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Nancy Characklis, Learning Circle Montessori School's founder and owner. Nancy established the school in 1980 after moving from Houston, Texas to Bozeman with her husband and two children in 1979. In Houston, she worked at School of the Woods Montessori school from 1972-1979. In 1977, she and her family spent a year in Switzerland where she taught in the Intercommunity School in Zurich. She has over 30 years experience as a Montessori teacher and three years experience in the public schools of Connecticut and Ohio. She graduated from Towson State College in 1964 with a B. S. in Elementary Education and earned two credentials from the American Montessori Society for Pre-Primary (2 ½ to 7 year olds) and Primary (6-9 year olds). In 1997 Nancy founded The Learning Circle Montessori Elementary School where she was the Head of School until June 2003. In recent years, the name has been changed to Bozeman Summit School, where Nancy continues to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees.

Jenna Fallaw, Director, joined The Learning Circle in the fall of 2011. She received her Pan American (3-6) Montessori early childhood credential from the Caspari Montessori Institute in 2003. In addition to her Montessori teaching experience, Jenna also has experience in science, outdoor and experiential education curriculum development and implementation in a variety of settings. She has served as president of both Montana Montessori Educators' Association and the Caspari Montessori Institute Alumni Association and volunteered as a board member for various community organizations. Jenna has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island. She is often seen running the trails with her dog or traveling the world with her husband, Mike.


Robyn Dincau, Financial Manager, began working at the Learning Circle Montessori School in March of 2014. She has over 30 years of bookkeeping experience and has a Certificate of Applied Science in Bookkeeping from MSU- Gallatin College. Over the past several years, Robyn has worked with and served on the board of Directors of Montessori schools and other Montana businesses. Robyn owns a bookkeeping company in Bozeman, as well as two other local businesses that  she and her husband run together. Robyn has two daughters who attended Montessori school from pre-primary through third grade and have now graduated from college.

Christine Phillips, Head Teacher, joined Learning Circle in the fall of 2007. Christine was awarded the Early Childhood Credential from the American Montessori Society in 2010, has a M.A. in Education from St. Catherine University and a B.S. in Natural Sciences from the University of Massachusetts. Her background includes teaching experiential and natural science; teaching English in Chiapas, Mexico; and running cross-cultural trainings for international students. She was formerly Head of School for Learning Circle. She is a teacher-trainer at the Montana Montessori Teacher Education Institute, and a project coach for graduate students working on their action research projects in Montessori education at St. Catherine University. She and her family love to hike, ski, kayak and travel, especially to Latin America. 


Susan McClain-Wells, Teacher, joins Learning Circle in Summer, 2022. She first started working with children in the early seventies at a Fine Arts Center in Southern California. After receiving her B.A. and teaching credentials she had the pleasure of meeting a Montessorian. It was not until she moved to Montana that she was blessed to fulfill her dream of becoming a certified Montessori teacher herself. Over the last forty years she has directed countless creative arts events for the Museum of the Rockies, country schools and numerous public and private preschools. It is her utmost pleasure to now be working with Learning Circle. Susan brings a love of children, the creative arts, reading, writing, birdwatching, hiking and of course, the study of Early Childhood Education as she guides the young minds and spirits of our future.

Ali Noreña, Assistant Teacher, joined the Learning Circle community in March 2022. She graduated from the University of Idaho with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. Ali’s background includes working with children of all ages and she has years of experience nannying, working at a Summer Camp in Maine and working in 3rd and 4th grade classrooms in Boston, Massachusetts. Ali is excited to be back in the classroom after taking a few years away and pursuing real estate in New York City. Ali and her husband enjoy being outdoors, spending time with family, traveling and enjoying all that beautiful Southwest Montana has to offer!


Mary Rogel, Assistant Teacher, joins the Learning Circle in the fall of 2022. She received a B.S. in elementary education from North Adams State College in Massachusetts and a M.A. in counseling from Western New Mexico University. She has enjoyed teaching grade levels 2nd through 8th  and she has worked as a middle school counselor. Also, she has spent many years working with her husband as an oral surgery assistant. She loves anytime spent with her four children and her dog, Arlo, seeking out new adventures in the outdoors or cooking new recipes with family and friends. Mary is looking forward to joining the team at the Learning Circle and encouraging children to explore and experience the world around them with much wonder and awe.  

Angelee Rose, Assistant Teacher, joined the Learning Circle in the fall of 2020. As an Assistant Teacher, Angelee brings strong experience in teaching and working with young children. This summer, she was an instructor for the Montana Outdoor Science School, and she has worked as a Kindergarten teaching assistant and nanny. She also worked as a teaching intern for the Jeffco Outdoor Education Lab School in Colorado. She is currently a student at the MSU Honors College where she majors in Environmental Biology and Microbiology. In her spare time she loves to run and climb.

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© 2017 by Learning Circle Montessori School. Bozeman, Montana

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516 W Cleveland, Bozeman, MT 59715

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