Barry Curtis — ministries and bible Teacher; Pastor

Barry Curtis grew up in Worland Wyoming and graduated as a four-year senior from Mount Ellis Academy in 1984. The next few years he studied Biology at Walla Walla College and the University of Wyoming before an undeniable call to pastoral ministry changed his life.

Returning to Walla Walla in 1989 he finished a degree in Theology in 1991. He then completed his MDiv at Andrews University in 1993 and began ministry as an associate pastor in Yakima Washington.

Pastor Barry then spent three years as pastor and Junior Bible teacher at Upper Columbia Academy before moving back to Montana in 2000 where he has pastored the Hamilton, and Great Falls districts before coming to Mount Ellis in 2009.

His passion is to help students discover their true identity in Christ by helping them engage in careful Bible study, prayerful listening, and active ministry. His hobbies include fishing, hiking, and enjoying the great big classroom that is Montana. He’s married to Becky and has three children, Paul, Spencer, and Hannah.

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Seth Ellis — Math & Computer teacher

Seth Ellis is updating his biography at the moment. Check back soon for the whole story.

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Angela Ellis — English as a Second Language teacher

Angela Ellis is updating her biography at the moment. Check back soon for the whole story.

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Briana Jenkins — Physical Education teacher, Athletic Director

Briana Jenkins ('08) was born and raised in Montana. She graduated from Union College with her Bachelor of Science: Physical Education in 2013.

While attending Union College she played for their basketball team, the Warriors, for four years and was an assistant coach for two years. Upon graduating, she spent a year working in Lincoln, NE before moving home to Bozeman in 2014.

She loves sports, especially basketball, and loves spending time at her family cabin in the Swan Valley. She has a dog named Addie, who is full of energy and keeps her on her toes.  She is an avid Broncos fan and despite living in Bozeman...GO GRIZ!!!

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Michael Lee — Bible Teacher & Principal

Michael Lee (Mount Ellis Academy 2001) was born and raised in Montana and considers Bozeman his home. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Walla Walla College in Religion and Biblical Languages. A year later, he received his Master of Arts degree in Teaching from Walla Walla University.

He has a passion for education and mission work, the outdoors and traveling, food and games. When not at school, he can be found outside, hiking or rock climbing. When not outside, he can be found checking out a new restaurant or at home teaching and playing board games. He has lived in Montana, Washington, Hawaii, and Thailand.

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Matthew Lukens — English & Spanish Teacher

Matthew Lukens grew up in southern Africa, the son of medical missionaries.  When he was thirteen his family moved to northern California.

In college, Mr. Lukens earned two bachelors degrees, graduating from Newbold College with a B.A. in Literature and from Pacific Union College with a B.A in Spanish.

After earning his teaching credentials at Sacramento State University, California he moved to the Midwest and began working for the Illinois Conference as an English teacher at Broadview Academy. After Broadview, Mr. Lukens moved into the city of Chicago to finish his Masters in Literature at Northwestern University and to teach at North Shore Adventist Academy. Upon completion of his Masters, he moved to the beautiful state of Montana where he currently teaches English and Spanish at Mount Ellis Academy.

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Carmen Mathis — Librarian, Work coordinatior & assist

Carmen Mathis is updating her biography at the moment. Check back soon for the whole story.

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Jason Rogers — Bible Teacher & Boys Dean

Jason grew up in the small rural own of Parry Sound located in northern Ontario.  After graduating from Parry Sound High School in 1992 he attended Andrews University, and graduated with honors in Psychology.

Jason has been a dean/teacher in the Adventist system for twelve years.  The last eleven of those years have been at Mount Ellis Academy.  He shows great interest in facilitating the growth of all dorm students in regards to the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of life.

He enjoys ice hockey, reading, and researching cars.  He is married to our music teacher and fellow dean Leisel and they have two children, Lucas and Ava.

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Leisel Rogers — Music Teacher & Girls dean

Leisel Rogers has been working here at Mount Ellis Academy for 9 years, teaching all music courses and private music lessons for the students, this is her third year of deaning.

She grew up in Saginaw, Michigan and attended high school at Great Lakes Adventist Academy.  She graduated in 1995 and went to Andrews University where she received her BA in music.

Her energy and enthusiasm makes taking her classes very enjoyable to all her students. She likes reading and cooking, and has two kids, Ava and Lucas,  with her husband Jason, the Boy's Dean.

