Board of Trustees

Victoria Brailsford



A faculty member of the Age of Montessori and a professional development specialist for the Montana Early Childhood Project, Victoria Brailsford has almost two decades of experience in teaching and administration. Victoria has a master’s degree in Montessori education from St. Catherine University and is a certified Montessori teacher through Caspari Montessori Institute. Her service on non-profits boards and committees includes the Montana Montessori Educators’ Association, the Caspari Montessori Institute, Great Beginnings Montessori School, and Thrive. Victoria has taught a variety of workshops and seminars around the country in parent and teacher education for various organizations. She has published articles on education and parenting in several magazines and publications. Victoria is a parent to two MSU students who both attended Montessori schools and she considers the Montessori philosophy to be a way of life, rather than just an educational approach to learning.

Chris Bunting



Chris is a social entrepreneur. In 2001, along with his wife Rebekah, he co-founded Beyond Boundaries Institute, a non-profit entity utilizing hatha yoga to help people enhance their physical and inner well-being. He directed Bikram Yoga Bozeman for 10 years under the umbrella of Beyond Boundaries. Chris also co-founded and directs the Northern Kenya Fund, which provides scholarships to underserved high school students in northern Kenya’s Chalbi Desert region. Additionally, Chris serves on the advisory board for Earth Justice. Chris holds a degree in Environmental Studies and Sociology from St. Lawrence University and has two children, one of whom attends Bozeman Summit School.

Nancy Characklis

Founder and Trustee


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.

Robyn Miller

Secretary and Treasurer



Dan Ruggles



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 Leonardo and Alessandra both of them attending BSS and Roberto who attended BSS from first grade through sixth grade and graduated in the Spring of 2017.