Our Staff

Amy Verlanic
Executive Director

     Amy’s full time career is as the Executive Director of the Institute for Educational Opportunities at Montana Tech where she works to provide teachers and students with college-based programs that enrich statewide science, engineering, and technology education.
     Amy L. Verlanic is the sole proprietor of ALV Consulting. She founded her consulting business after 15 years of a successful career in higher education and community service. ALV Consulting offers project management, strategic planning, and grant writing services to nonprofit associations and educational institutions. Her educational grant-writing skills have garnered over $80 Million in public and private funding
     Amy has held elected office at the local, state, regional and national level. She was the Board Chair for the Council for Opportunity in Education in 2013, where she was charged to represent the needs of 2,900 federally funded TRIO programs serving 840,000 Americans. Ms. Verlanic is a sought after lecturer on educational access issues, grant writing, funding, management and leadership and data management; her work has been shared at the European Access Network and across the US. Ms. Verlanic served seven years on the Anaconda School Board, is the Governor’s Appointee on the Montana Board of Personnel  Appeals and was most recently made a legislative appointee to the Office of Public Instruction’s K-12 Data Task Force.
     The things she is most proud of are her four beautiful daughters and being acknowledged by ASPIRE as the Art Quinn Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

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Tammy Gordon
Institute Budget Analyst

Tammy is in her 15th year as the Budget Analyst for the Institute for Educational Opportunities and the Clark Fork Watershed Education Programs.

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Polly Summers
Institute Administrative Assistant

     Polly is a North Idaho native and has 2 grown children with businesses and families of their own. She attended college in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho.
     Polly has worked in the U.S. Forest Service in Office Automation and as a Type II Fire Finance team member and also on a Mobile Team for Wildland Fires.
     She enjoys Montana’s great outdoors, spending time with her family and her dog “Girdle”
     Polly loves working with our future & current Orediggers, helping them find and thrive on their path’s to success.

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Michael Torpey
Volunteer Extraordinaire

     Michael Torpey, all 98 pounds of him, mightily shreds paper in his volunteer service to the Montana Tech TRIO program. It is his job, which he takes quite seriously. His jolly, friendly attitude rubs co-workers and supervisors the right way, every day.
     “Michael serves as a phenomenal example to students that academic achievement and good citizenry is not a result of birth intelligence, but more so of the effort and energy one puts into nurturing themselves,” Amy Verlanic noted. “Like I tell students when I am recruiting, ‘If you have a high want-to, then I want you.’”
     Everybody on campus knows him and loves him as he makes his daily rounds. “He’s always so happy,” said Sally Rasmussen, Coffee Mill cashier in the Mill Building. “He always has his Pepsi and a cookie.”

Bernie Phelps
Director of Jump Start – Dual Enrollment, MCP Director, and SSS Academic Coach

     Bernie has been with the Montana Tech’s Institute for Educational Opportunities (IEO) for 15 years. She has helped many students in getting a “Jump Start” on their postsecondary education by taking college credits while still in high school, worked with high schools across Montana and served on state and campus committees. She is driven to help students see their full potential and explore careers that fit their strengths.
     As part of the TRIO Student Support Services team, she has helped underserved populations and students with disabilities in successfully navigating their road to postsecondary completion. Through individualized services, one-on-one mentoring, tutoring, group training and nudges the Montana Tech TRIO SSS program consistently achieves high retention and completion rates playing a part in Montana Tech’s positive outcomes.
     For Bernie, what she does day in and day out is truly a calling and she does not see it as a job. She absolutely loves what she does.

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Kinsley Rafish
Public Education Coordinator

     Kinsley is the Public Education Coordinator. Born and raised in Beautiful Butte, Montana, Kinsley graduated from the University of Montana Western in 2017 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and a minor in Small Business Management.
     Kinsley has worked at MT Tech just a little over three years now and loves being a part of the Digger Family. Serving as the Public Education Coordinator is a rewarding job.
     When not serving students in the high school or on campus you will find me enjoying the great outdoors.

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Theresa Rader
Program Director – TRIO Student Support Services

     Theresa is a proud Butte native. She has been Director of TRIO Student Support at Montana Tech in Butte, MT since 2015. The previous six years she served as TRIO Coordinator for Upward Bound and Talent Search.
     As a first-generation student, she received BA’s in English and Communications from the University of Jamestown. She is a former Montana ASPIRE President and currently serves as the Past President of the ASPIRE Region.
     In addition to TRIO, Theresa co-founded the Montana Tech STEM Academy, assisted in creating an endowed scholarship for first-generation students, serves on the Veterans Task Force and is a member of Indigenous Mentoring Program at Montana Tech.
     Outside of her professional commitments you will find her serving on several community boards.

