Jenny Combs –  Executive Director and MSMP Program Advisor

Jenny was raised and started teaching in rural Montana and has been working professionally in education for 30 years. Jenny taught 7-12 math and English, earned a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from MSU, and was a finalist for the Montana Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics. Jenny has also worked internationally and nationally, specializing in teacher induction, instructional coaching, and online professional learning. Jenny joined ACE in 2018, returning to her Montana roots.

The revolving door of teachers she experienced as both a student and a teacher motivated her to ensure that every school leader and teacher feels supported regardless of where they work. Jenny is passionate about providing high-quality mentoring through the Montana Statewide Mentoring Program (MSMP). Jenny knows we can better serve our students by challenging our long-held traditions about grading and reporting. She is committed to having the courage and expertise to support Montana schools’ shift to research-based instruction, assessment, and grading.

Alyson Mike – Montana Statewide Mentoring Program (MSMP) Manager

Alyson grew up in eastern Montana and attended college at Montana State University. While following a different career path, serving as a teaching assistant inspired a pivot to teaching. Alyson was a successful National Board Certified middle school science teacher who taught high school and middle school for over twenty years. Most of her teaching experience was in East Helena, Montana, a small industrial town with many at-risk students. Alyson was honored to be selected and to represent Montana as Montana’s Teacher of the Year in 2004. In addition, she received the Milken Educator Award in 2003 and the Presidential Award for Excellent in Science Teaching in 2001.

In 2007, Alyson transitioned to a national educational non-profit and began designing and implementing online communities of practice and supporting beginning teachers in rural and remote areas. She has also worked in corporate education and served as a graduate school’s Director of Online Learning. Alyson is a consultant focused on various projects, from online learning and corporate sustainability education to mentoring new teachers. Alyson has also served as an instructional coach for the ACE school districts.

Anne Keith – MSMP Mentor

Anne Keith, M.Ed. NBCT, is a Montana native. She grew up in Helena and raised her family in Bozeman. Over her 30-year career, Anne has served in various roles in public education, including multi-age teacher, middle school teacher, Instructional Coach, K-5 principal, and K-12 Interim Curriculum Director. She proudly served a seven-year term on the Montana Board of Public Education.

Anne is a Nationally Board Certified teacher in Early Adolescent Mathematics and was honored as the Montana Teacher of the Year and with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math & Science Teaching. She is passionate about empowering teachers and students to ensure schools provide a high-quality learning environment. Anne believes that teachers can lead without leaving the classroom, and students can be taught to recognize their strengths and areas to improve through growth mindset research.

Cynthia Davey – MSMP Mentor

Cynthia Davey is a retired Elementary School Educator and Reading Specialist based in Polson, Montana. Cynthia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree from Arizona State University with a Reading Specialist Endorsement. Raised in Connecticut for her preteen years, Cynthia moved with her family to West Phoenix before settling in Montana in 1999 with her young family. She taught in Polson for several years before transitioning to a role in higher education, joining the faculty at Salish Kootenai College in the Education Division. There, she advised and taught pre-service educators ELA and Reading coursework for 12 years.

Cynthia is passionate about supporting educators in fostering a positive learning environment for students of all ages. She believes that education is a lifelong journey and is dedicated to empowering learners at every stage of development. In retirement, Cynthia continues to advocate for education, actively engaging with educators and sharing her expertise to support their professional growth.

Dotty Zier – MSMP Mentor

Dotty grew up in central Montana and earned her Bachelor’s in Education and her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from U of M. Fairfield was home to the Zier family for 26 years. Dotty taught 7-12 Physical Education/ Health, History, and Special Education classes during her tenure there. She was the teacher of the year at Fairfield Public Schools and Paraprofessional/ Teacher “Team of the Year” through the Montana Council of Exceptional Children. Kalispell and the Flathead Valley called her in 2014, and she spent nine years as a Special Education teacher at Glacier High School. She co-taught Special Education Math, grades 9-12, using the Math-180 curriculum, which emphasized “the growth mindset.”

Dotty is passionate about helping students reach their full potential. Students need teachers who are also working to be their best selves in the classroom. Supporting teachers in their professional journey is crucial to their students’ success. This is why Dotty is thrilled to be part of ACE and the mentoring program. In her free time, Dotty is a novice but enthusiastic knitter.

Jolene Wallace – MSMP Mentor

Jolene was born and raised in Great Falls, Montana. She graduated from Great Falls High and Montana State University with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. Additionally, Jolene has a master’s degree in special education from Stephen F. Austin with an emphasis on vision impairments, an orientation and mobility certification, and an autism certification from Texas Tech University.

Jolene began her teaching adventure at Crow Agency, eventually settling in Missoula, MT, where she married and raised a family. Throughout Jolene’s career, she has taught in various elementary positions, but special education has been her passion. Since retiring, Jolene has continued providing services throughout Western Montana to students with vision impairments. Jolene has worked as an online mentor in the past and is excited to mentor again.

Lorrie Henrie-Koski – MSMP Mentor

Lorrie Henrie-Koski grew up in Butte and earned her B.S.Ed. from Eastern Montana College, followed by her M.A.T. from Grand Canyon University. Her 37-year career in education started in a two-room, K-8 school near Red Lodge. After 29 years teaching middle school ELA in Columbus, Lorrie “retired” for a year before returning to her alma mater (now MSU Billings) to continue her passion for teaching writing and to become co-director of Elk River Writing Project, MSUB’s satellite of the National Writing Project. She also instructs methods of teaching English courses. Lorrie was honored with the MSU Billings 2023 Faculty Excellence Award for Part-time Faculty.
Throughout her career, Lorrie has supported other teachers, believing that powerful professional development for educators leads to impactful teaching. She has worked with teachers across the state on curriculum, place-based learning, and writing instruction. She is excited to work as a mentor for early career teachers.

Nadene Falagan – MSMP Mentor

Nadene Falagan earned her B.S.Ed at MSU-Billings with a K-12 Reading endorsement, and she has taken many additional courses in SPED and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She has worked in diverse communities and schools, starting in rural Fromberg, Montana. An overseas opportunity brought her to Cairo, Egypt, at an American International School, where she taught an international baccalaureate curriculum and worked with 100% of the ESL students. She returned to work in Lame Deer, Montana, a rural community on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.

Nadene has extensive training in Conscious Discipline and The Trauma-Informed Classroom, which are great tools for effective classroom management and building a safe and welcoming student environment. She incorporates local culture into the curriculum where possible. “Using best practices and knowing your curriculum is very important to effective teaching, but connecting with students is the glue that holds it all together.” She is looking forward to mentoring new teachers.

Andrea Meiers – Consultant

Andrea began her career as a middle school Language Arts teacher in Powell, Wyoming, shortly after graduating from Rocky Mountain College. After teaching briefly and earning her Master’s of Education Leadership, Andrea obtained her first administrative position as an assistant principal at Laurel Middle School and then moved into the principal role. Andrea served as the full-time ACE executive director from 2014-2017. After three years with ACE, she became an assistant professor in the Education Department at Rocky Mountain College until the spring of 2020. Andrea is currently a curriculum director at Lockwood Schools. Having a deep belief in ACE’s work, Andrea has continued to be involved with ACE.