel Cremer- Second grade, K-3rd Science, Head of K-3rd
Rachel grew up in Fargo, North Dakota and graduated from the University of North Dakota with a BA in Elementary Education in 1996. She taught school and coached swimming until marrying Jake in 1999 when they moved to Plains, Montana. She continued to teach in Hot Springs, Montana until the birth of their first born, Isaac. Rachel homeschooled her three sons and daughter until 2014 when she returned to full time teaching and pursued an Integrated Arts (MFA) Degree at the University of Montana. She is very excited to teach at Heritage and return to homeschooling. In her free time she can be found drinking a hot cup of chai, reading, hiking, and driving between Hot Springs and Kalispell.
Celena Daniels - First Grade
Celena Daniels grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and graduated from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville with a B.A. in Health Science. Upon completion of her Bachelor's degree, she packed up all her belongings and drove out to New Braunfels, TX to be a part of TBarM Camp's first discipleship program. There her passion for recreation and ropes course facilitation was born. Her career involved managing 5 different ropes courses and facilitating programs in team-building, problem solving, and communication. She can be found reading game books, playing games, or thinking up a new game as well as skate skiing in the winter or hiking and mountain biking in the summer. She is excited about merging her passion for games and learning in the classroom. Celena has served in the classroom as an assistant for the past 3 years in Kindergarten and 1st grade. She and her husband have been married for 13 years and have one daughter in 3rd grade. She has really enjoyed teaching her at home and being a part of this wonderful community.
Nicole Fisher - Humanities- 6th & 9th-10th, Head of 4th-6th grade
Nicole attended Southern Methodist University where she received a B.A. in English, with a creative writing minor, and a B.F.A. in Communications, with an emphasis in film. One-semester short of receiving her M.A. in English, she left the world of academia in 1994 to embrace the high-calling of motherhood. For the past 17 years, she and her husband Dan have homeschooled their six children. Nicole delights in educating herself and others. She has taught writing and humanities at Heritage Learning and has worked as curriculum advisor and developer for several years. Nicole earnestly desiries to point families and students toward God, the ultimate source of all truth, goodness, and beauty.
Jayne Hartman - High School History
Jayne Hartman grew up in the Flathead Valley. After high school she had the opportunity to work and travel around the U.S. for a few years. She attended S.O.M. in New Mexico. Returning to Montana she met her love, Garren, while working with a church youth group. They have two daughters, Mabelle and Kricket. As a family they enjoy traveling, #hartmansbigcitysadventure and seeing as much history in each location as possible. Jayne is starting her eleventh year homeschooling and cherishes the benefit of working together in community, while having accountability for herself and her daughters. She loves teaching a group of students. Geography and history are her favorite subjects. For the last three years she assisted Mrs. Fisher, Mrs. Dunham, Mrs. Cremer, and Mr. Longenecker in Heritage humanities classes and is looking forward to this year.
Michelle Hernandez - 7th & 8th History
Michelle Hernandez was born in Tokyo, Japan, and moved to Montana when she was three. Surrounded by huckleberries and wildflowers, she grew up homeschooled with her four siblings. When she was twelve, Michelle moved back to Japan where she and her family worked as organic farmers for Nozomien, an organization for special needs adults, which was run by her grandparents, the pastor and wife of Tokyo Covenant Church. Six years later, she returned to Kalispell with her family and attended Flathead Valley Community College, transferring to Montana State University to obtain her Bachelor of Arts in English Education. Upon graduation, she moved to Okinawa, Japan, and taught at an international, bilingual church school for a year. Once again returning to Montana, she worked at Whitefish Christian Academy where she fell in love with the classical Christian education model. There, she taught both in the elementary and middle school. Michelle is married to her best friend, Nik, and is the happy mother of two young boys. She is blessed to be a part of the Heritage community and have the opportunity to teach students -- all to the glory of our Lord.
Trina Karow - Art
Trina has been immersed in art for her whole life. She began painting in adult oil classes at age 10 and went to work at an art gallery at age 13. There she learned matting, framing, and art restoration. In high school, she studied under nationally recognized NWS/AWS watercolor artist Judy Morris, was art editor of the Student Literary Magazine, first place winner of the Harry & David Bear Crk Corp card design/scholarship, and her artwork was featured in the Best of the Best art shows at the Rogue Gallery. Trina went to college to become an art teacher at the University of Oregon and Southern Oregon State University, and graduated from Bilmes School of Art in 1993. She taught art before having children, and has spent the last several years as full time, homeschool mom of three boys: Caleb, Nate, and Elijah. She has continued to use her talents for the Lord through some mural work at schools, churches and private homes, VBS stage and classroom designs, and occasional art workshops for home school students in both Wyoming and Montana. Trina has been in the classroom at Heritage for five years, and her talent speaks for itself.
