We are all works in progress who never stop growing.
At Chrysalis, student instruction is provided by state-certified high school teachers supported by our tutorial staff. Core classes are teacher-led, yet we also provide several online courses for students interested in unique subjects. Every student has an academic advisor who works directly with that student’s therapist and is a member of the student’s treatment team, providing comprehensive evaluation and better outcomes.
Darla was born and raised in northwest Montana. She’s had “Eureka moments” ever since calling Eureka home. She graduated college in Montana (with one year of her study completed in Maine) and went on to graduate school at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
Darla holds BS and MA degrees in education with a specialization in reading. She has taught all levels of students, from preschool through college, and has enjoyed each and every grade. Creating cross-curricular unit studies is Darla’s all-time favorite educational pursuit.
In keeping with her comprehensive approach to teaching, Darla has immersed herself in various aspects of our therapeutic boarding school since joining us in 2007 – a major Eureka moment for her. Initially, she joined our program staff, then became food services coordinator, taught English 9 and English 11 and has become our academic director. Darla’s intensive background in education makes her an important and valuable leader as she fulfills her directorial role.
Motivating and encouraging the excellent staff of teachers at Chrysalis is an aspect of Darla’s position that is especially rewarding to her. That said, educating kids has never faded as one of her passions. So along with Darla’s responsibilities as academic director, she continues her commitment to transforming young lives one-on-one by teaching English 9.
Over 30 years ago, Darla fell in love with a Midwestern boy named Marty. She’s still in love with him today. They have five children, three of whom are married, one who works and lives nearby and one teenage daughter at home. A young grandson immensely blesses their lives as well.
Krysten teaches sophomore, junior and senior English, as well as college prep, at Chrysalis. She grew up in Oregon and attended college in Montana. She completed her student teaching in Australia while earning a BA in English teaching.
After graduating, she worked in therapeutic group homes for teens as part of the direct-care staff and managed weekend programming. She has worked as a substitute teacher and paraprofessional, mainly in special education and English classrooms.
Outside the classroom, Krysten enjoys volunteering to teach hunters, promoting safety and stewardship. For relaxation, she goes for Nordic skiing, hiking and, of course, reading.
Thomas is originally from Kalispell, Montana, with extended family in the surrounding areas of Great Falls, Helena, and Missoula. At the age of five, he moved to Florida, and continued to come back and visit Montana throughout his childhood. He always had a passion for math and graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and began teaching high school math classes, while also pursuing his graduate degree in Secondary Education.
After teaching at the high school level for 6 years, Thomas left the classroom to pursue other avenues in education, which included curriculum development, e-learning, instructional technology, and many others. Prior to Chrysalis he worked at an Instructional Technology position with Saint Leo University, where he specialized in supporting faculty in effective instructional practice with classroom technology.
Over the years, he and his wife dreamed about moving back to Montana, and are so excited to be able to enjoy all of the activities it has to offer. Thomas enjoys all types of outdoor activities, such as hiking, rafting, fishing, and camping. He also enjoys playing the guitar, working with animals, and spending time with friends and family.
Kerri is a native of Montana who spent her early years on a farm wrapping her mind around the natural world. After graduating with a degree in biology, Kerri packed her bags to work as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa. During this time, she began what would be a lifelong commitment to community development and related initiatives. This experience continues to shape her choices and insight regarding education and social change.
Upon her return to the United States, Kerri once again took a volunteer position, this time as a Rural Outreach Prevention Educator (ROPE) volunteer in Alaska. This work paralleled a growing desire to work with youth throughout her career. Upon completion of her service in Alaska and a flurry of international travel, she embarked on another social movement called Teach For America (TFA). It was after this period that Kerri explored a new direction in making connections with youth. A friend encouraged her to work at a therapeutic wilderness program in Utah. This experience helped Kerri relate to students with a new level of awareness. She found that building genuine relationships with students was just as important as the content she taught.
