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New! Printable List of all the Big Sky Pathways Coordinators & Designees at the MUS Perkins Campuses


Amy Williams
Amy Williams M.S.
Dual Enrollment & Big Sky Pathways Coordinator
Gallatin College Montana State University

101 Hamilton Hall
PO Box 170515
Bozeman, MT 59717
(406) 994-3991 (office)
(406) 209-3566 (mobile)

Amy Williams has a strong background in research science and extensive experience in education, curriculum design, outreach, and program development/coordination. Throughout her career she has worked ceaselessly to advocate for the rich marriage of the two and to promote education for all students. She holds a masters in Geology from UC Santa Barbara and bachelor’s degree Earth Science from Montana State University. As a geologist she has worked with both public and private sector clients including the USGS, EPA, and the oil and environmental industry.  Additionally, she has more than eleven years of experience in education, both as a national award winning educator and as a freelance education consultant.  She has taught middle school to graduate level courses and designed outreach programs and curriculum for k-12 targets, serving clients including Georgia Tech, IEEE, NIH, and MSU. Over the years she has worked with students of all abilities and served in a wide variety of work environments, as a result she is an avid advocate for multiple paths to continuing education and the importance of students making an informed choice in pursuing a postsecondary education. 

Kirk Lacy
Dean of Workforce Development
Miles Community College

2715 Dickinson Street
Miles City, MT 59301-4774
(406) 850-1405 (office)

Charla Merja

Charla Merja
Big Sky Pathways Coordinator
Project Manager for Academic Affairs
Great Falls College MSU

2100 16th Avenue South
Great Falls, MT 59405
(406) 771-4301 (office)
(406) 231-0199 (mobile)

Charla has been with Great Falls College MSU since January 2013. She is the Big Sky Pathways Coordinator and Project Manager for Academic Affairs. She is a graduate of The University of Montana in Missoula and is currently working toward her M.Ed. at Montana State University in Bozeman. Charla spent 16 years as a Buisness Manager for a K-12 school district prior to working for Great Falls College. She has a great deal of experience in Perkins funding and overall grant management.

Jennifer Young Bear
Dual Enrollment & Big Sky Pathways Coordinator
Missoula College University of Montana

909 South Avenue West
Missoula, MT 59801
(406) 243-7902 (office)
(406) 529-0044 (mobile)

Jennifer Young Bear is the Pathways and Dual Enrollment Director for Missoula College. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Oklahoma in Native American Studies, and her Master’s Degree from the University of New Mexico in Language, Literacy, Sociocultural Studies with an Emphasis in American Indian Education. She has experience working with two year tribal colleges; specifically the Fort Berthold Community College as the Online Education Director, which included organizing online professional development trainings for faculty and staff. She worked closely with the Native American Studies department where she helped the director to develop a Native American Studies degree programs which included online course development. She was given the opportunity to teach Native American Literature and co-teach Native American History. She was the advisor for student organizations at the college. She collaborated with other community and tribal organization to provide summer youth projects as a part of her position.  She was also employed by two nonprofit and state organizations to develop curriculum in the area of social services and community development.

Before moving to Missoula from North Dakota she worked for the MHA Tribal Education Department as the Cultural and Language Specialist to oversee all the secondary and post-secondary school language and cultural programs for the Ft Berthold Reservation. She collaborated with elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools and the tribal college to organize language and cultural preservation programs and to find solutions to the challenges in schools from the new growing community. Jennifer is thankful for this opportunity to work for the University of Montana, Missoula College, Big Sky Pathways and Montana’s Dual Enrollment to help students establish an educational path into a career of excellence.

Beth Romain
Beth Romain
Coordinator, High School Relations
Flathead Valley Community College

777 Grandview Drive
Kalispell, MT 59901
(406) 756-3923

Beth Romain is a Flathead Valley native and has been with the Flathead Valley Community College for the past 7 years. She spent 6 of those years as the New Student Admissions Representative, helping students navigate the process of entering post-secondary education. She now oversees the dual enrollment opportunities offered at FVCC including Running Start, Montana Digital Academy and Big Sky Pathways. As a former dual enrollment student Beth knows first-hand the benefits of exploring college and career opportunities while still in high school. In her previous role she worked with many students entering post-secondary education undecided, so looks forward to helping students pave the way to the many paths available to enter post-secondary education. She came to FVCC after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and a minor in Communications from the University of Montana.

Ryann Gibson
Ryann Gibson
Program Coordinator
School of Outreach
University of Montana Western

710 S Atlantic Street
Dillon, MT  59725
(406) 683-7537

Ryann Gibson joined the University of Montana Western School of Outreach team in 2009. Ryann received her secondary education degree through UMW and was excited to return to her alma mater after time spent in various positions. Ryann, along with her husband and three children, decided to return to their Southwestern Montana roots to work and raise their family. Ryann’s combined experiences in and outside the classroom afford her a unique perspective into the world of Big Sky Pathways. She is passionate about continuing education and the opportunities it provides to learners at all levels and ages. Ryann is excited to work with students, instructors, administrators, and community members to combine efforts in a true collaborative experience.

