Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is a dynamic team of community members who volunteer their time and expertise to develop quality early childhood education in our community. According to the Head Start Program Performance Standards, our Board must always include the following members:

  • an experienced accountant or financial manager
  • a specialist in early childhood education and/or development
  • an attorney familiar with issues which impact the people we serve
  • members who have children currently or formerly enrolled in our program
  • members with expertise in education, business administration, or community affairs

Our Board of Directors meets monthly to discuss issues pertinent to the program and actively participates in strategic planning for the entire agency.

Member Board Position Occupation/Employer
Jennifer Stark Board Chair Stockman Bank
Dr. Erin Allen Vice Chair; Planning Committee Chair Pediatrician at Billings Clinic
Heidi Jensen Secretary / Treasurer; Past Chair; Finance Committee Chair
Emily Jones Audit Committee Chair Attorney
Chase Brown Grievance Committee Chair Attorney at Netzer Law Office
Jessica Gaard Development Committee Chair Realtor with Century 21
Lynette Schwalbe Member Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at Montana State University-Billings
Paul Law Member Policy Council Representative

Policy Council

Our Policy Council holds equal power to the Board of Directors, and it’s made up of elected parent representatives from each classroom. The primary purpose of Policy Council is to assist in making important decisions regarding policies, hiring and termination of employees, curriculum, and budget decisions. Policy Council members are both the voice of the classroom parents at the monthly Policy Council Meeting and the voice of Policy Council when reporting back to their Parent Committees. Policy Council members have a broader involvement in the education of all Explorers Academy children. Members play a role in building relationships between Explorers Academy and the community in which we all live.

“Being part of Explorers Academy’s Policy Council and parent committee gave me the confidence to be part of my child’s PTA. It taught me that I had a say and I have a voice!” – Amy 

Policy Council Position Name
Chair Ryen Thomsen
Vice Chair Paul Law
Treasurer Laurie Welch
Secretary Jennifer Scheafer


Traci Wimmer
Interim Executive Director

Our Management diligently oversee all operations of Explorers Academy related to the children and families we serve in our community.

Department Director Contact
Interim Executive Director/Head Start Director Traci Wimmer Email
Community Relations Megan Martin Email
Education Laura Zimmerman Email
Education Karin Fitzgerald Email
Enrollment and Attendance (ERSEA) Jennifer Thorson
Anna Mason
Family and Community Partnerships Janice King Email
Finance Richard Geiger Email
Human Resources Dee Dee Kane Email
Nutrition Kathy Huck Email
Operations Kent Hasselblad Email