MSU Billings Alumni Relations

January 2005

Trudy Burke '41 volunteers her time as a reading helper at Emily Dickenson School in Bozeman, Mont.  She also sings at nursing homes with TAMS (Teachers and Mothers Sing) and conducts sing-alongs with her autoharp.

Victor Frank '50 and his spouse Esther recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary at First Congregational Church in Laurel, Mont.  They have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Kay Bauer '62 retired after teaching for 20 years at Fishtail School only to start up her career again at Luther, Mont. where she teaches grades K-2 part-time.  She grew up in Luther and her children and grandchildren have all attended Luther schools.

Wande Grinde '66 was elected to HD 48 in Billings Heights as a Democrat in the November 2004 election.

Jerry Hopkins '67 is the administrator of award winning Huntington School in Huntington, OR.  He and his wife Mary '68 travel extensively.

Patricia Waylett '67 retired after teaching for 36 years in Missoula, Mont and will be moving to Las Vegas where she has accepted a position as a resource room teacher.

Jeanne Fitch '69 and her husband, Buck, are very relieved their son, Captain Jed Fitch, is home from a tour of duty in Iraq.   They are also proud grandparents of their daughter Julie's two children.

William Colter '70 is the superintendent for Target Range near Missoula, Mont.  Bill has 34 years of teaching and administrative experience earned in Washington and Montana.  He was named Administrator of the Year by the Montana Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association in 1985 and Educator of the Year by the Ekalaka Chamber of Commerce in 1977.

Myrna Kogele '72 has returned to the Terry, Mont. school district as head of the lunch program and she also serves as a classroom aide.  Myrna grew up in Terry, earned a masters degree in theology, and worked as a missionary in Africa for five years.

Ron Nordlund '73 has been named branch manager of Western Security Bank, King Avenue branch in Billings, Mont.  Ron has 25 years of banking experience and in addition to his new role as branch manager, will continue as a consumer lender.

Larry Noonan '74 is the CEO of AWARE a human services agency in Anaconda, Mont.  AWARE is now the largest private non-profit agency of its kind in Montana and operates residential programs for disabled children and teenagers and has opened two new facilities for adults with mental illnesses.

Patty Nordlund '74 has been appointed Area 4 representative for the Department of Labor's Montana State Employers' Council, representing south-central and south-eastern Montana.  Patty is the development manager for Big Sky Economic Development Authority in Billings, Mont.

Loraine Brown '77 lives in Renton, WA where she is a specific language disabilities specialist.  She is a member of the board of trustees of the Slingerland Institute for Literacy.

Jody Frazier '77 of Powell, Wyo. reported that her daughter, Kaela Nelson is currently attending MSU Billings.

Donald Idso '78, principal at Lincoln Elementary in Glendive, Mont. was chosen to receive the National Distinguished Principal Award in October.  Only two principals are selected to represent Montana and Idso was chosen for developing an extended kindergarten program, a reading intervention program for first-graders and helping to align the curriculum from kindergarten to grade 12.  He also initiated a behavioral management program to create a safe atmosphere at the school and launched the school's first parent-teacher association.

Tina Lynch '78, principal at Roosevelt Middle School in Red Lodge, Mont. received the National Distinguished Principal Award in October.  Only two principals are selected to represent Montana and Lynch was chosen for the way she has organized her student body into small groups each with a teacher advisor and advocate and monitored the progress of each student on a must-pass policy.

Joyce Mayer '78 assumed duties in October as executive director of the Moss Mansion in Billings, Mont.  She has an art/history degree from Smith College in Northhampton, Mass and has worked in advertising and marketing for West Advertising and Aldrich & Helm Advertising in Billings.  Joyce is involved in Mayflower Congregational United Church and Boy Scouts of America as well as serving on various local boards.

Catherine Norgaard '79 and her husband, Daryl, farm near Sidney, Mont.  They have 4 grandchildren ranging in age from 12 through 27.

Raphaelle Real Bird '79 is the new Crow language teacher at Lodge Grass High School.  She taught kindergarten for the past 23 years at Lodge Grass and in 1994 was the recipient of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.  Raphaelle lives in St. Xavier, Mont. with her husband, Randy.

