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Discovery Academy hires new executive director

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Beginning in June, Nettie Breuner will join Big Sky Discovery Academy as its new executive director and planning principal for a new facility and middle school curriculum.

The BSDA board carefully reviewed Breuner’s qualifications before hiring her as the next academy leader, and she’ll start on June 15. Breuner has a bachelor’s in human biology from Stanford University; a master’s in middle school education from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass.; and both Montana teacher and k-12 principal certifications.

Breuner has extensive experience in education, in areas including classroom teaching; environmental education; tutoring and mentoring; curriculum and program development, as well as chairing the Big Sky School District board. Breuner also has experience in growing new schools – she was co-founder of the Chelan Valley Independent School in the small resort town of Chelan, Wash.

“Nettie is a perfect selection and she is a longtime permanent resident of Big Sky, which provides us a sense of long-term local stability to our leadership team,” said Karen Maybee, Big Sky Discovery Academy school board president.

Breuner’s hire is the first step in replacing the leadership and instructional team of academy CEO Tom Yahraes and executive director Brenda Yahraes. Tom has accepted an offer in Oregon as a school superintendent beginning in July, and Brenda plans to take a year to complete her Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology. Tom and Brenda say they are grateful to all the BSDA students, parents, staff and board, and they’re impressed by the accomplishments and successes that happened at BSDA in such a short time.

“Brenda and I would like to especially thank the Maybees for their extraordinary support and passionate vision for the Big Sky community and its children,” said Tom, in reference to Karen and her husband Scott Maybee, a BSDA board member and founder.

The Montessori school opened in September 2014; expanded programming to include pre-k and kindergarten in August 2015; and has experienced rapid growth. BSDA has more than quadrupled its enrollment; developed an interim educational facility until a permanent school facility opens; offered community events and learning experiences; developed a parent support team and increased board membership; and solidified continuous Montessori programming from ages 2-and-a-half to sixth grade, with high school online accredited programming. All curriculum also incorporates ski training and racing for kindergarten though sixth grade students.

Breuner has called Big Sky her full time home for more than 15 years. As the area grows in size and diversity, she says there is room for expanded, positive programs that support a thriving community.

“I am very excited to not only continue, but add to BSDA programming,” Breuner says, “and also to collaborate in the future design of a new environmentally connected facility to serve toddlers to middle school students, and even plan for comprehensive high school programming to meet the needs of our local and seasonal population.”

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