Norah Barney works at the Anaconda School District as the Special Education and Curriculum Director. She has over 15 years of leadership experience in pre-K through 12th grade, and she is a former SPED teacher. Norah taught Special Education for 11 years in a variety of settings before jumping into administration. She earned her Masters' Degree in Special Education in 2005 and a Doctorate Degree in Education Leadership in 2018.
Norah was the recipient of the 2020 Adrian Langstaff Award, presented to a Montana School Leader for outstanding service to education. She has presented at many state, national, and international conferences.
Norah currently lives in Fairmont, Montana, with her husband, Tony, and her two dogs.
Areas of Expertise: PLCs, MTSS, Data Analysis, Special Education, SEL, Intervention, Leadership, Early Childhood Education Programming & Best Practices, Climate & Culture Change, Standards-Aligned Grading
Ryder Delaloye is the Associate Director of Social, Emotional, Ethical Learning (SEE Learning) at the Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-based Ethics within Emory University. SEE Learning has emerged as a leading Social Emotional Learning program that focuses on building universal secular ethics, compassion, and awareness. Ryder's experience as a teacher, coordinator, and administrator spans from 2nd grade through graduate school. He has taught in public and private schools both domestically and internationally. As a K-12 public education practitioner, Ryder has led many schools and districts through numerous education-based initiatives.
Ryder is grounded by his wife and children; with whom he loves to play and go on adventures in the mountains.
Areas of Expertise: Social Emotional Learning; Professional Learning Communities (PLC's); Strategic Planning; K-12 Curriculum Alignment; Blended Learning; Restorative Practices; Standards-based Grading; Multiple Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS); Citizenship Education; Differentiation; Writing & Reading Across the Curriculum; Teaching Controversial Topics; Student-centered Learning; Inquiry-based Instruction; Sustainability Education; Project-based Learning
JORDANN LANKFORD-FORSTER (Bright Trail Woman)
Jordann Lankford-Forster is from Great Falls, Montana and is A’aniiih and Anishinaabe. Her A’aniiih name is Bright Trail Woman. Jordann received a major in Native American Studies and teaching degree in Broad Field Social Studies from the University of Montana. Jordann has spent 10 years in education and currently serves as an educator and IEFA instructional coach for Great Falls Public Schools. She is also a co-facilitator for Bright Trail Education (an educational consulting company).
Jordann has been recognized as a Montana Indian Teacher of the Year as well as the BSNF 2021 Teacher of the Year. She believes that public education is vital to the growth and development of society, and by providing students with a strong educational foundation using primary source documents from multiple sources, students will be able navigate their identities, world, and future.
Areas of Expertise: IEFA Instructional Coaching; Dropout Prevention Education; Education Consulting
Miranda Murray is from Great Falls, MT and a descendant of the Yankton Sioux. She received her teaching degree in Art Education (K-12) from the University of Montana. Miranda has spent 10 years in education and currently serves as an IEFA instructional coach for Great Falls Public Schools. She is also a co-facilitator of Bright Trail Education (an educational consulting company).
Miranda is a strong advocate for public education and the unique integration of Indigenous Education for All in Montana schools. She wants to be a part of an educational system that shares multiple perspectives and gives students the opportunity to be critical thinkers. Miranda has recently been awarded the Teresa Veltkamp Advocacy and the 2019 Salute to Women awards for her work in local and state communities.
Areas of Expertise: IEFA Instructional Coaching; Education Consulting
DOROTHEA (DOTTIE) SUSAG
Dorothea (Dottie) Susag is an award-winning high school teacher who has been critical to successful implementation of the Indian Education for All initiative. She was the recipient of the 1992-93 Christa McAuliffee Award for Montana that culminated in her 1998 NCTE publication of Roots and Branches: A Resource of Native American Literature Themes, Lessons, and Bibliographies. She earned two Master of Arts degrees in English from the University of Montana, Missoula: Native American Literature and English Education.
Since retiring from teaching, Dottie has worked as a curriculum specialist and has written and edited several secondary-level ELA Units as well as the 2013 publication Birthright: Born to Poetry - a Collection of Montana Indian Poetry, for the Montana Office of Public Instruction. In 2017, she was one of six to receive the Montana Governor's Humanities Award given every two years. During COVID, she conducted presentations through Humanities Montana to secondary and college-level classes through Zoom or Google Classroom. She now lives in Oakdale, Minnesota, and she travels to Montana whenever the opportunity arises.
Areas of Expertise: Community-based Education; Teaching Native American Literature; Assessment Strategies; Technical Writing; Family & Community History
With nearly two decades of experience in the education sector, Genevieve Thomas, President of Spark Educational Consulting, and has served as a special education teacher, literacy specialist, teacher coach, school psychologist, and special education administrator. She holds graduate degrees in both special education and school psychology from Loyola Marymount University.
Genevieve is passionate about special education policies and best practices for students with diverse learning needs, early literacy instruction and intervention, and multi-tiered systems of support. She supports teachers and schools across these areas through the development and implementation of professional learning opportunities, side-by-side coaching activities, and system-level consultation work. She is particularly skilled at collaborative analysis of data to inform instructional decisions for both the core educational program and academic and social-emotional interventions and supports.
Areas of Expertise: Special Education; Literacy Instruction and Intervention; Dyslexia; MTSS
Melissa Tovaas is the Director of Education Services for School Services of Montana (SSoM). Melissa began her 20+ years in education as an elementary/special education teacher and has worked nationally as an education consultant. She works with schools across Montana, providing professional learning and curriculum support through SSoM, and she supports implementation of best practices in curriculum design, literacy, social emotional learning (SEL), STEM, and more. Melissa manages the Montana Education Curriculum Consortium (MECC) and enjoys collaborating with schools and regional organizations, planning a wide variety of professional learning support. She also serves on the Board for the Montana ASCD and supports the SEL and literacy programs of the Center for the Collaborative Classroom, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating hearts and minds.
Areas of Expertise: Social Emotional Learning (SEL); Literacy; Curriculum Alignment and Design; Standards-Based Grading; STEM; Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and Collaboration; Culturally Responsive Practices
SSoM Executive Director &
Director of Education Services
EMAIL mtovaas* (see footer)
PHONE (406) 272-0021