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Tom Reget
Program Coordinator – TRIO Student Support Services

     Tom, a First Generation Montana Tech Grad, began working with the TRIO SSS program in 2018, he comes to the Institute after 16 years in broadcast television, and another 16 years travelling the highways and byways of this great land producing safety training and reclamation videos at his company Reget Video Productions.
     Working with members of all of the TRIO programs housed by the Institute allows Tom to give something back to students and his Alma Mater. Tom spends his days assisting with the branding of the Institute’s programs, website maintenance, campus promotion, and is the Montana Tech Regional Science & Engineering Fair Director, but enjoys interacting with our students the most, students whose talents continue to amaze.
     When not at work, you can find Tom on the golf course, working on remodeling projects at home, maybe golfing or probably golfing.

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Ricardo Sanon
Program Director – TRIO Upward Bound

     Ricardo Sanon entered his first year as the Director of TRIO Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math and Science in 2020.
     Ricardo, a Brockton, Mass. native, is a proud first-generation college graduate and has called Butte his home for seven years.
     When he is not getting involved with the community, Ricardo enjoys being with his family and supporting the Diggers!

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Brandon McLean
TRIO Upward Bound/Talent Search
Anaconda Program Coordinator

     Brandon is in his 15th year with the Institute of Educational Opportunities, where has served several target schools.
     He is now in his hometown of Anaconda where he helps students in grades 7 to 12.
     In his free time he likes to travel, ski and spend time with family and friends. He really enjoys watching sports and is a die hard Notre Dame fan ! GO IRISH !

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Adam Maes
TRIO Upward Bound/Talent Search
Helena Program Coordinator

     Adam is the Coordinator for the TRIO programs in Helena and Capital High Schools.
     A graduate of Anaconda High School and Montana State University – Bozeman, Adam is also a former Montana Tech Talent Search and Upward Bound Scholar.
     Adam’s passion is to motivate and empower students to reach their full potential. Without the help of TRIO Programs he wouldn’t be where he is today and strives to pay it forward.

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AliceAnn Sloan
TRIO Upward Bound/ Math & Science
Butte High School Program Coordinator

     AliceAnn is the Math/Science Upward Bound Coordinator at Butte High School. AliceAnn is originally from Hardin, MT where she graduated High School. AliceAnn obtained her Associate Degree from Dakota College at Bottineau then traveled around from New Mexico to Minnesota but eventually ending up back in Montana where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies with thematic concentrations in Education and Organizational Communication.
     AliceAnn worked as a high school softball coach and Behavior Intervention teacher before relocating to the Butte area for new opportunities for her family.
     She looks forward to working with the Montana Tech team and the Butte High students alike and sincerely hopes to provide stability and guidance to her students.  AliceAnn is committed to doing the best work she can for the Institute of Educational Opportunities.

Michelle Christianson
Program Director – TRIO Talent Search

     Michelle’s TRIO Talent Search program serves 6th-12th grade students in Helena, Anaconda, Butte and East Helena and whose primary goal is to show them the path to post-secondary education.
     Michelle is in her 14th year at the IEO, a place she calls her dream job. Michelle has been married to Alan for 31 years and has 2 grown sons, Tyler and Nate. She also treasures her fur babies, cats Calamity and Halo, and her Australian Shepherd Aussie. She enjoys shopping and eating and shopping, not necessarily in that order!

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Monica Glueckert
TRIO Talent Search Program Coordinator
(Helena Middle School – Helena) 

     My name is Monica Glueckert. I started my career in human services in Great Falls Mt. in 2012 working with youth in school based mental health programs. I earned my Master of Education in Counseling in 2016 from MSU- Northern, and am currently a school counselor as well as a private practice clinician (LCPC) in my personal small business.
     I am a mom of two children whom my world revolves around. I love backpacking, mountain biking, swimming and have been participating in various triathlons across Montana over the last 3 years. I love everything Montana has to offer.

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Michele Goyette
TRIO Talent Search Program Coordinator
(CR Anderson Middle School – Helena)

    Michele is a happy wife of 33 years, mother of 3, and grandmother of 5. Her family is a source of pride and joy. Montana born and bred, the Great Falls native loves Montana and has lived and worked in several places under the Big Sky including Havre, Conrad, and as a K-12 counselor in Sunburst prior to moving to CR Anderson in Helena.  
    Michele felt drawn to the counseling side of education, moving from teacher to school counselor because she saw her students’ need to have someone they could trust and cared about them. Education is in Michele’s genes, her grandmother, mom, dad, and several other relatives have been teachers. Her one wish was that her dad lived long enough to see her get her master’s in counseling. In addition to her master’s degree, she has her BA in K-8 education, a minor in reading, and an endorsement in Special Education.

