Board of Trustees

Walt Bowser



Walt is a business consultant to companies undergoing dramatic change situations. His consulting experience covers a variety of industries including aerospace, manufacturing,  technology, and real estate. Walt is a CPA, having started his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and was there for 13 years providing audit and consulting services to companies. Walt also developed and taught classes at PwC professional learning events. Walt is a strong believer in the Montessori method, having put both his kids through Montessori programs. Walt was raised in southern California, obtained a B.A. degree in Economics from USC and a MBA from Carnegie Mellon University.

Chris Bunting



Audrey Capp



Audrey is the Director of Communications & Public Relations for the MSU Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship. Originally, from Butte, Montana, she graduated with a degree in business with an emphasis in marketing and international business from Montana State University. After graduation, Audrey taught English in Taiwan as a volunteer before moving back to Bozeman to work at MSU. While working on campus, she completed coursework in the graphic design program and participated in the Leadership MSU program. She is currently enrolled in the Leadership Bozeman program, is a member of the Bozeman Kiwanis Club and serves as advisor for the MSU Circle K. Audrey enjoys traveling, tennis, fly fishing, hiking, skiing and cheering for her alma mater.

Nancy Characklis


Nancy is the founder and directress of The Learning Circle Montessori School Early Childhood Program and the founder of The Learning Circle Montessori Elementary School/Bozeman Summit School. Nancy worked at the School of the Woods, a Montessori school in Houston from 1972-1979. In 1977, she and her family spent a year in Switzerland where she taught in the Intercommmunity School in Zurich. She has more than 30 years experience as a Montessori teacher and administrator and three years experience in the public schools of Connecticut and Ohio. She graduated from Towson State College in 1964 with a Bachelor's degree in education and earned two credentials from the American Montessori Society for preprimary and elementary. Nancy also founded and was The Head of School at The Learning Circle Montessori Elementary School/Bozeman Summit School from its inception in 1997 through August of 2003.

Shaunna Kersten



Shaunna is an adult nurse practitioner at the Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic in Bozeman.  Shaunna received her undergraduate degree from St. Mary’s College and her Master’s from the University of California San Francisco.  Shaunna and her husband, Bill Haff, have two children who are both graduates of Bozeman Summit School.  Her son, Cody, now attends West Point and her daughter, Kersten, is a senior at Bozeman High School. When her children were students at BSS, Shaunna served in many leadership roles.  She chaired the Parent Group Organization, participated in various school activities with an emphasis on fundraising and served on the Board of Trustees from September 2005 through December 2008.

Michele McKinnie


Michele McKinnie is a Psychologist who actively practices here in Bozeman. She received her Masters and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Pacific University School of Professional Psychology in Forest Grove, Oregon.  She recently received the Charles E. Kelly Memorial Award from the Montana Psychology Association. Michele’s practice is predominantly clinical but she is interested in organizational behavior and so she is interested in board management as well as the overall well-being of the BSS community. Michele is the mother of Wren who is soon to be a 2nd grader at BSS.

Jim Tarpey



Roberto Valdivia

Vice President


Roberto Valdivia is a Faculty Research Associate in the Department of Applied Economics at Oregon State University and Visiting Researcher here at the Department of Political Science at Montana State University. He received his Masters in Applied Economics from MSU and his Doctorate in Development Economics and Environmental Economics from Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Roberto brings his experience in economics and his knowledge in a variety of research topics to the Board.  Roberto is the father of Roberto (4th grade), Leonardo (1st grade), both at BSS, and Alessandra who will soon be a preschooler at BSS.