Columbia Falls Ruder Elementary
1500 12th Avenue West Columbia Falls, MT 59912
District 6 School Board
Gail is a resident of the West Glacier community and has been the high school trustee representative of School District 8 (West Glacier) since 1998. She has served on the Long Range Planning, Transportation, and Policy/Title IX Committees. She attended high school in St. Louis County in Minnesota, and received her B.A. in education from the University of Minnesota in Duluth, and her M.A. in secondary education from Morehead State University in Morehead, KY. She has three sons, all of which are Columbia Falls High School graduates. She is employed in Glacier National Park as a Human Resources Assistant.
Barb has served as trustee to the Columbia Falls School Board since May, 1995, and has held officer positions during her tenure. She serves on the board of directors to the MT Schools Unemployment Insurance Program, first elected in 2000, and has held officer positions during her tenure. In October, 2005, Barb was elected to the MT School Board Association Board of Directors, representing Region One (Flathead, Lake & Lincoln counties), and currently serves as President. In September, 2008, Barb was elected as the National School Board Association Western Region representative for the Policy & Resolutions Committee. She was also appointed as an advisor for the NSBA Leadership Conference. Barb has earned recognitions for long-term participation with MTSBA’s trustee training programs, including a multi-year Marvin Heinz Award Winner. She served as a panel member to the Augenblick & Meyer Professional Judgment Study of School Funding in 2002, as well as the only trustee member of the State’s Panel of Experts formed to review information related to the 2005 Legislature’s Quality School Interim Committee Work. She has also served on all committees of the Columbia Falls’ board during her tenure as a trustee. A native to Montana, Barb owns a real estate brokerage, as well as an accounting and business services company. She and her husband, Russ, have two married children, Keyna and Terin, and one granddaughter, Brylea. Barb enjoys golf, travel, gardening, puzzles and visiting with friends. Aside from a career and school board service, she also serves with a non-profit organization, Log Jam, to provide financial assistance to families in Montana who have lost loved ones in timber related accidents. Her service to schools started as a high school student body representative to her local district’s board. Although a non-voting member, the experience served as a catalyst for her involvement and dedication to providing and protecting public education for all students. Personal Philosophy: I am very proud to serve as a school board trustee for the Columbia Falls School District. I feel privileged for the opportunities that were provided to me throughout my educational journey, and want to protect and provide similar opportunities for the children in our community and state. I feel very strongly that K-12 education is the backbone of society, and it is our job as trustees to work with our communities to provide the best quality education for our children so they are prepared to meet and accept the challenges they will face in the future.
Keri Hill was elected as a School District Six Trustee in 2017. Keri also serves on the SD#6 Title IX / Policy and Long Range Planning Committees. She and her husband Beau are lifelong Columbia Falls residents and 1997 CFHS graduates. They have three children: LaKia, Jace and Jory, who are 4th generation Wildcats. Keri graduated from Miles Community College in 2000 and then went on to earn her state esthetics license. She is currently the owner / operator of Beauty Bar, a skin spa in Kalispell, which she established in 2009. Throughout the years, the Hill family has fostered many children, and under their care, they have lovingly taught these children the importance of family, unity, and kindness as well as instilling the importance of their education and how it helps them to develop into their highest potential. Keri and her family enjoy many activities in the area, especially hiking, fishing, camping and skiing. The family has a deep passion for athletics. Keri and Beau volunteer coach for many of their children’s activities, including basketball, baseball, football, and soccer. When they are not out on the playing field, Keri and the kids follow Beau to many of his professional events and cheer him on in the bullring arena!
Larry Wilson began his service on the SD #6 Board of Trustees in 1975 and maintained his seat until 1983. He took a short leave and began again serving on the Board from 1986 to 1998. Over the next ten years he has been appointed to serve on several occasions due to early resignations of former trustees. He was re-elected by acclamation in May of 2008. This is his 23rd year on the Board of Trustees and has served as Chairman for nine of those years. Larry is a long-time Columbia Falls resident. He has worked as both a teacher and a coach at SD #6. He was a teacher from 1960 until 1974 and taught mostly at the junior high. He also taught half time at the high school while he was coaching wrestling. He was raised in Kalispell and graduated from Flathead High School in 1955, and from the University of Montana (then Montana State University) in 1960. He has a grown daughter, Janice, who lives in Missoula with her husband Rick and their two daughters, Cindy 16 and Quina 14. He also has an adopted son, David, who graduated from CFHS and lives in Columbia Falls.