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Brian Schaffner — Auto Shop, welding, & Business Ed Teacher; VP for Finance

Brian is our Vice Principle for Finance.  He brings 23+ years of financial management experience to Mount Ellis Academy.  The majority of his experience is in the healthcare field.

Brian’s most recent position prior to Mount Ellis Academy was managing 14 private schools for troubled youth.  That experience along with a desire to serve brought Brian to Mount Ellis in July of 2015.

Brian attended Milo Academy (’88) from 1986-1988.  During his time there he was deeply affected by caring faculty who gave him responsibilities and then lovingly held him accountable. “If I can affect just one student by showing them that they have value, it will all be worth it.”, says Brian.

Brian is excited to be teaching Accounting, Welding and Auto Shop in addition to his duties in the business office.  Being able to pass on years of real-life experience in an academic setting is the icing on the cake as far as Brian is concerned.

In his spare time Brian can be found mountain biking with his two sons and spending time with his lovely wife, Linda.

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ED Starkebaum — History & Bible teacher

Ed received his BA from Walla Walla University with a teaching certificate in 1971 and has been teaching for 42 years.

Schools that he taught at are South Bay Junior Academy, Torrance, California; Roseburg Junior Academy, Roseburg, Oregon; Milo Adventist Academy, Days Creek, Oregon; and Mount Ellis Academy.

He also served as the pastor at Milo Adventist Academy for four years while teaching three classes.  His last two years at Milo Adventist Academy he was the principal.

His children, Traci and Paul, were born in Oregon while he was working at Milo Adventist Academy.  He has been married to Juanita for 42 years. He enjoys reading, working on old cars and trucks, and camping.

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James Stuart — Science Teacher, Yearbook advisor, & Soccer coach

James Stuart grew up in Walla Walla and spent his high school years at Walla Walla Valley Academy. After graduating he attended Walla Walla University where he got his degree in Biology, Chemistry, and Spanish. Later on he completed his masters in Science Education from Montana State University.

Prior to teaching here at Mount Ellis Academy, he taught at Tulsa Adventist Academy, and Spencerville Adventist Academy. He does his best to make sure that all of his students reach their potential in his classes and makes himself available to students if they feel the need for individual attention from him.

He has a passion for outdoor education. His hobbies are mountain biking and rock climbing. He’s married to Ingrid and has two children, Isaiah and Tavi.

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Erin Tungesvik — Business Ed Teacher & Registrar

Erin Tungesvik is updating her biography at the moment. Check back soon for the whole story.

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Our Staff

Kevin Emmerson — Director of Development & Alumni Relations

Kevin grew up in Billings and is the third member of his immediate family to graduate from Mount Ellis, doing so in 1988.  He went on to Southwestern Adventist College and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcasting.  After working in media for 17 years, Kevin came back home to Mount Ellis in the fall of 2009.

He’s got a crazy passion for Mount Ellis Academy that got him energized for the most incredible experience of his time here so far — the Kohl’s Cares for Kids phenomenon of 2010.  His dog Charlie keeps him sane and if life gets too crazy, he enjoys dabbling in his main hobby, travel.

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Debbie King — Finance Assistant

Debbie works in the Business Office for Brian Schaffner. She was born and raised in Massachusetts but has lived in Montana for 36 years.

She holds two college degrees, one in nursing and another in medical secretarial. She wears many hats: She is the Montana Conference Auditor, school bus driver for the public schools and helps out with the Alumni Department at Mount Ellis Academy.

She has been married to Larry King for 35 years. They have three children, Kelly ('01), Jason ('03) and Carson ('05). She has three grandchildren who live in Korea. Her favorite pastimes are hiking, spending time with her family, and reading a good book. If you want to know anything about training for a marathon, ask her. She has done four of them!

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Brent Tungesvik — Guest room Manager

Brent Tungesvik is updating his biography at the moment. Check back soon for the whole story.




Ray Wheeling — Maintenance Director

Ray Wheeling grew up in Colorado and graduated from Campion Academy in 1973. He later attended and graduated from Union College.

He’s been working here at Mount Ellis Academy for eleven years. He loves his job and does his best to keep the school at its best. He has a wife, Bette and two kids Robby and Crystal.


Yvonne Woodall — food service director

Yvonne Woodall is updating her biography at the moment. Check back soon for the whole story.

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