Kevin Haffey '80 has been teaching for 25 years and is a resource teacher and coach for the Pinedale School District in Pinedale, Wyo.  His daughter is a freshman at the University of Wyoming and his son is a junior at Pinedale High School.

Janet Henning '80 is teaching 2nd grade this year at Fairfield Elementary in Fairfield, Mont.  She previously taught kindergarten at Fairfield Elementary.

Denish Kaupish '80 is now teaching kindergarten at South Elementary School in Laurel, Mont.  She has been teaching for ten years, the last three years at Our Savior Preschool.  Denise and her husband, Kim, have two sons, Zeb and Zale and one daughter, Zoie.

Steve Stinson '81 was promoted to district president for Wells Fargo in Southwest Montana and manages Wells Fargo banks in Bozeman, Livingston, Butte, Anaconda and Dillon.  Most recently he was community bank president for the Bozeman and Livingston areas.

Annette Hart '82 is teaching special education to K-12 at Roberts Public School.  She previously taught with the Great Falls School district.  Annette and her husband, Gary, have three children.

Laureen Lackman '82 is teaching kindergarten at Hysham School.  She previously taught 2nd and 4th grade.  Laureen lives in Hysham, Mont. with her husband and three children.

Janet Southworth '82 has been the principal at Park City Elementary School for the past three years.  She also teaches part-time in the Title 1 program and is the assistant track coach and co-facilitator on the building committee.

Bryon Stiller '82 has been appointed to the PC4 board of directors.  PC4 is a national distributor of computer and point-of-sale components and systems.  Stiller is president of National Information Systems, a retail point-of-sale reseller in Billings, Mont.

Jaci Webb '82 has been promoted to main reporter for the Enjoy section of the Billings Gazette.  Jaci has written for the Gazette since 1981 covering education, Billings City Council, police and feature beats and especially enjoys covering the music scene.  She has a graduate degree in journalism and taught journalism at Billings Senior High for 12 years before returning to the Gazette in 2002 as a full-time feature writer.

Jason Hill '83 is now teaching math at Laurel High School.  He taught for the past five years at Fromberg High School.  Jason and his wife, Geralyn, have two sons, Jason Jr. a student at Rocky Mountain College and Jonathon a seventh-grader at Laurel Middle School.

Peggy Knopp '83 has been promoted to staff facilitation administrator at Residential Support Services in Billings, Mont.  Residential Support Services is a nonprofit corporation that serves people with developmental disabilities.

Loren Tacke '83 is the transportation coordinator and junior high school activity director for the Fairfield, Mont. school district.

Shelley Massick '84 and her husband, Kevin, moved their business, Fas-Break Windshield Repair and Replacement, to a new location in Billings Heights last November.  The new facility was under construction all fall and will provide customers with easy access.

Juanita Ross '85 has been promoted to assistant director of Habilatative Services at Residential Support Services.   Residential Support Services serves people with developmental disabilities in the Billings, Mont. area.

Sharon Franjevic '86 has been promoted to assistant internal audit officer at Mountain West Bank in Helena, Mont.  She has been with the bank since 2002 and will be responsible for loan review, serve as the SBA loan expert and assist in the internal audit function.  Sharon is a Great Falls native.

Lisa Reid Perry '86 has been named manager of community relations for PPL Montana.  In December 2004 the company created the PPL Montana Community Fund which will award $200,000 in grants to different organizations in the areas of education, environment and business development.  Lisa was previously manager of corporate and agency sales for Northwest Airlines.  She was recognized as Tourism Person of the Year by the Billings Chamber of Commerce and the State of Montana and won the Northwest Airlines President's Award.

Sarah Blackburn '88 was recently elected to serve on the board of directors of Parents, Let's Unite for Kids (PLUK).   Sarah is a social worker at the Deaconess Billings Clinic.

Kimberley Girard '88 is a math teacher at Glasgow High School and co-editor of the new National Council of Teachers of Mathematics publication, Using Activities from the 'Mathematics Teacher' to Support Principles and Standards.