Then came the most serendipitous job opening at Chrysalis. Kerri was thrilled to apply the synergy of her previous experiences in her new role teaching science at Chrysalis. Since coming aboard, she has embraced making genuine connections working with students.
Leslie was born in California, but then spent time living in Colorado and Alaska before she landed in beautiful Eureka Montana. She has lived here since 1980. Leslie has a passion for helping adolescents navigate their way through the process of recovery from substances. She met founder Mary Alexine and several Chrysalis students through an NA meeting she had started in the Eureka community. After having worked closely with Mary for a number of months Leslie was encouraged to apply at Chrysalis; she has now been working here for 12 years, mostly in a case management and wellness coordinator role.
Leslie brings her knowledge of paring three children to her work at Chrysalis, offering a nurturing, family like approach to her relationship with the students. I was a case manager for a number of years. That involved taking care of the students medical and dental needs along with teaching valuable life skills. I have gone on several international trips, done my share of cooking healthy meals for large groups, co-facilitated recovery groups and also have worked closely with Dr. Houser (our visiting psychiatrist) and the pharmacy to ensure the medication management is going smoothly. I manage the Chrysalis gardens with the students and hopefully instill a passion in the girls for growing their own food!
In my free time I enjoy organic gardening, hiking with my dogs, music, helping others and studying a holistic approach to health. I enjoy making my own salves and harvesting herbs for healing. I love spending time with family, especially while camping.
Amanda teaches Spanish I, II, and III and is a facilitator for students with online language classes. She grew up in South Carolina where she attended Converse College. She earned her Bachelors Degree in Education and Spanish.
James teaches U.S. History, World History, and Government. He is originally from Klamath Falls, Oregon. During his childhood, he moved all over the country with his mother as she sought various professional opportunities in the education field. When James was in third grade he moved to Wisdom, Montana where he lived there for three years. He has a passion for woodworking and computers. James received his Bachelors degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Secondary Education. Prior to receiving his degrees, he was in the US Navy.
James is married to Amanda Gray. They have two young boys. They have wanted to move to Montana for many years, They found the opportunity at Chrysalis the perfect reason to make one of the biggest changes in their lives.
Our art teacher, Sean Tribble, began his art training in high school in Texas. After graduation, his plan was to study music and it was during the pursuit of his music degree that he found his way back into a clay class. This led to an apprenticeship with renowned Texas potter, Randy Brodnax, for the better part of three years. He spent the summer of 2002 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado in a internship at LaLoba Ranch Clay Center.
Upon his return to Texas, Sean went on to pursue a degree in studio art with a focus in ceramics at Baylor University. Sean visited Northwest Montana in the summer of 2003 and shortly after, started making plans to relocate in Big Sky Country. It took some time, but in early 2008, Sean landed in Eureka full time, where he taught at another local program. In addition to teaching art, Sean serves as a pastor at a local church, and is an active professional potter.
In 2017, Sean participated in a program for Montana artists, put on by the Montana Arts Council. Sean brings years of experience to the classroom with him everyday. He is excited to share his love of the arts and the process of creating with our students at Chrysalis.
Sean is from Texas and brought an appropriately sized passion for creating, and facilitating others to do so, when he moved to Montana. He met his wife, Michelle, our music teacher, in Eureka in 2011. Together they play music in Michelle’s band, have a house full of instruments and are the proud people of one dog, Woodrow the Wonder Dog.
Michelle teaches choir, songwriting, music explorations and guitar. She grew up in Franklin, Tennessee, and studied communication at Baylor University. She is a guitar player, singer/songwriter, recording artist and plays in a band.
Michelle is passionate about encouraging the creative spark to shine in each kid, providing students with an opportunity to earn credit as they learn to play instruments, write songs and sing. Each class has a very hands-on approach to learning & Michelle is thrilled when students are able to apply what they learn at campus events such as Open Mic.
When she’s not at school, Michelle enjoys adventuring outdoors, catching live shows, making music and hanging out with her husband Sean, the art teacher & their dog Woodrow, who happens to have his own hashtag: #WoodrowTheWonderDog.