Discovery Staff 2

Alessandra Balyasny

MS/HS Science

Alessandra grew up in Chicago, Illinois, but has been living in the Bozeman area for about 3 years. She is the oldest of 8 children in her family and takes after her great-grandmother in becoming a science teacher. Her college career led her to study a combination of pre-medicine, pre-veterinary, pre-nursing, and science education classes in California, Illinois, and Montana. She recently graduated from Montana State University with her Bachelor’s in Science Education. Her teaching career has allowed her to work in Chicago, Jackson Hole, and various regions in Montana. 

In her spare time, Alessandra loves skiing, horseback riding, and spending time with her pets.

Shallen Gurtler

MS/HS Mathematics

Shallen went to Michigan Technological University to get a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Polymer Sciences. She continued her education and obtained a Master of Science in Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology with a thesis focused on developing iDNA methodology in the Keweenaw Peninsula to monitor mammal communities. Shallen’s true passion is in teaching, which has led her to Big Sky Discovery Academy.

Joshua Knudsen

MS/HS English

Josh graduated from BYU-Idaho with a B.A. in English Education. During college, he had a passion for studying poetry, literature, and writing. Josh spent the majority of his professional career teaching at public schools in Utah. While teaching, he enrolled in a variety of classes and workshops to further his education and earned his ESL and Gifted and Talented endorsements. After teaching in Utah, he moved to Idaho and took a job as a habilitative interventionist where he implemented therapies to modify the behavior of children with developmental disabilities. He has spent the last couple of years working on a potato farm. 

Josh is excited to return to teaching in a private school setting and bring his experience from his varied work history to benefit the students of Big Sky Discovery Academy.  

Hannah Boyd

Art Education

Hannah grew up in the small town of Valley Center, CA painting murals and creating art for fun. She made the decision to move to Bozeman and attend Montana State University where she achieved a Bachelor’s degree in Art Education and worked as an Intramural Sports Supervisor. Bozeman is where she fell more in love with the outdoors and all forms of art. After graduating, Hannah taught Art, Science and Math at Manhattan Christian School. 

Hannah is excited to be a part of the Discovery team! She can’t wait to see the creative ideas students bring to the classroom.

Noah Fisher

Outdoor Education

MS Social Studies

Originally hailing from Ann Arbor, MI, Noah graduated from the College of Wooster with a BA in Anthropology and a focus in Environmental Studies. Before teaching at Discovery, Noah has taught outdoor experiential education in the mountains of Colorado. After experiencing the benefits and growth associated with experiential education in high school and college, Noah has continued to seek out opportunities to facilitate similar growth in others. 

In his free time, Noah is a landscape photographer and loves to pair that with climbing, hiking, trail running, and skiing.

Lacey Buczala

Early Childhood Montessori Teacher

Lacey grew up in Great Falls, Montana. There she was naturally assigned as an aide to her Mother’s educational daycare, which provided a foundation for a life-long love of working with young children. Lacey later attended MSU in Bozeman, drawn to the area by the beauty and recreational opportunities. She has spent the last 10 years managing children’s ski school operations throughout Montana. She has a passion for Montessori education and recently received her Montessori Early Childhood teaching certificate. 

When not guiding children to learn and grow at school, she enjoys spending time with her husband and puppy, painting, camping, canoeing, and tending to her chickens and goats.

Allie Lindsay

Elementary Montessori Teacher

Allie has spent the last four years teaching in both Early Childhood and Lower Elementary Montessori classrooms. She completed Montessori training and received her Early Childhood Teaching Certification through Age of Montessori in Bozeman. She is now pursuing a degree in Elementary and Special Education to expand her expertise. In addition to teaching and her own studies, she has worked as a one-on-one tutor for early readers needing extra support; focusing specifically on phonemic awareness and skills for dyslexic learners.

Allie wholeheartedly believes in the Montessori philosophy and teaching to the individual child. She is passionate about providing an environment that fosters a love for learning, mindfulness practice, and community involvement.

Betsy Funk

Elementary Montessori Teacher

Betsy moved from Traverse City, Michigan to Bozeman in 2007 to attend MSU and received her B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences with a minor in Sociology. After graduating in 2011, Betsy began working as a ski instructor, camp counselor, and nanny, which quickly proved to be something she had immense passion for. In 2018, Betsy returned to MSU to study Early Childhood Education and to teach at the Child Development Center. She is currently pursuing her love for Montessori education and is in the process of becoming certified in Montessori Elementary I-II.

Outside of school, Betsy enjoys traveling, camping, hiking, spending time with her little sister (Big Brothers Big Sisters), skiing, swimming, snorkeling, cooking, and eating.

Alexandria Love

Teacher Assistant

Alexandria (Lexie) is from Wichita, Kansas and recently moved to Montana in December 2021. She is currently a senior in the E-Campus Fisheries & Wildlife Program at Oregon State University. She will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Science Degree (B.S.). She also earned her Associate of Arts (A.A.) and Associate of Science (A.S.) Degrees from Johnson County Community College before enrolling at Oregon State University. Prior to Big Sky Discovery Academy, she worked as a Tutor for the Native American Indian Education Program in the Wichita Public School district for four years with students in kindergarten through fifth grade. In addition, she was chosen to be an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Tutor for a Wichita Public School high school. Finally, Lexie interned at Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Goddard, Kansas, where she enjoyed combining education and working closely with animals such as ring-tailed lemurs, pygmy hippos, and giraffes. Her most recent position was working in the Conservation Education department at the Houston Zoo with children aged 4-6. In her free time, she enjoys walks with Ellie (her Australian Shepherd) and Trixie (her greyhound) as well as spending time with her two-legged friends and family.

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