Melissa Moran – Chair
Melissa lives in Bozeman since 2014 after having lived in Livingston since the beginning on 2001 and serves on the Board of a non-profit Montessori school in Livingston. She and her husband own a restaurant group and have two kids in the Bozeman elementary schools. Melissa is passionate about teachers, as they spend so much time with our children and influence them a lot. She feels it is really important for parents to become involved in their children’s classrooms and she is honored to be part of the Foundation/s organization and to have kids in the Bozeman schools.
Kevin Black, Vice Chair
Kevin is a Bozeman native and attended Bozeman High School. He graduated from Montana State University in 1999. Kevin managed the Wingate Inn for seven years, worked at a software company for two years and is now a commercial real estate agent, project manager and commercial property manager at Gene Cook Real Estate. Kevin has been the volunteer chair since 2002 for the Gallatin Valley Tournament Committee, as well as the Bozeman Area Chamber Green Coat. Kevin and his wife Amanda have two children at Morning Star. Kevin also coaches soccer, football and has been a basketball coach for local elementary and middle school traveling teams.
Renae Pine, Secretary
Renae was born and raised in northwestern North Dakota in the town of Crosby. She received a degree in Elementary Education at the University of North Dakota. She is a certified K-8 and Early Childhood teacher. After graduating college, Renae moved to New Jersey where she taught in a private school for 3 years and then in a public school for 7 years. During that time, she continued her education at Montclair State University in Environmental Education and Administration. She married Jon, a physician, and moved to Tewksbury, NJ where they lived for 16 years. While there, she was an almost constant presence in the classrooms of her 3 children as well as an active volunteer for many organizations, the bulk of which was for the Tewksbury Education Foundation and for the Upper Raritan Watershed Association. After having a vacation home in Bozeman for 16 years, Renae and her family moved to Bozeman 2 years ago. She currently has 3 children in the Bozeman schools, one at CJMS and 2 at BHS. The Pine family loves the outdoor opportunities in the Bozeman area and is enjoying being part of such an actively involved community that have a shared commitment to education.
Trisha Zowada, Treasurer
Trisha Zowada is a vice president and branch manager of the Bozeman Kagy Stockman Bank office. Zowada, a Montana native, grew up on a farm and ranch in Sidney. She earned her bachelor of science degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance and economics from Montana State University-Billings. Zowada and her family moved to Bozeman in 2011. Having a seven year old daughter enrolled in the Bozeman school system and an educator for a sister has enhanced Zowada’s passion for education.
Wendy Blake is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Biology and a Masters from the University of Colorado in Genetics. Wendy worked in Genetic Counseling in Denver and New York. Wendy then attended the University of Houston Law School. Wendy and her husband Rob moved to Bozeman in 1999 and have two sons who attended Bozeman Public Schools. Wendy has been a volunteer at Hawthorne as a Parent Council Officer and the Bozeman Public Library Foundation Board and worked on its capital campaign. Wendy is currently serves on the board of the Friends of MSU Library and works at Clinical Research Group.
Denise Hayman has served fourteen years on the Bozeman School Board, four of those years as Board Chair. She has been on the teacher negotiations committee for thirteen years; she was instrumental in getting the committee to adopt a consensus-based approach to negotiations which has led to teachers and management working together on successful contracts. She is the recipient of the Marvin Heintz Award for outstanding achievement as a board member. Denise currently represents the district as a member of the Montana School Boards Association where she has served on the K-12 Vision Group providing key input to the Legislature that led to a successful 2013 school funding bill. Denise has been a board member of Montanans Against Toxic Burning for fourteen years; a group dedicated to ensuring Bozeman’s clean air and water are maintained. She is the past president of the Gallatin Valley Wilderness Association. She is a CAP (Child Advancement Project) mentor to a Bozeman Schools child and for the past four years has been instrumental in the capitol campaign to raise money for the Willson Auditorium Renovation. Denise is married and has two children. She has lived in Bozeman for twenty seven years.