Kenneth Larson '88 is principal at Circle School in Circle, Mont. and his wife, Sande, is the librarian.  Ken earned his master's from Capella University in Minneapolis.

Robyn Engleking '89 graduated with a M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix in October 2004. Robyn is the Assistant Controller for Metro One in Beaverton, Oregon. With 15 years of accounting and finance experience, she is responsible for the management of the accounting department and financial reporting.

Greg E. Smith '89 is the new owner of Glass Doctor in Billings.  He and his wife, Kerri, recently attended Glass Doctor's national convention in Grapevine, Texas.

Sandra Nies Homolka '90 and her husband, Jerry, own Chambers Corner restaurant and bar in Chamber, NEB.  They have one daughter, Megan, and are expecting their second child in January.

Julie Seiffert '90 is teaching English at Laurel High School and plans to start an after school poetry writing class.  She has been teaching for ten years, the last five spent at Hardin High School.  She enjoys the constant challenges and opportunities of her teaching career.

Sharon Flom '91 of Billings, Mont. has joined Hardrives Construction, Inc. as controller.  She successfully completed the CPA exam in 2003.

Janet Nickoloff '91 earned certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards this year.  Certification is a rigorous process that involves preparing portfolios demonstrating the teacher's work with students and a three-hour written exam to test the teacher's knowledge of the subject area.  Janet is the librarian at Riverside Middle School in Billings, Mont.

Nicole Schlosser '91 has been promoted to customer service leader at xpedx in Billings, Mont.  She has been with xpedx for eleven years and worked in customer service this past year.

Jan Taylor '91 has joined JGA Architects-Engineers-Planners in Billings, Mont.  She has a degree in computer aided drafting and has 13 years of architectural drafting experience on a wide variety of health-care projects in Montana and Wyoming.

Elsie Arntzen '92 was elected to HD 53 in Billings, Mont. as a Republican in the fall 2004 election.

Christy Bone '92 is the resource room teacher at Roosevelt Middle School in Red Lodge, Mont.  She returned to the teaching profession after taking a leave of absence to help with the family business.  Christy and her husband, Patrick, have a son and daughter.

Monica Lindeen '92 was elected to her fourth term as a Republican legislator in the Huntley, Mont. district in the November 2004 election.

Jeff Arbizzani '93 recently attained the Certified Treasury Professional credential from the Association of Financial Professionals.  Jeff is a regional treasury management officer for Wells Fargo Bank in Billings, Mont.

Susan Bracha '93 is the Title 1 teacher at Whitewater School near Glendive, Mont.  She also teaches Montana history, art and PE.  Susan taught for six years at the Springwater Hutterite Colony and then as an aide at Ryegate School.  She and her husband, Tom, have three children.

Linda E. Harris '93, a CPA with her own firm in Absarokee, Mont. was awarded the 2004 Woman of the Year award by the American Society of Women Accounts for her involvement in regional activities of the ASWA organization as well as participation in local schools, hospitals and arts councils in her community.

Kevin Kraft '93 has been promoted to regional manager at Citifinancial in Billings, Mont.  He will be responsible for offices in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington.  Kevin earned his bachelor's degree in business from MSU Billings and his MBA from the University of Montana.

Melissa Chevalier '95 is the Title 1 teacher at Hysham Elementary in Hysham, Mont.  She has eight years teaching experience in rural schools in Montana and Colorado.  Originally from Dutton, Mont. Melissa enjoys swimming, quilting, camping and spending time with her family.

Jim Reetz '95 bought Thee Body Shop in Baker, Mont. in August from long-time owner, Eddy Susa.  Jim has experience fixing and customizing cars and worked for Creative Classics in Independence, MO.  Thee Body Shop does body and paint repair, auto glass repair, wheel balance and alignment, suspension repair and custom painting.

Todd Vralsted '95 has been promoted to branch manager of private client services at Piper Jaffray & Co. in Billings, Mont.

Megan E. Nelson '96 is a certified financial planner with the Anderson Hedge Team at Merrill Lynch in Billings, Mont.  She specializes in planning based financial and investment management for individuals and corporate funds, foundations and endowments for corporations.

