• IMG_0722


  • 0a70e7ce0c681a0982d04cf40e8f0271.png


  • 20170602_093824fixed


  • 20170604_075842


  • Madgals-and-friends


  • Super-Super-SLPs


  • 2013-01-26-00.19.04


  • IMG_0752


  • 96dac60f459aabf6d440ba4ad99bb7b0.png


  • 20170608_221352


  • A-few-of-ugly-sweater-madga


  • 13ee0a2a67b0a14851f90cd11b941ffa.png


  • ae34d887ec1350f2a48fef6a0f9aa2d8.png


  • IMG_0754


  • Madgal-training-day


  • 3c375977692c728607ed71e57a60e81c.jpeg


  • 767727a03ce5dbdd5c814535ba44f2b5.jpeg


  • Hosts-of-ugly-sweater-Chris


  • IMG_0655


  • a720940ed1e99b0a749d8cbd83a5015c.jpeg


  • 20170604_075620


  • IMG_0647


  • IMG_1191


  • fff4e655d2976afa63426525820e3187.jpeg


  • bf1cce4882d42c13324a8b4d7ede8a3d.jpeg


  • ee7573756b036be25ff721bee691128c.png


  • 2012-09-02-04.36.35


  • 8a06224f8f96bd60e84656638cbfd7e8.png


  • 5d933120aaa7a813d072bf60515bade6.png


  • ca0d18edf01f945575bf9c9b1ea95ffd.png


  • Coop-girls-party-prep


  • 6d730e8d5ea9c52df4d61f74c2f9644d.jpeg


  • 9dd4d66d3fd7ebb9634b94347a713ebe.jpeg


  • a6cbc678b6fba1cbd4fb2658ce2a4c73.jpeg


  • IMG_0699


  • bb3e6cdd965489116c5ac3628d44eb5b.png


The Gallatin-Madison Special Education Cooperative has an outstanding team of dedicated Special Education Teachers, Speech Pathologists, School Psychologists, and Occupational Therapists all of whom are determined to help students succeed. Out team members offer support and guidance, uniquely tailored to each student.


Michelle Halberg, Director/Speech Therapist
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Michelle Halberg is the Special Education Director for the Gallatin-Madison Special Education Cooperative.

Michelle attended two years at MSU Bozeman and then transferred to U of M in Missoula where she completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Communication, Science and Disorders.  Following graduation, Michelle lived and worked in Missoula, Great Falls and then finally returned to her home town of Billings. While working as a Speech-Language Pathologist in the school setting for Yellowstone West Special Education Cooperative in Billings, she met her husband Jim. His work as a golf professional took them to Wyoming and then Idaho.  After four years away from Montana they returned to Bozeman in 2006 and Michelle began her work at the Gallatin-Madison Special Ed. Cooperative. Jim currently works as the Golf Professional at Livingston Golf Course.

In moving back to Montana it was the quality of life, the mountains, rivers, and shared values of Montanans that Michelle and Jim chose to surround themselves.  The fourteen rural school districts that are members of the Cooperative shared Michelle’s values around hard work, collaboration and deep commitment to children, public schools and their communities. Because of these shared values Michelle chose to complete the graduate work to obtain a “Supervisor of Special Programs” endorsement in 2013. She interviewed for and was offered the Special Education Director position and still serves children in her capacity as a Speech-Language Pathologist.

She will tell you she feels passionately about her work and is proud to work with the highest caliber of individuals on her staff, the administrators that compose her board of directors and the teachers and parents of students with unique abilities and challenges. Together they serve these children so that they may experience academic success, confidence, and joy as individuals.

Montana is home for Jim and Michelle, her younger brother Patrick, their golden retrievers and chickens. They both love to hike, snowshoe, bike and fish whenever they can line up their schedules. On the weekends and summer months, you’ll find Michelle working on her yard, vegetable gardens and home.



Riley Russell, Executive Assistant
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
rileyGalloglyRiley Russell has been an Executive Assistant with the Gallatin-Madison Special Education Cooperative since 2016. Riley grew up in Billings, MT and graduated from Billings Senior High. After graduating Riley spent two years at Carroll College in Helena, MT before transferring to Montana State University and graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Community Heath in 2015. Being a Montana native, she enjoys camping, snowboarding, hiking, as well as spending time with her husband, daughter and dogs.






Joyce Schmidt, Clerk/Business Manager
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
joyceSchmidtOriginally from Wyoming, Joyce has been a resident of Montana since 1963 when her family moved to Bozeman so she and her siblings could attend school.  A graduate of the Bozeman Senior High School bi-centennial class, she later went on to earn her Bachelor of Science degree from Montana State University, College of Business in Accounting in 1988. The following year she accepted a cost accounting position with a fortune 500 corporation--Hercules Inc.  Joyce worked in their aerospace division in Clearfield Utah and was assigned to Air Force contracts. Although Hercules offered a secure career path with many opportunities for growth Joyce and her husband chose to return to Bozeman to raise their young son close to family.  Joyce entered public service as an elected county official in 1994. Joyce served two terms as County Auditor and during her second term ran for the position of State Auditor in 2000.  Since leaving public service Joyce was employed as the General Manager and Accountant for two local family owned QSRs for a decade, until they were sold to outside concerns. This past summer Joyce was hired as the part-time Business Manager/Clerk for the Co-op and finds this new experience a blessing that is both challenging and rewarding.

