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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 is an instructor 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, bike, ski, kayak and travel, especially to Latin America. 


Ali Noreña, 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!

Catie Hannigan, Teacher, is overjoyed to begin teaching at Learning Circle Montessori this Fall.  Catie has a BA in Early Childhood Education from the University of Toledo and earned her Montessori certification for ages 3-6 years from the Caspari Institute in 2010. Since she moved from Ohio in 2008, she has taught at multiple Montessori schools in the Gallatin Valley.  She served as the president for Bozeman’s chapter of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and has also volunteered on the Montana Montessori Educators Association board.  When Catie isn’t teaching, she loves spending time with her husband and two children.  She also enjoys hiking the trails, snowboarding, fly fishing and exploring Montana!

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Emily Hutchens, Teacher, joined Learning Circle in the fall of 2023. She graduated from Montana State University with a degree in both Art Education and Studio Arts. She is passionate about young creative minds and teaching them all the tools to grow and explore endless possibilities through art and building a strong sense of self. Her background ranges from pre-school to adult, from nannying, organized classes, and running a summer art camp in Livingston. You can also find Emily every weekend come winter, skiing in her red jumpsuit at Bridger Bowl enjoying the cool sunshine.

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. 

© 2017 by Learning Circle Montessori School. Bozeman, Montana

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516 W Cleveland, Bozeman, MT 59715

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