- APPLE Award
Board of Directors
Jenni McGhay, Chair
Jenni was born and raised in Orange County, California. She is a fourth generation educator who earned her undergraduate degree from the California State University of Dominguez Hills in 1997. In 2004, Jenni received her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership along with her Administrative Credential at the California State University of Fullerton where she was the Recipient of the Edwin Carr Fellow Award (Outstanding Educational Leadership Graduate Student). Along with teaching second, third and fourth grade, Jenni has been a Literacy and Assessment Consultant, a Teacher on Special Assignment, an Elementary Teaching Assistant Principal and Elementary Principal. Jenni is married to Paul McGhay, a native Montanan and graduate of Montana State University. They have one son, Chase, who attends Sacajawea Middle School. Jenni and her family relocated to Bozeman in the summer of 2008 as a result of Paul’s promotion as the Director of the Northwest Region for DJO Global. Upon moving to Montana, Jenni began working as an Independent Educational Consultant supporting site principals as well as school districts in the area of Education Leadership (Professional Learning Communities). She has worked for the Education Department at Montana State University as a University Supervisor for Student Teachers. Jenni enjoys volunteering at her son's school and athletic events. She supports a wide variety of children's activities. Jenni's passions beyond work include time with family, running, soccer, traveling and Bobcat Football.
Julie Hitchcock, Vice Chair
Julie Hitchcock is an Oregon native who has lived in Montana for over 35 years. Her career has included work in both the private and public sectors in tourism, education and public policy. She earned both her undergraduate (Sociology) and graduate degrees (MPA) from Montana State University and served at MSU as Assistant Director in the Office of University Relations (7 years) and Associate Director/Interim Director of the Burton K. Wheeler Center (14 years), a non-partisan, privately funded public policy center. Julie has helped organize and has enjoyed Board membership on a number of local organizations over the years, including Programming for Women at MSU, the Battered Women's Network (now Haven), the Montana Center for International Visitors, Gallatin Valley Tomorrow, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's Editorial Advisory Board, the MSU Library and the Leadership Institute at MSU. Julie and her husband Dan, a Butte native, have two daughters -a sophomore at Colorado State in Fort Collins and a Freshman at UM in Missoula.
Robin Hubley, Treasurer
Robin Hubley moved to Bozeman at the age of 3. She graduated from Bozeman High School in 1990 and furthered her education at Indiana University (IU) in Bloomington, Indiana. In 1994, she graduated from IU with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business. After graduation she obtained her Certified Public Accountant certificate and worked in public accounting for 14 years. In 2008, Robin left her position as Tax Manager of the Anderson ZurMuehlen Bozeman office to work for a client’s family of companies. She currently works for this family and oversees the daily accounting and tax needs of the companies and owners. Robin’s previous board experience includes Montana Ballet Company, Bozeman Business and Professional Women and Westfield Park Homeowners’ Association. Robin’s husband, Kevin, is also a CPA in Bozeman. They have two boys attending Bozeman schools.
Jim L. Thompson, Secretary
Jim L. Thompson has taught English and American Studies for 32 years in Texas and Montana. His interest in international education has resulted in mentoring over a dozen educators from around the globe, and in 2003 he was selected by the U. S. Department of State to travel to the Republic of Georgia as a visiting educator. In 2010 he was a finalist for Montana Teacher of the Year. He currently chairs the English Department at Bozeman High School.
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 real estate agent, project manager and commercial property manager at Gene Cook Realty. Kevin has been the volunteer chair since 2002 for the Gallatin Valley Tournament Committee, as well as the Bozeman Area Chamber Board Chair Elect. Kevin and his wife Amanda have two children, one preschooler and the other is a 2nd grader at Morningstar. Kevin has been a basketball coach for local elementary and middle school traveling teams.
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.
Derek is a class of 2003, Bozeman High School graduate. He attended Oregon State University and graduated in 2007 with a Business major and Art History minor. Derek worked in Seattle for the EJ Gallo winery for three years in Sales and management. Derek has recently returned to Bozeman to help run Bronken Distributing.
Jerry Cashman has been a Bozeman resident for 34 years. Jerry graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1970 with a degree in Plant and Soil Science with an emphasis on Horticulture. Jerry has served on many committees and boards in the Bozeman community. He served 12 years as a school district #7 trustee and has also taught in the Adult Ed program for 33 years. He and his wife Jan have raised three children and now have two grandchildren. Jerry and Jan along with sons Joseph and Michael own Cashman Nursery and Landscaping. Their daughter Ann lives in Frenchtown. Jerry enjoys hunting, gardening, travel and skiing in his free time.
Cindy has worked as a children's librarian for 24 years at the Bozeman Public Library. Prior to that, she was a preschool teacher, managed a publishing company, and went to college. Cindy has a BA in English from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, and a Masters in Teaching from Colorado College. She moved to Montana in 1978, met her husband Bob, and they now have three grown daughters, who all attended Bozeman Public Schools. Two daughters have graduated college and live in Washington, DC, and one is finishing an engineering degree at MSU.