Tiffani Sherman '96 received an Employee Recognition Award for outstanding achievement from the Montana Supreme Court.  Tiffani is a juvenile probation officer for the 13th Judicial District in Billings and received the award for her years of dedication to juvenile services, volunteer work and program development.

Randy Heiser '97 is an investment representative at Edward Jones in Billings.  He recently received the firm's Regional Leader's Award for his outstanding sales and service efforts over the past year.

Scott Pederson '97 graduated in May 2004 with a law degree from the University of Montana.  He is now with the law firm of Guthals, Hunnes, Reuss & Thompson in Billings, Mont. and specializes in the area of estate planning.

Sonya Skaggs '97 is teaching Spanish at Park City Jr. High and High School in Park City, Mont.  She previously taught in Illinois, North Dakota and Iowa

Joseph Wehrman '97 is an assistant professor of psychology at Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD.  He is also a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Wendy Billingsley '98 has been named an officer at Wells Fargo Bank in Billings, Mont.  She has been employed as a personal banker at Wells Fargo.

Annie Oie '98 has been promoted to business banking relationship manager for Wells Fargo in Billings, Mont.  She was most recently a business banking associate and has been with Wells Fargo since 1996.

Jennifer Perkins '98 teaches K-12 music and grades 7-12 Spanish in Roberts, Mont.  She also instructs the pep band and tri-county honor band and is the eighth-grade class adviser.  Originally from Harlowton, Jennifer is married and has a daughter.

Carol Simenson '98 earned her masters of social work from Eastern Washington University in 2002.  She is the hospice program coordinator for Veterans Affairs at the Southern Nevada Healthcare System in Las Vegas.

Kurt Wohler '98 has been appointed to the Montana Economic Education Leaders council, a group of Montana teachers that is actively involved in promoting economic education across Montana.  Kurt is an economics and social studies teacher at Skyview High School in Billings, Mont.

Jami Broyles '99 is teaching third grade at Graff Elementary School in Laurel, Mont.  This will be her sixth year as a teacher.  Her most recent position was in Greeley, CO as a fourth-grade teacher.  Jami and her husband, veterinarian Mark Broyles, have one son, Isaiah, age two.

Kathy Karls '99 earned the Family Support Services certification from the State of Montana.  She works for Early Childhood Intervention a division of School District 2 in Billings and assists families with children with disabilities to receive quality services statewide.

Jennifer A. Smith '00 is the new assistant manager of the Billings branch of American Title and Escrow.  She was most recently the branch manager of the Park County office and has been with American Title and Escrow since 1989.  Jennifer was recently selected to represent Montana in the year-long First American Management Leadership Development Program.

Joni Alaman '01 is teaching technology skills at the MSU Billings Downtown Campus and the College of Technology.  She is dedicated to helping others improve their lives.

Sarah Elliott '01 has been appointed as transition communications director by Governor Schweitzer.  She worked as assignment editor and reporter for KULR-TV in Billings and as the scheduler for the Hickenlooper for Mayor campaign in Denver.  Most recently she was the communications director for Montana state auditor John Morrison.

James Holden '01 is teaching business education at Park City High School, is the assistant girl's volleyball coach and works with students in the Business Professionals of America.  James earned a degree in economics from MSU Bozeman and had twenty years of business experience before taking a career turn and getting his teaching certification from MSU Billings.  He has been teaching now for three years

Khuanmany Foley '02 and her husband, Jason Foley, have opened a Taste of Asia restaurant in Rimrock Mini Mall in Billings, Mont.  They offer a diverse menu of dishes from all over Asia.

Shelley Pierce '02 is the director of member services and public affairs councils for the Billings Chamber of Commerce.  She was previously grant program coordinator for the Department of Health and Human Performance at MSU Billings.

Casidee Riley '02 was hired in November as the Business Improvement District Coordinator for the Downtown Billings Partnership.  She will be working to enhance the business atmosphere and improve the safety and cleanliness of downtown Billings.

Casey Black '03 is the resource room teacher for grades K-5 at Whitehall Elementary.  She previously served as a resource room teacher in Ekalaka, Mont. for two years.