Ben Barckholtz
Big Sky Pathways Coordinator
City College
Montana State University Billings

3803 Central Ave
Billings, Montana 59102
(406) 657-1714



Jan Clinard

Jan Clinard, Ed.D.
Career Pathways Coordinator
Helena College University of Montana

1115 North Roberts Street
Helena, MT 59601
(406) 447-6951 (office)
(406) 439-0330 (mobile)

Previous to accepting the role of Pathways Coordinator, Jan Clinard served as the Director of College Readiness Programs for the Helena College, managing grant-funded programs that provided professional development designed to help K-12 teachers prepare students for meeting college admissions requirements and Common Core State Standards.   As the Director of Academic Initiatives for the Commissioner of Higher Education, Jan directed the Montana University System Writing Assessment for twelve years and oversaw the development of Board of Regents’ policies for college admissions, placement, and remediation.  She served first as the Language Arts Specialist, then as the Curriculum and Assessment Specialist for the Montana Office of Public Instruction, where she developed model curriculum and assessment programs, organized and presented at workshops and conferences, provided training in performance-based accreditation,  and published a series of documents that guided teachers throughout the state in data-based decision-making, curriculum development, classroom assessment, and implementing interdisciplinary instruction.  Before joining OPI, Jan taught middle school through college levels in Butte, Denver, Kalispell, and Helena.  She holds a B.A. in English from Montana State University; and a M.Ed. with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction and an Ed.D. with an emphasis in Higher Education Administration, from The University of Montana.

Bernie Phelps
Bernie Phelps
Dual Enrollment & Big Sky Pathways Coordinator
Montana Tech and Highlands College of Montana Tech

1300 W Park
Butte, MT  59701
(406) 496-4565 (office)
(406) 490-2683 (mobile)

Bernie Phelps has been with Montana Tech/Highlands College since 2004, beginning as a Rural Science Program Coordinator on National Science Foundation grant funds.  Over the past 10 years Bernie has contributed to the success and growth of numerous programs on campus, most significantly; working as the Dual Enrollment Coordinator with high school students and families as they prepare to transition from high school to postsecondary.  She has also served as regional Science Fair Director, and as a Coordinator with the federally funded TRiO Program, Student Support Services (SSS), where she provided low-income, first-generation college students support in studying in the STEM disciplines.  Bernie’s effective work with diverse populations including non-traditional students, veterans, Native American’s and students with disabilities makes her a true student advocate.  Bernie serves on the Campus Access, Retention and Scholarship Committees at Montana Tech as well as the Graduation Matters Board for Anaconda Schools.  Her education includes a degree in Business Management from Montana State University, Bozeman.


Holly Haas
Program Coordinator, Big Sky Pathways
Montana State University-Northern

P.O. BOX 7751
300 13th Street West
Havre, MT 59501
(406) 265-3723 (office)
(406) 390-0532 (mobile)


Suela Cela
Enrollment Management Coordinator
Dawson Community College

300 College Drive
Glendive, MT  59330
(406) 377-9419 (office)

Proudly born and raised in Lushnje, on the east coast of Albania, Suela takes huge amounts of pride in both her origin and her adopted home in Glendive, MT. After completing her junior year of High School education in the Albania, Suela came to the US as an exchange student in her senior year of high school. She then spent 2 years studying at Dawson Community College, and later transferred to University of Nebraska. While there, she studied Business Administration with emphases’ in human resources and management.

During those years she adopted a love for higher education and the privilege of helping young adults discover where their gifts and passions align. In 2013, upon graduation, Suela joined Dawson Community College and takes great delight on serving as the Enrollment Management/Big Sky Pathways and Dual Enrollment Coordinator. She works to offer careful and personalized, high-quality service to prospective students and their families, with a primary focus in Eastern Montana.

A self-declared "world traveler", Suela spends her spare time reading, traveling, and spending time with her friends. 


Roch Turner
Workforce Programs Coordinator
Bitterroot College University of Montana

274 Old Corvallis Road, Suite C
Hamilton, MT 59840
(406) 375-0100

Dennis LaBonty, Ph.D.
Big Sky Pathway Coordinator
Salish Kootenai College

P.O. Box 70
Pablo, MT 59855
(406) 275-4936

Dennis has been at Salish Kootenai College as an adjunct faculty in the Business Management program for three years. He has secondary and post-secondary teaching and administrative experience in Montana, Nevada, and Utah.  He is a professor emeritus from Utah State University.  He served as a Pathways facilitator for the past three years at SKC, and assisted in establishing two business pathways.  These opportunities are important tools for all students preparing for future careers.  He assisted business education and business teacher education programs through professional organizations having published and presented at many conferences.  Also, he served as president of the National Association for Business Teacher Education (NABTE).  One of his most rewarding teaching experiences was at the FBI Information Technology Center.


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