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

I was smitten by the wild west while working at Glacier View Ranch in Colorado. The leadership at camp was profound, focused and inspiring, the adventure sports thrilling, and the energy of the young people contagious. I saw God working more clearly than I had ever seen before because of the special bond of purpose we shared. He appeared in the wild untamed beauty of nature while remaining close and companionable in the company of God-seeking friends. This experience helped ignite my passion for working with young people and for spending time in nature.

I first met my wife, Angela, on a snowboarding trip in Colorado when we were attending Union College. It wasn’t until six years later that we reconnected on the coast of Oregon and started dating. We were married in 2008 and moved to Hagerstown Maryland where we spent six years teaching at Highland View Academy. While there we met my leadership mentor, Sergio Manente, who further kindled my passion for leadership and ministry. Maryland is also the birthplace of our two amazing kids.

We are so excited to be working at Mount Ellis Academy. God miraculously opened the door for us to be here and we are thankful every day for the grace He continues to show us. I love my classes and teaching students math, computers, and leadership.

We believe God has granted this school and church His Spirit to accomplish a special purpose in the lives of the kids He sends us.  Praise to Jesus and His glorious plan.

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Photo by Audrey Beardsley.

Photo by Audrey Beardsley.


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

Mrs. Rogers graduated from Andrews University in 1999 with a B.A. in music and minor in biology. She married her college sweetheart in 1996. She has been blessed with two wonderful children. Mrs. Rogers began teaching music at MEA in the fall of 2001 and became a dean in the fall of 2009. 

Mrs. Rogers loves making music, reading, coloring, and spending time with people. She also enjoys cross country skiing, being outdoors and gardening. If that weren't enough, she also really likes cooking, baking, and food information.

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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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Jonathan Schwarz — Bible & History Teacher

Jonathan was born into a family with deep roots in service to the church and Mount Ellis Academy. Even as a potential fourth-generation teacher, he was not sure teaching was the profession for him. However, after serving as taskforce dean and chaplain at Mount Ellis Academy in 1999-2000, he saw that academy life was in his future.

After completing his degree in Religion/Religious Education at Union College in 2001, Jonathan spent a year at Broadview Academy in Illinois, 10 years teaching religion and social studies at Redwood Adventist Academy in Santa Rosa, California, and two years at Dakota Adventist Academy.

Jonathan is married to Lauren, and the two have a dog, Eva Peace, and two cats, Bartholomew and Ophelia. He likes to read, hike, fish, camp, and spend time outdoors. Every year and each day bring new challenges and ideas for enhancing what Jonathan does in his classroom. He believes in being a student of perspectives and events of history, instead of merely teaching it. Being back at Mount Ellis Academy is a dream come true.

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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

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Carolyn Beardsley — Assistant Cafeteria Director

Carolyn (Andregg) Beardsley (‘90) was born and raised in Eagle, Idaho. In 1988 she came to Mt. Ellis Academy as a Junior and spent the next two years falling in love with all that MEA had to offer. She married her high school sweetheart, Brent, in 1993. Both Carolyn and Brent graduated from Walla Walla College in 1994.

While attending WWC (now WWU), she spend a year as a student missionary in Ogikubo, Japan. After living in California and Washington, and having three children, they moved to Bozeman, Montana where they have lived since 2004.

This is now Carolyn’s 5th year working in the cafeteria. Two of her children have graduated from MEA, Andrew (‘16) and Ashley (‘17), and Audrey is a sophomore.

Carolyn loves the outdoors and living in beautiful Montana.

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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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Denise Ferro — Cafeteria Assistant

Denise was born and raised in Santa Cruz California. She went to three Adventist schools and one Junior Collage: Virgil Housel Memorial Junior Academy, Monterey Bay Academy, Pacific Union Collage, and Sweet Water Health Education.

She married Aaorn K. Ferro, a native Hawaiian, on the Big Island of Hawaii. She lived there for nine years and had three kids.

Her son Micah is a senior at Mount Ellis; her daughter Anissa is a freshmen at Mount Ellis; and our youngest son Ethan goes to Mount Ellis Elementary. He's in fifth grade.

Her jobs and volunteer positions include: Janitor, housekeeping, preschool teacher, teachers aide, beginners hand-bell teacher, year book director, women's ministry leader, home and school leader, Adventures club leader, cook, and a Certified Nurses Aide.

Her hobbies are: Reading, crafts, vacationing, horse back riding, and river rafting.

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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.


Sam Warkentin — Assistant Boys’ Dean

Sam Warkentin was born in California. As a teenager, he lived for many years in Jamaica and Japan. Sam attended several California State Universities and graduated with Master's in Political Science. He spent the next few years working for San Bernardino County. In his off time, he enjoys skiing, mountaineering, hiking, traveling, and eating.

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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 since 1997. He loves his job and does his best to keep the school at its best. He has a wife, Bette and two kids Robbie 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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