Allison Boeck '03 is teaching 5th grade at Columbus Elementary in Columbus, Mont.  She majored in elementary education and minored in history.  Last year Allison taught at Huntley Project Elementary in Worden, Mont.  She hopes to show her students that learning is a lifelong and exciting adventure and says,  “I hope my students will love coming to school and can't wait to learn many new and exciting things.”

Erica Bryson '03 is teaching 3rd grade at Hardin Intermediate School in Hardin, Mont.  She earned a double major in elementary and special education.

Ryan Buckley '03 is teaching physical education and health at Washington Middle School in Glendive, Mont.  Last year he taught in Opheim.  Ryan and his wife, Aletha, have a son, Parker.

Angela Cheek '03 is teaching 5th grade in Poplar, Mont.  She previously taught 7th and 8th grades in Pryor, Mont.  Angela and her husband, Clifton, have three children.

Nancy Clark '03 designed an angel chair for the 2004 Montana Avenue Chair Affair in Billings, Mont.  She painted a wheelchair to resemble the sky and added huge feather angel wings to the back.  The chair was donated in memory of Nancy's sister, Mary, who passed away in 2003 and the art project helped Nancy deal with her death.  All proceeds from the Montana Avenue Chair Affair went to benefit St. Vincent DePaul and revitalization efforts on Montana Avenue.

Zachary Coombs '03 is the eight-grade math teacher at Laurel Middle School as well as the seventh-grade football coach.  Last year he was a long-term substitute teacher for the Billings School District.  Zack and his wife, Diana, have a new baby girl, Grace.

Curtis Fox '03 is teaching physical education and health and coaching freshmen boys’ basketball at Powell County High School in Dillon, Mont.

Shawn Nicole Keyes '03 is attending veterinary medical school at Colorado State University.

Elizabeth McMakin '03 is teaching art for the Brockton, Mont. school district.  She previously taught in Billings and also worked at Dull Knife College where she did grant research.  Elizabeth and her husband, Tom, have nine children, five still at home and attending school in Brockton.

Margret Puckett '03 has recently joined the Billings Gazette as a system support manager.  She has been in the IT industry for eight years, most recently as the customer support manager for WebMD.  She is currently pursuing an on-line MBA degree at the University of Mary.

Joy Knapp '03 and Tim Tatarka were married in May 2004.  Joy is attending law school at the University of Montana and is a field staffer for Senator Max Baucus.  Tim is a researcher/writer for his business Tatarka Consulting, Inc.

Colleen Anderson '04 is teaching kindergarten and elementary health and science at Bridger School in Bridger, Mont.  This is Colleen's first year of teaching.  She is originally from Harlowton and is married with a one-year old son.

Erik Barsness '04 has recently been promoted to beverage and operations manager at the Carlin Martini Bar & Nightclub and Q Cuisine in Billings, Mont.   Barsness was previously the sous chef at Bridge Creek in Red Lodge and has worked at Enzo and Walkers.

Jeri Cuellar '04 has joined Young Families Early Head Start as a health & wellness specialist.  She previously worked for Yellowstone County Family Drug Treatment Court

Jolene Foottit '04 is the new Title 1 kindergarten teacher at O.D. Speer Elementary in Dillon, Mont.  She has a bachelor's degree in elementary education with a minor in math.

Jessie Henigman '04 is the art and gifted and talented teacher at Joliet schools.  She is also the head volleyball coach.  Jessie grew up in Bridger, Mont.  She enjoys interacting with people and is excited about introducing her students to the world of art

Tichelle Ickes '04 is teaching English and is the assistant volleyball coach at Power High School in Power, Mont.  She is a native of Hysham, Mont. and graduated with a degree in English from MSU Billings.

Michelle Moccasin-Pease '04 is teaching first grade at Crow Agency in Montana.  She previously was a substitute teacher at Lodge Grass Middle School.  Michelle and her husband, Scott, have a daughter, Emily.

Erin Paul '04 is teaching English and coaching track as well as eighth-grade girls basketball at Roberts Public School.  She is originally from Shelby, Mont. and this is her first year of teaching.

Robin Zerbe '04 is teaching 3rd grade at Hardin Intermediate School.  She is a native of Hardin, Mont.

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