Bruce Grubbs grew up in the northern suburbs of Detroit, the eldest of four children. He had an excellent K-12 public education and continued it at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he graduated with a degree in Oceanography. Not being anywhere near an ocean, he followed in his father’s footsteps and went into management with Sears Roebuck & Company. He was close to finishing up his M.B.A. at Eastern Michigan University when .A wise person said to him, “Go West, young man”, so he did, heading out to the Denver Colorado area where one of his brothers had already settled. While working for Sears in Fort Collins, Colorado, his boss, who was on the local board of Junior Achievement, insisted that he get involved in JA, and Bruce became a JA high school advisor. It was the start of his lifelong interest in education and youth. During a U of Michigan homecoming visit in 1980, he met Robin Thomas (his wife of 27 years), a fellow Wolverine, on a blind date set up by a mutual friend.When Bruce was transferred to Bozeman, Montana to run the Sears catalog store in 1982, he continued with his involvement in Junior Achievement until the local high school program ended around 1987. He was also involved with the Gallatin Empire Lions Club and continues as a club member. Bruce and Robin have two children, Ryan and Allison, who both grew up in Bozeman and went through the Bozeman Public Schools, graduating in 2003 and 2006 respectively. His career with Sears ended when Sears closed all of its catalog stores in 1991, but his interest in Junior Achievement didn’t. Bruce was instrumental in bringing JA back to Bozeman in 1994 when he learned from his sister-in-law about the new K-12 program. An entrepreneur himself, Bruce is currently an owner, founder and general manager of Rocky Mountain Wireless, Inc., which has several AT&T retail dealerships around the state.
Heather Hart has been involved in the Bozeman Public schools for over 10 years and is a past School Board member. Heather has also been involved in the Montana Outdoor Science School as a board member and educator. She currently works in internal medicine for Bozeman Deaconess Internal Medicine Associates as a physician assistant.
Christine Hodgson grew up in the Detroit area and attended nursing school at the University of Michigan. She moved to San Francisco to work in pediatric intensive care and nursing research, and eventually get her master's degree from UCSF. She became a primary care pediatric nurse practitioner and lived in the Bay Area for seven years. She moved to Bozeman with her husband, a pediatrician, nine years ago and they now have three boys who attend Longfellow Elementary. Christine has volunteered for various local organizations that promote the health and wellness of children. She was a board member for five years for a non-profit organization that helped families and children in crisis and/or foster care. Christine had the opportunity to learn the joy of teaching as an adjunct assistant professor for several semesters in the nursing program at Montana State University. She helped develop the upper division nursing curriculum. She joined Acorn Pediatrics when it was founded three years ago and continues to work there as a pediatric nurse practitioner.
Ronda is the Director of Admissions at Montana State University. She is responsible for the marketing, recruitment, application processing, transfer evaluation/articulation, new student scholarship programs and orientation for all new undergraduate students at MSU. She is involved in various organizations including the Montana statewide NACAC organization, NACAC and NACAC regional associations, AACARO, the College Board, ACT Council and has served as a member of the National Merit Scholarship selection committee. She earned her bachelor's degree from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN and her master's degree from Montana State University. Ronda and her husband, Jim, have two children enrolled in the Bozeman Public Schools.
KC tolliver, a Montana native, is the owner of Summit Resource Imports. KC spent his childhood in Montana. He graduated with a degree in finance and marketing from the University of Washington and spent his early professional years in Seattle before starting his own company in 1993.Summit Resource Imports is a private label manufacture located in Bozeman that started as sourcing of private label clothing for large customers. Today the group of companies represents licenses of several famous American brands and sells to more than 60 countries.KC is an entrepreneur, world traveler, avid outdoorsmand, food fanatic and father of two daughters that attend grade school in Bozeman.
Andrew J. Willett, a Montana native and Ennis High School graduate, earned his undergraduate degree in finance and economics from University of Montana in 1992. Subsequent to graduation, he moved to Denver , Colorado , where he lived for ten years working as a commercial loan officer, investing in real estate, and practicing real estate and construction law. Upon graduating from the University of Denver College of Law in 1999, he worked in the real estate department at the law firm of Gorsuch Kirgis, LLP in downtown Denver . Just prior to returning to Montana , he worked as in-house counsel for a multi-state private real estate lending company. He has been with the law firm of Drysdale, McLean, & Willett, PLLP in Bozeman for five years, four of them as partner. Andy's practice focuses on real estate, construction, estate planning, probate, and commercial law.
Denise Hayman, School Board Member
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.
Mary Jo O'Donnell
Mary Jo was born in and raised in Seattle and continued her education at University of Colorado, Boulder and Thunderbird – American Graduate School of International Management in Arizona. Family ties through her Three Forks native father brought Mary Jo and her husband John and their 3 children back to Bozeman. Mary Jo initially taught English in Japan, worked in Seattle in International Trade and taught Middle School language and humanities. In Bozeman Mary Jo has been a board member of Thrive and past President of Hawthorne Schools Parent Council. Mary Jo and John love living and recreating in Montana with their 3 children and are passionate about the opportunities available to our Bozeman School Students through creative programs funded through the Bozeman Schools Foundation. Mary Jo has been the Executive Director of the Bozeman Schools Foundation since 2007.