Gwen Kashmier- Latin
Gwen Kashmier has lived in Montana all her life and moved to Kalispell in 2010. She attended Montana State University and received her B.A. in K-12 Health Enhancement (P.E. and Health) in 1999. She taught In West Yellowstone for 4 years as she coached, advised classes, and organized track meets. Gwen has taught classical studies for 3 years with Classical Conversations, which included Latin. She has been involved with co-op groups and serves the children and youth at her church. Most of all, Gwen loves to see kids know the love that the Lord has for them, which includes her 2 children that she has homeschooled for 11 years. Gwen also enjoys the outdoors, crafting, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Angela Kenney- PE
Angie is a fourth generation Montanan, growing up in the majestic Flathead Valley. Teaching her 3 children at home, she values how partnering with Heritage Learning provides support, relationships, accountability, and enhances their education. She and her husband, Mark, are passionate about supporting and investing in their homeschool community as they are both Flathead Valley Homeschool graduates. Angela is actively involved in the Flathead Valley Homeschool Athletic Association, coaching 5th-8th grade girls’ volleyball and supporting her husband as he coaches high school basketball. She enjoys skiing, camping, playing basketball and volleyball, paddle boarding, and recreating in God’s beautiful creation with her family.
Marlo Lancaster - Science
Marlo has taught the biological sciences for the past 17 years. She has her secondary teaching certificate in Biology, Health, and Physical Education and has held her certification in Washington, Arizona, and Montana. Teaching in both the private and public sectors she brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her subject area. Marlo currently homeschools her two boys. Well-known at Heritage for her dynamic personality, Marlo has a unique ability to make science entertaining. Her students are engaged because her enthusiasm is contagious!
Buffi Lloyd - 5th & 6th English & Literature
Buffi grew up adventuring in California and met her husband while finishing radiology technology certification at LLU, Florida. She obtained her certification in abdominal, obstetrical, and gynecological as well as cardiovascular sonography at ADU and Guam where she worked at a mission clinic with her husband for six years. California was then home for 10 years before moving to Montana last year with their four children. Buffi has worked as a radiologic technologist and sonographer for the last 23 years but reduced to per diem schedules starting in 2009 when she decided to attempt her lifelong goal of teaching. Her children and a few friends were her first victims and all have survived. She has worked with others in co-op situations and taught Essentials in Classical Conversations. After two years at Heritage, she has fallen in love with the mixture of strong Classical Christian curriculum, prayerfully friendly staff, and fabulous children. She is in the process of actually getting a degree to officially do what she really wants to do – teach.
Niki MacLean- Spanish
Niki became fluent in Spanish while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic from 1996-1998. A lifelong learner, Niki has been teaching Spanish and ESL classes for students in preschool through college in both public and private school settings for the last 18 years. She has led student trips to Argentina and Mexico and has also traveled in Paraguay and Venezuela. Originally from Denver, CO, Niki and her family moved to her husband’s hometown of Whitefish in 2010. She holds a BA in Business Administration from the University of Oregon and a Colorado teaching license. Locally, she has worked as a Music Together teacher at North Valley Music School, taught Kid’s College and Continuing Education Spanish classes at FVCC and served as a Youth Minister for six years. She has also coordinated field trips for Heritage for the last three years. She is passionate about dynamic, relationship based education, serving Christ and forming future disciples for our Lord!
Bekah Marsh- Choir
Bekah grew up in St. Louis Missouri and graduated from Covenant College with a major in Biblical Studies and a minor in Music. Right after college Bekah taught Bible to both High School and Middle School. After teaching Bekah became the music director and choir director at her church in Colorado Springs and now is the music and choir director at Faith Covenant Presbyterian Church in Kalispell. Bekah is married to Jeremy, who is the Head of School at Stillwater Christian School, and has four children: Jimmy (10), Benjamin (8), Emeline (7) and Betsy (4). Bekah is so excited to be working at Heritage sharing her love and passion for music. In her free time she can be found running, hiking, reading, or playing the piano or guitar.
