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Gennifre Hartman

Executive Director and Head of School 

 Linked In/gennifre

Gennifre Hartman, our Executive Director and Head of School, provides overall leadership of school operations and programs. She is responsible for the visionary leadership for Great Beginnings, and moving the school through the expansion process while articulating the school’s mission for families, staff and  community. 

She has 19+ years educational non-profit experience in leadership roles and has  17+ years’ experience working as Head of School for various schools, including one she  founded. She holds a Master’s degree in English Education from the University of Montana. In addition to Great Beginnings, she currently teaches at Montana State University, and is a risk-management consultant for international programming with Outdoor Safety Institute.  Gennifre served on the Board of Directors for Great Beginnings in numerous capacities starting in 2011. She has two sons, both whom have attended Great Beginnings and have traveled with her to Africa, Thailand and Central America.

Those who really know her know that she lived in a 13' Scamp trailer last summer with her two boys, her aging dog, and a puppy. They parked on rivers within 20 miles of Bozeman and commuted to the school from various trailheads all summer. She has a high tolerance for chaos, cooking in small spaces, forgotten fish hooks, and dirty socks. 


Mikel Daenen

Admissions Director


Mikel Daenen is the Admissions Director at Great Beginnings Montessori School. For many of the new parents, she is often the first person you will meet at the school.  With more than a decade experience as a GBMS Board member, fundraising leader, classroom aide and volunteer parent, Mikel knows this school well.  She also brings over 13 years of experience from her work in the hospitality industry with cruise lines. Originally from the Seattle area, Daenen is the mother of three children (ages 13, 15, & 16) all of whom attended Great Beginnings. She often bikes to work and enjoys cross country skiing and hiking the trails near her home with her family, all of whom have also volunteered for the school during special events and celebrations.

Those who really know her, know that she originally wrote the sentence above several years ago, and that her bike tire has been flat since then. 


Jennifer Denhart

Assistant Head of School

Jennifer is the Assistant Head of School at Great Beginnings, overseeing the teaching staff and teaching in each of the classrooms.  She has a degree in elementary education from Montana State University and a Montessori teaching certificate from Caspari Montessori Institute.  She has 15 years experience in early childhood and kindergarten classrooms, in Bozeman and Billings.  She has experience in staff leadership, music, curriculum planning and design and parent education .  Jennifer spends her free time enjoying the great outdoors and her two German shepherds.

Those who really know her know that she enjoys quoting from Mike Judge's Cult Classic film Office Space, and regularly refers to herself as Bob and reminds her colleagues that "Next Friday…is Hawaiian shirt day. So, you know, if you want to, go ahead and wear a Hawaiian shirt and jeans."


Brandi Ellerton

Business Manager 


Brandi is our Business Manager, and simultaneously serves as our school's Philanthropic Coordinator. She has a degree in elementary education from MSU-Bozeman and previous Montessori classroom experience from her time in Arizona. Brandi was an active volunteer while here son was in attendance at Great Beginnings and she valiantly leads our annual Chocolate Moose fundraiser.   In her previous life, she served as the Development Director for the Montana Ballet Company and also spent many years traveling around the United States setting up and managing site offices for multi-million dollar heavy utility construction projects. Brandi has two wonderful children and enjoys camping and skiing with her family. 

Those who really know her, know that Brandi spends a ridiculous amount of her time shuttling her two children in an endless parade of ballet, football, basketball and lacrosse games and practices. Don't be surprised if you see their family at a stoplight eating breakfast and/ or dinner in the car. 


Jamey McCormick

Lead Kindergarten Teacher & Co-Lead Sunshine Room

Jamey McCormick has taught at Great Beginnings for seven years and is the Lead Kindergarten Teacher. Jamey was a primary school teacher in the Bozeman public schools before joining Great Beginnings as a volunteer classroom aide when her daughters attended the school.  Jamey completed an intensive Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes training in Michigan to support her focus on students’ early reading success. Jamey also has previous Montessori training and early childhood experience in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Jamey can often be found running with her dogs and skate skiing in the beautiful Bridger Mountains.


Megan Baker-Hunger

Co-Lead Teacher, Friendship Room

Megan Baker-Hunger is the Co-Lead teacher in the Friendship Room. She is a fully-certified Montessori teacher from the Caspari Institute, and additionally has her Bachelor's degree in Art from MSU. She has worked as a Lead teacher at Sourdough Montessori since 2011, and left the school to have her baby boy, Henry. 



Deb Zander

Lead Teacher, Rainbow Room

Deb joined Great Beginnings as our Aftercare Director in 2014. After homeschooling and raising her five children, Deb decided that Montessori was a perfect fit for her love of individualized education and children. A graduate of Loyola University in Chicago, Deb’s first career was as a certified dental assistant. Deb recently earned her Early Childhood Montessori Certification with the Age of Montessori, supervised by our former Head of School, Victoria Brailsford. When she’s not at Great Beginnings, Deb spends her time with her three grandchildren, and enjoys hiking, bike riding and scrapbooking. 


Abbee Skaggs

Assistant Teacher, Sunshine Room

 Abbee Skaggs is an associate teacher in the Sunshine classroom. She has a degree in health and human development with a focus in early childhood education from MSU. For her degree, Abbee interned at a local Montessori school where she gained valuable classroom experience. Abbee has also taught art classes at the three through six level in traditional preschool classrooms. Abbee grew up in Bozeman, and when not at work, she enjoys Zumba and time outside with her dog.


Hannah Beckner

Assistant Teacher, Rainbow Room

Hannah Beckner, is the most recent face at our school. She is a recent graduate from West Virginia University with a degree in Child Development and Family Studies. Hannah's internship was specialized with infants and toddlers, and she has additional professional experience teaching preschool age children at a child development center.



Marie Jones 

Assistant Teacher, Friendship Room

Those who really know her know that she considers it a good day when she starts with a cup of strong coffee, a poem on NPR, and a clean pair of matching socks.