Discovery Staff

Discovery offers families a supportive, knowledgeable staff that is educated, experienced, and committed to developing relationships with the children and families in their care. Classroom teachers have backgrounds and degrees in Early Childhood Education, Child Development, and other related fields. They offer a developmentally appropriate and child-centered program focused on helping children gain social and emotional competence, in a hands-on, play-based setting. Low adult / child ratios ensure that everyone receives special attention and quality services. Individualized programming based on observation and documentation is provided for all children in the program. Discovery’s staff includes:

Discovery Staff

Collette Box
Director

Education / Experience – Has been part of Discovery since its beginnings in 1992, working with the two and three year olds and developing what is now known as the Playgroup. She added the responsibilities of Assistant Director shortly thereafter, and became the Director in 1995. She has a BS degree in Early Childhood Education and is halfway through a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

Professional – Advocates for children and families at the local and state level through professional organizations and advisory boards, striving to raise awareness about the importance of environments and relationships for children birth to five.

Interests – Gardening and outdoor environments and pursuits.

Fun Fact – Has gone back to school 5 times – the ultimate life-long learner!

Becky Madison
Pre-K Coordinator

Education / Experience – Has been part of Discovery since 1993, working in a variety of positions before becoming coordinator for the Pre-K classroom in 1999. Becky has a BA degree with an emphasis on Child Development and Family Relations.

Interests – Grandkids, gardening, quilting, and scrapbooking.

Fun Fact – Had no aunts, uncles, or cousins growing up. Both of her parents were only children.

Debbie Moon
Pre-S Coordinator

Education / Experience – Joined Discovery staff in August 2001 as a support staff and Substitute, before taking on the Pre-School classroom in 2002. She has a BA degree in Liberal Arts with emphasis in Early Childhood Education and Child Development. She has worked in the early childhood education field since 1979 in a variety of settings and positions.

Interests – Grandkids, skiing, kayaking, hiking, traveling, gardening, and Book Club.

Fun Fact – Started international travel at age 55 and has been to Peru, seen polar bears in the Arctic, and been to Italy 4 times.

Teresa DeStefano
Classroom Assistant

Education / Experience – Was one of the original 5 staff members of Discovery in 1992. Has worked at Discovery most of the years since then, leaving a couple different times to pursue other interests and professional experiences. She has a BS degree in Elementary Ed / Special ED emphasis, with many additional early childhood education credits and workshops over the years.

Interests – Gardening, reading, grandkids and family.

Fun Fact – Loves to travel and is looking forward to having more time for it in the coming years.

Tamara Allery
Pre-S Classroom Assistant

Education / Experience – Joined Discovery staff in December 2010 as a part-time substitute and aide while maintaining employment at Glacier National Park in the summer months. Became permanent staff in September 2012. She has AS degree in Early Childhood Education from FVCC, and over the years, has intermittently completed on-line coursework through University of Montana Western in pursuit of BS degree in ECE. She has been working in the field since 2007.

Interests – Downhill skiing and snowshoeing, biking, hiking, kayaking, and tennis.

Fun fact – Born in Maine to two Army parents that included living around the world, including Saudi Arabia during the evacuation of Desert Storm in 1990.

Sheryl Dupont
Classroom Assistant

Education / Experience – Joined Discovery staff in September of 2012 and has worked with all ages and on all shifts since she started. She received an Early Childhood Education certificate from Everett Community College. She was the owner, director, and program supervisor of “America’s Best Childcare” in Everett, WA, where she taught Pre-K for 20 years.

Interests – Grandkids and family, knitting, snowshoeing, travel.

Fun Fact – Recently remarried in February 2019 “to the best husband ever.” She has 4 children and 5 grandchildren.

Meredith Mikkola
Playgroup Classroom Co-Coordinator

Education / Experience – Joined Discovery staff in July 2015. She has worked and cared for children in a variety of capacities throughout high school and college, including volunteering during college years with an after-school program and with Girls, Inc. She also worked in a Kindergarten classroom as a 1:2 instructional assistant in Massachusetts after graduation from college. She graduated from Salem State University with BS degree in Early Childhood Education and Psychology and is P-3 certified in Montana.