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Kristy Wiley
TRIO Talent Search Program Coordinator
(East Middle School – Butte)

     Kristy Wiley is the TRIO Coach for East Middle School in Butte, MT. She was born and raised in Butte. Kristy is a S.T.E.M. teacher at E.M.S. She has been in the teaching field for the past 20 years and her passion is helping students feel successful in their educational path. She has been working with TRIO for the past 2 years and looks forward to many many more.
     She has two high school students her daughter Kadance who is a senior and son Wiley who is a sophomore at Butte High School.  She enjoys the outdoors, spending time with family and friends. She loves her fury babies Remi, Rue and Tink.

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Kinsley Rafish
Montana College Attainment Network (MCAN) Network Manager

     Kinsley is the MCAN Network Manager. Born and raised in Beautiful Butte, Montana, Kinsley graduated from the University of Montana Western in 2017 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and a minor in Small Business Management.
     Kinsley has worked at MT Tech just a little over three years now and loves being a part of the Digger Family. Serving as the MCAN Network Manager allows others to attain their goals of furthering their education.
     When not serving students in the high school or on campus you will find me enjoying the great outdoors.

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Ethan Krenzer
AmeriCorps VISTA – Montana College Attainment Network (MCAN) Outreach Coordinator

     Passionate about serving his community, Ethan believes in giving back. Having graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in 2019 with a Master’s in Art History, he has worked with two nonprofit arts–based learning foundations helping underserved neighborhoods in Palm Springs, California and the south–side of Chicago, Illinois.
     As a VISTA agent for the 2021–2022 term, Ethan is very excited to be a part of the Montana College Attainment Network Team and do whatever he can to continue the success of the organization.

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Sierra Hancock
AmeriCorps Team Leader

     Sierra is an AmeriCorps leader here at Montana Tech. She was born and raised in Portland, OR but moved to Washougal, WA.
     As an AmeriCorps member, Sierra is here to serve at the Legion Oasis Apartments to help students who are quarantined due to the pandemic and have no one to help them with schoolwork. Her goal is to make sure these kids have someone to help guide them through homework but also to have some fun every now and then.
     A little about Sierra is that she loves to spend time exploring the great outdoors when she can, or is am normally in the kitchen baking some great cookies.

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Nolan Kirby
AmeriCorps Team Leader

     Nolan is a 23 year old, serving AmeriCorps with Montana Tech, and enjoying Montana!
     Originally from Washington State Nolan moved to Montana through AmeriCorps and Montana Tech where he now works as a lead mentor at Capital High School in Helena.
    His goals as a mentor are to help students succeed in high school, outside of high school, and to push students to explore and create goals for themselves for once high school ends. Nolan gets great joy working with students who are excited about their future endeavors and push themselves to do better in school!
    Nolan’s favorite past-times are skateboarding, cooking, baking bread, snowboarding, and biking. You can catch him working at the Great Divide this winter as a ski lifty!

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Nico Fleming
AmeriCorps Team Leader

     Nico is a team leader primarily based out of Anaconda Montana serving in the local high school.
     He has extensive experience with education and in the past has held lecturing, tutoring, and other mentoring positions with Johns Hopkins, Penn State, and other local programs so this opportunity has been a different side of the same coin.
     Originally from Pennsylvania, Nico has always loved outdoor recreation and is thrilled to be living in Butte where the trails are quiet and beautiful.

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Noah Aukerman
AmeriCorps Team Leader

     Noah is an AmeriCorps Leader serving in Helena.
     Noah was born in Northern Indiana, raised in Durrës, Albania, and moved back to Indiana for their post-secondary education at Indiana Wesleyan University where he graduated from just before making the move to Montana.
     Noah finds working with and mentoring youth to be fulfilling endeavors as well as prime opportunities for personal growth through continued learning in community with fellow learners who are at earlier stages in their journeys.
     In his free time, Noah enjoys researching and writing on topics that pique his interest, visiting art museums, hiking, playing the piano, and traveling.

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Justin Wright
AmeriCorps Team Leader

Begins service year in September 2021

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Carl Silva
AmeriCorps Team Leader

Begins service year in September 2021

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