Mandie Leipheimer was born and raised in Butte, Montana. She obtained her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Montana in 2000 and moved to the Bozeman community with her husband, Rex Leipheimer, in 2002. Her career background as an innovative business development strategist for companies like Hill-Rom, Countrywide, Washington Mutual and New Century, brings 15+ years of experience developing multi-million dollar sales channels to the Board of the Bozeman Schools. Mandie is currently partnered in several small businesses throughout the Bozeman, Belgrade and Butte communities. She is a resourceful problem-solver recognized for her ability to identify potential opportunities, lead and market effective business development and influence successful negotiations. Mandie co-leads Girl Scout Troop #3517 and has volunteered and acted as Cookie Manager for the Girl Scouts for the past 3 years. Mandie currently serves on the Morning Star Parent Advisory Council as Secretary and has a daughter, Alyvia, in third grade at Morning Star School. Mandie and Alyvia spend their summers working the “Angry Apple Orchard” at Flathead lake and volunteer weekly at the Mission Valley Animal Shelter in Polson, MT.
Dianne Corneer is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education and an M.Ed. in School Counseling. She was a school counselor in the Lincoln Public Schools for 31 years, the majority of which was at Lincoln High School, working in the areas of educational planning and student leadership programs. After spending a decade or more of summers in the Bozeman area camping and fishing, Dianne and her husband Gary moved to Bozeman in 2002, and were both fortunate to obtain positions at Bozeman High School. Dianne was a school counselor at Bozeman High for 13 years until her retirement in 2015. During her tenure at BHS, she developed a Student Leadership program with support from a SPARK grant from the Bozeman Schools Foundation and served as Chair of the BHS Counseling Department for 5 years. Dianne and Gary have one daughter who graduated from Colorado State University and is living in Fort Collins Colorado. Dianne is deeply committed to ensuring that all Bozeman students are able to find their path in life with knowledge of the resources available to enable them to make their dreams a reality. She is especially passionate about high school students and is committed to investing time and resources in the development of their skills, confidence and opportunities to become leaders and mentors for their peers.
Jim was born and raised in Nebraska. He attended college at the University of Nebraska in Kearney, was drafted into the U.S. Army the day after graduation and spent most of his military time in Germany. Jim then married his college sweetheart in 1958 and moved to Montana in 1959, where he started his career in funeral service in 1960 and retired as funeral director in 2010. Jim owned and operated Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service for 40 years. Jim is a former member of the Bozeman School board of trustees, member and past President of the Montana Funeral directors association, member and past President of Montana State University Athletic Scholarship Association, member, Elder and Deacon of First Presbyterian Church in Bozeman and a present member of the Bobcat Quarterback club. Jim is also a long-time member of the Bozeman Symphony Society and past President and a 40+ year member of the Bozeman Symphonic Choir.
Bill Mills has lived in Bozeman for 18 years and is the father of two kids in the Bozeman Public Schools System. Bill has extensive non-profit experience with his accounting firms serving over 400 NPO organizations inside and outside of Montana. As a volunteer, he has served local and statewide organizations for the past 18 years. Currently for the following organizations: CASA/Guardian Ad Litem Program of Gallatin County (Treasurer); Bozeman Deaconess Foundation (finance committee); and Cancer Support Community of MT (finance committee and past president).The Bozeman Schools Foundation offers Bill an opportunity to offer his talents to the foundation to further the mission of BSF to provide the best possible resources to students, faculty and administrators of the greater BSD.
Melissa has been in Bozeman for over 13 years and is the mother of two children in the Bozeman Public Schools. Melissa works for the Bozeman Deaconess Health group as a Physician and is a member of the GEC, the Health Group governing council as Chair of Finance subcommittee and chair of the Perinatal Section. She was also a Board member of the Children’s museum of Bozeman from 2004-2007. She cares for a lot of families on a daily basis and talks to parents all day, which has given her a great feel for what’s important to them. Especially when it comes to their kids’ educations!
Steve Langlas grew up in Billings , MT attending West High School. He attended Colorado State University and received a Bachelor’s in Construction Engineering. After college, he worked in San Francisco for 3 years for Thompson Brooks Inc., a custom residential contractor. In 2002, Steve moved back to Montana, and began Managing the Langlas & Associates Inc. office in Bozeman. Langlas & Associates specializes in commercial, industrial and custom residential contracting throughout Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Steve is a part of the second generation of Langlas & Associates, which was founded by his father and uncle in 1973. Steve and his wife Laney, have three children.