Interests – photography, hiking and exploring Montana, yoga.

Fun Fact – Was born in Tennessee!

Shay Reynolds
Classroom Assistant

Education / Experience – Joined the Discovery staff in February 2018 as part of a required college Practicum experience and has been working with all ages both in the afternoons and as classroom support in the various classroom in the morning. She will be graduating in May 2019 from FVCC with an AS degree in Early Childhood Education.

Interests – Spending time with nieces and nephews, hiking, and painting.

Fun fact – Is an identical twin!

Ashlee Jensen
Pre-K Classroom Assistant

Education / Experience – Ashley started at Discovery in November 2016 and has worked with all ages at the center. She has worked in the field since 2011 in a variety of positions both during college and after and has experience with Montessori and play-based programming strategies. She has an AS degree in Early Childhood Education from FVCC and has been completing on-line coursework for a BS in Early Childhood and Adolescent Psychology.

Interests – Spending time with family, swimming, and adventurous road trips.

Fun Fact – Is originally from Iowa!

Torree Heaton
Playgroup Classroom Coordinator

Education / Experience – First joined Discovery staff in 2010 while completing AS degree at FVCC. Returned to the organization in April of 2018. During the intermittent years, she completed a BS degree from UM Western, had a child, and worked as Family Support Specialist at the Child Development Center (CDC).

Interests – Hiking with family and dogs, knitting, and repurposing items.

Fun Fact – Loves Mexican food!

Patricia Shipley Trageser
Classroom Assistant

Education / Experience – Joined Discovery staff in January of 2015 as a substitute and remained in that position until taking on permanent position in the summer of 2018. She works with all ages and is currently helping develop an early afternoon music and movement program for 4-5 year olds. She has a BS degree in Early Childhood Education and is also Montessori trained. She has taught grades K, 1, 2, 4, & 5, as well as a 3-5 year old Preschool classroom.

Interests – Grandkids, reading, and travel.

Fun Fact – Lived on yacht for 8 years in Maryland.

Barbara Otey
Admin & Classroom Assistant

Education / Experience – Joined Discovery staff in August of 2018 in a dual-position that includes work as Director’s Assistant and afternoon child care staff. She also spends plenty of time in all the classrooms as substitute/classroom support. She has been working in a variety of positions in the early childhood field since 2014, in both Flathead Valley and in Great Falls. She is also a Dance Instructor at a local dance studio in Kalispell. She has a BS degree in Integrative Physiology and Health Sciences from Alma College in Michigan, plus additional early childhood credits from FVCC.

Interests – swimming in alpine lakes, kayaking and canoeing, camping, biking, and reading (in a hammock!)

Fun Fact – Before switching to Early Childhood Education, had been pursuing career in pediatric physical therapy. Loves how the science of child development and education overlap.

Beth Simon
Cook and Food Services Manager

Education / Experience – Joined Discovery staff in June 2017. She has been in Food Service most of her working life, except for when raising twins girls and son. She owned / operated Simply Sweet Baking Co. in Kalispell for 4 years before moving to Beaverton Oregon to help manage the Pastry Department of a local upscale grocery store. She’s been back in Montana since 2015.

Interests – Avid gardener, fabric artist, active grandparent.

Fun Fact – Grand Prize winter of Sunset Magazine Pie Contest “Apple Cranberry Currant Pie” from San Francisco Baking Institute.

Brianna Levenan
Kitchen & Classroom Support

Education– graduated from Glacier HS and has taken Continuing Education classes at FVCC. Sign Language with Preschoolers most recently.

Experience– is the oldest in her family and loves assisting with her younger siblings. Interned at Smith Memorial Daycare and worked part time at Trinity Lutheran Daycare.

Interests– Briana loves baking delicious desserts to share. In her spare time she enjoys yoga and taking hot tubs. She is an amazing painter! She likes to travel to see her extended family.