Growing up in small town Mejontana, Geyser, taught Ellenjoy (E.J.) Wirtala Hoerner the value and appreciation of hard work and money earned. Ingenuity and hard work followed her through high school and onto college. When her parents moved to Havre, Montana, so E.J. could attend college, she worked two jobs, took additional credits and sincerely completed her Bachelor of Science Degree earning Departmental Distinction in a Broad Field Extended English Major in June of 1969. Superintendent Bob Souhrada brought E.J. to Columbia Falls when he called her and asked her to come to Columbia Falls High School to teach English and coach Drama and Speech. She loved Columbia Falls at first sight and was determined never to leave. In 1972 E.J. fell in love and married Columbia Falls native, Doug Hoerner. Together they have two daughters, Michelle and Sherry, two sons-in-law and their three grandchildren (one grandson attends Glacier Gateway). After nearly 30 years in education in the district, E.J. not only has taught high school level, but she has taught elementary and junior high reading, alternative education at EAGLE, long term substitute teaching in a variety of areas and she taught kindergarten until assisting in bringing kindergarten into the district. In addition to teaching, E.J. Hoerner spent nine wonderful years doing book keeping, payroll and accounts receivable for orthodontist Robert Windauer. After retiring in 2010 Doug and E.J. spend time enjoying God’s beautiful creation by hiking and seeing the wonders of nature, traveling, enjoying family and friends, and serving others. Newly elected in 2016, E.J. Hoerner is honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve the Columbia Falls School District and the community. As she states, “I love this district, and I want to see “the joy of education” revived with a vibrant leading school district.
Jill Rocksund began serving on the Board of Trustees in 1987. She is currently Board Chair and serves on the Policy/Title IX, Insurance, Long Range Planning, and Negotiations Committees. She also serves as a board representative on the District 6 Professional Development Committee and participates in the Students on Board sessions at CFHS. Additionally, Jill serves as a northwest regional delegate to the Montana School Board Association and represents trustees on the Montana Office of Public Instruction’s K-12 Data Task Force. She began her service on the school board when her sons, Gunnar and Tait, were still preschoolers. Her boys are both Columbia Falls graduates and they went on to attend Montana colleges (one is a Griz and one is a Bobcat). She has lived in Columbia Falls for over 32 years and enjoys camping, kayaking, hiking, and traveling with her husband Dan. They spent time this past summer serving as volunteer fire lookouts at the Cooney Lookout station. Jill received her B.S. Ed. in Elementary and Special Education and an M.S. Ed. in Special Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She also attended Montana StateUniversity-Bozeman to complete graduate coursework for a K-12 Administrative Endorsement and recently completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership at MSU in 2017. She recently retired from 15 years in school administration at the district and building levels (curriculum director and elementary principal) for School District #44 after having worked for nine years as a teacher/supervising teacher in West Glacier. She also worked for five years at Woodhaven School in Columbia, Missouri as a special education teacher and program director.
Dean was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2004, and was elected to the position in 2005. He serves on the Board’s Negotiations Committee and Advisory Council. Dean is the father of three children, Henry, Ava and Eddie Mae. His wife, Penni, is a Columbia Falls native and a 1985 graduate of the Columbia Falls High School. The Chisholm family has lived in Columbia Falls since 1996 and enjoys all of the recreational activities found in the Flathead Valley. Dean once shared an elevator with Flip Wilson. Dean graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in history and education, and from the University of Montana School of Law in 1992. He has served as an assistant city attorney, deputy county attorney, interim county attorney, and as a special prosecutor for the Montana Supreme Court. He was recently included in The Best Lawyers in America consumer guide. Penni and Dean are law partners in Chisholm & Chisholm, PC in Columbia Falls.