Carl was born and raised in the Midwest in New Albany, Indiana, in the Louisville Metro area and graduated from Hanover College after receiving a degree in history and teacher certification. The next seven years were spent teaching in a small, rural Indiana school, where he was awarded several times for my teaching. Moving west after earning a master’s in education from Indiana University, he worked for two years as the disciplinarian for an at-risk school for displaced youth. There he learned a great deal about different learning styles. Recently, he obtained his administrative license from the University of Montana. Finally, he has spent the last 15 years at Bozeman High School where he has both taught and served as Dean of Students. His wife, Carla, and Carl have been married for 21 years. They have one daughter and a dog that answers to ‘Austin.’ Carl enjoys traveling, is an avid golfer and a super-competitive person, and pretty much loves all sports—even as a long-suffering Cincinnati Bengals fan. He is excited about joining the Bozeman Schools Foundation board because he has witnessed firsthand the difference the foundation makes in our schools. I look forward to working with the board and other community members as they support Bozeman Schools in fostering quality education.
Between raising twins with her husband Mike, owning and running a business, and hitting the local trails, Toni’s life is in constant motion. And she wouldn’t have it any other way. Toni is driven by her endless pursuit of curiosity and knowledge, and enjoys creative problem-solving to help companies overcome their brand and marketing challenges. She has deep roots in creative strategy and brand-building processes, working to shape well-known companies such as Clarisonic, IT Cosmetics, Williams-Sonoma, Levi Strauss, Guess, Citibank, US Air, 3M, and Fidelity Investments. Toni is currently the owner of the brand and creative strategy group O’Berry Collaborative, located in downtown Bozeman. She works with national and international consumer brands to tackle ever-evolving business and marketing demands. Toni is proof that you can excel both creatively and strategically. She attended California College of the Arts in San Francisco and studied master’s-level work in design management at the University of Westminster in the United Kingdom. She has published work for Aspartore Books on “Marketing Ingenuity” and her agency’s work was recently featured in the well-respected marketing guidebook “The Art of Client Service”. Toni brings enthusiasm and creativity to the board, and is anxious to help drive future initiatives.
Ann Bernard is an 8th Grade English teacher at Sacajawea Middle School which is her dream job! She moved to Montana nine years ago, from upstate New York, and has never looked back. She is an outdoor enthusiast, spending her free time (what little there is:) hiking, camping, boating, and XC skiing with her three dogs and partner. She has a BA in English from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree in Education. She is a lifelong Ping Pong enthusiast and does what she can to spread her love of the game throughout the valley:) She is excited to be a part of this awesome organization!
After graduating Montana State University Tom worked as a Sales Executive for Life Investors Insurance Company of America working with self-employed individuals. He then took over a technology company looking to expand into the Gallatin Valley, where he led the sales efforts to get Connect Telephone and Computer Group off the ground in a new market.
In 2007 Tom began his career as an Insurance Agent at AAA MountainWest. After being promoted to Senior Insurance Agent, he led the MountainWest salesforce in P&C, life insurance and membership sales. In 2013 he became the Director of Insurance at AAA MountainWest and was quickly promoted to Vice President of Sales in 2014. Outside of AAA, he is an avid fisherman and golfer, husband, and the proud father of two growing boys. He loves to travel with his family and explore the world.
Dr. Robert Watson, Superintendent
Robert J. Watson was selected to serve as the Superintendent of Bozeman Public Schools in July 2012. Professionally, Rob has served as Principal of Bozeman High School (2009-2012), Middle and High School Principal, Missoula County Public Schools (2001-2009), Assistant Principal, Great Falls Public Schools (1991-2001), and mathematics and science instructor in Anchorage, AK (1993-1999). Dr. Watson has a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from Montana State University-Bozeman, a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Alaska, and received his Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Montana in 2008. Rob is serving on the Advisory Board to the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Montana, 2011. He has served as a Board Member for the Bozeman Public Library Foundation, United Way and Graduation Matters Committee. Dr. Watson believes providing leadership for the local education community is important in establishing high quality educational opportunities that all children need and deserve. He is looking forward to developing effective relationships in the Bozeman community and is proud to serve on the Bozeman Schools Foundation Board of Directors.
Steve Johnson, Asst. Superintendent for Business and Operations
Steve has been the Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operation for Bozeman Public Schools since 1986. He is a native Montanan and graduate of Montana State University. Steve has been involved with governmental accounting his entire professional career, with the Montana Legislative Auditor, Helena Public Schools and Bozeman Public Schools. Steve is an active member of the Montana Association of School Business Officials and has served as its President. Steve is also a past President of the Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce and currently serves as a Green Coat Ambassador for the Chamber. He just completed his 32nd year of officiating high school football.