Ashley Mason- Science
Ashley started her career in music in 1986 as a voice major at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem North Carolina. She was nearly finished with her degree in voice performance when she transferred to Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina to receive her B.S. in Geology with a minor in field biology in 1992. Ashley then came to Montana to teach for the Glacier Institute and completed graduate work at The University of Montana – Missoula in Environmental Studies. A veteran naturalist and conservation educator, Ashley is a former Ranger Naturalist for Glacier National Park and educator for organizations, such as The Glacier Institute, Swan Ecosystem Center, and Flathead Audubon Society. In 2012 she was voted Audubon Educator of the year. Currently she teaches Geology courses at Flathead Valley Community College and is a Naturalist/Instructor with Road Scholar, The Glacier Institute, and the MSU Outdoor Campus Ministry Program. Ashley loves to take the miraculous drama of God’s Creation and turn it into a story that will captivate her students. She has homeschooled her two daughters for the past 10 years.
Lisa Ochenrider- Third grade English
Lisa grew up in Alaska, where she developed a deep love for Jesus, people, and adventuring in the great outdoors. She attended Multnomah Bible College in Portland, OR, and then went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Alaska, Anchorage in 2003. In 2004 she met a wonderful, passionate, and adventurous medical student named Mark, moved to Washington, and married him. They spent the next 12 years completing residency, starting and running a small medical practice, and having 5 beautiful children. In 2016, the adventure continued as they moved back to the Flathead Valley where her husband grew up. Lisa has been an educator since 2012, first at a private school and then in co-ops and home-school settings. At Heritage, she loves the combination of wonderful teachers and classmates mixed with the gift of having her children at home most days. Lisa began teaching 3rd Grade English at Heritage in 2018. She loves having the opportunity to get to know the students and families, and hopes to inspire them to love learning and know the depth of God's love for them. During their free time, the Ochenriders enjoy time with friends, camping, rafting, hiking, and exploring God's beautiful creation together.
Beth Rainford- 7th & 8th grade English and Literature
Beth and her husband Eddie live in Whitefish, MT and have four children. Beth went to Willamette University in Salem, Oregon where she earned her Bachelor’s in Spanish and Environmental Science. As a post-graduate, she earned her Master’s Degree in Teaching. She taught at the middle school level for three years before staying home to be with her two youngest children. For the last 13 years Beth has used her training as a teacher to homeschool her children, to pastor youth, and to coach high school track. Her passions include her family, the Bible, teaching youth about the amazing expanse of God’s love, and running. She is very blessed that God has asked her back into the teaching world with a community of such faith filled teachers, parents, and students.
Erin Tintzman - Community Development & Assistant Director
Erin grew up in Idaho, immersed in classical education. She graduated from the University of Colorado with a BS in dental hygiene. Erin has a unique passion for life and helping others grow. Married to her fabulous husband, Dan, and mother of four amazing children, she has homeschooled for ten years by the Lord’s faithful leading. With an appreciation and love for people, Erin uses her gifts to build up the Heritage community through organizing and overseeing the class days, as well as many "behind the scenes" tasks, which are too numerous to list. She cherishes the Heritage community and the support, opportunities, and relationships that come from studying together. Erin enjoys the sun, hiking, biking, singing, crafting, camping, skiing, down comforters, Sweet Peaks Ice Cream and coffee.
Vicky Tronstad - K-5th Math Skills
Vicky was born in Idaho and spent most of her childhood and adult life in Northwest and Central Montana. A Flathead Valley native, Vicky attended Montana State University and received a Bachelor's degree in Nursing. She has been involved with homeschool coop groups in years past and a part of Heritage Learning for the last fouryears. Vicky is a passionate nurse, dedicated wife, and devoted homeschool mom of three. She and her husband, Hans, along with their children enjoy all the outdoor activities that Montana has to offer.
Jane Turner - Science & Program Director
Jane and her husband, Josh, are the founders of Heritage Learning. Jane graduated from Covenant College in 2003 with a B.S. in Biology, and a minor in chemistry. While attending college, she worked with a homeschool supplement group in Chattanooga, TN. For several years, Jane tutored math and science and has now taught elementary and middle school lab science classes at Heritage for nine years. She is a homeschool mom of nine children who loves all kinds of curriculum and research, hiking, camping, traveling, and a clean house. Jane loves to share her passion for science because the study of creation reveals much about our great Creator.
Susan Wagner- Art
Susan Wagner, mother of five, has been a committed homeschooler for the last 24 years. She received her B.A. in Home Economics Education with an emphasis in Clothing and Textile Design and a minor in Art Education from the University of Montana. She taught high school home economics before having children and has led many homeschool activities over the years, including teaching a Model United Nations class. Besides enjoying teaching students, she loves art and working with a variety of mediums. She worked with ceramics in college and has since been enjoying watercolor when time allows.