Joyce met her husband Jerry, a gifted artist and inventor, in a high school art class.  They have been married since 1977 and have one child. Their son Robyn is also an artist who is presently working in his chosen field of advertising photography in New York City. Joyce enjoys taking walks with her husband, hiking, target shooting, gardening, reading, fishing with her Dad, time with family and friends, and working towards her goal of a balanced life filled with simple pleasures.



Jennifer Lewis, Occupational Therapist
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
jenniferLewisJennifer Lewis has been an occupational therapist for the Gallatin-Madison Special Education Cooperative since 2010.  A native of Iowa, she graduated from South Dakota State University with her B.S. in Psychology in 1999 and graduated from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis with a Graduate Degree in Occupational Therapy in 2001.  Prior to moving to Montana in 2010, Jennifer worked in hospitals, nursing homes, and a California School District for 9 years.  Her professional development has focused on, but was not limited to, sensory integration, handwriting, reflex integration, executive function, oral motor, wheelchair seating/positioning, and assistive technology.  Jennifer pursued Assistive Technology through California State University - Northridge and received a Certification in Assistive Technology in 2014.  

Jennifer lives in Bozeman with her two children.  She enjoys participating in sports and outdoor activities, such as, camping, fishing and hiking.  Most of her free time is spent shuttling and watching her children participate in taekwondo, basketball, baseball, and gymnastics, or enjoying the Montana outdoors.


Julie Zimmerman, Occupational Therapist

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

hannahMiller300Julie Zimmerman is our new Occupational Therapist! She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science in 2012 from Indiana University (Bloomington, IN), and her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy in 2014 from Georgia Regents University (Augusta, GA). Originally from Virginia, she moved to Bozeman, MT in 2014 to get closer to “good” skiing and begin her OT career in acute care, outpatient, and driving rehabilitation. She is a new resident to West Yellowstone, MT and likes to downhill and backcountry ski in the winter. In the summer you can find her trail running, camping, hiking, and has newly started mountain biking. Year-round you can find her eating s’mores. : ) She will be serving West Yellowstone, Big Sky, and Ennis, MT schools. She has always been passionate about education and is excited to work with students of all ages this year and promote independence with education. The sky is the limit!



 Cari Arnot, Physical Therapist
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Cari Arnot has been a pediatric physical therapist since graduating from Gannon University with her Master’s in Physical Therapy in 1997. A native of Conrad, Montana, Cari attended the  University of Oregon graduating in 1993 with a B.S. in Physical Education. She practiced many  years as a PT in the Special Education settings in Oregon including Early Intervention, Early Childhood Special Education, and school-based PT up to age 21, with extensive experience in adaptive equipment and caregiver program development. In her outpatient practice, she particularly enjoys biomechanics of gait, high-risk infant motor development, adolescent fitness, and working with children with behavioral differences. Since returning to MT in 2019, she has served the pediatric population in central Montana in the hospital-based outpatient,  acute/NICU, and school settings. She recognizes the need for specialized pediatric care in  rural settings and uses a flexible and resourceful approach. She believes in first connecting  with children through play, then finding solutions for greater independence, to promote life  skills, and to maximize participation with peers. 

Cari loves trail running, Nordic skiing, mountain biking, swimming, yoga, and rollerblading. She also loves animals and music, and incorporates both in her service to children as much as possible. Her son attends Montana State University in Bozeman majoring in Mechanical Engineering and outdoor play including skiing, biking, and climbing.



Lani Smith, Psychologist
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
laniSmith2Lani graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Linfield College in 2008.  After graduating, she spent the next five years working with infants and toddlers with developmental delays in various early intervention agencies across Montana and Florida.  While in Florida, Lani worked closely with school based services and was first introduced to the school psychology profession.  During this time, Lani realized that this profession encompassed everything that she was passionate about.  After moving back to Montana, Lani decided to pursue a degree in School Psychology and in 2016 she graduated with a master’s degree from the University of Montana’s School Psychology program.  She completed her year-long internship at the Park County Special Education Cooperative in Livingston and received an Educational Specialist degree from University of Montana in May of 2017.  Lani is a nationally-certified school psychologist (NCSP) through the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and is a member of Montana Association of School Psychologists (MASP) and School Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association (APA Division 17).  Although Lani is just getting started in her profession, she has a long running passion for working with children and those who care for them.  Lani is originally from Kalispell but since moving to Bozeman she cannot imagine living anywhere else.  She is excited to start working with the Gallatin-Madison Cooperative and take on all of the successes and challenges that come with working with schools to ensure that children are reaching their greatest potential.


Ashley Nash, Psychologist

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Originally from Montana City, Montana, Ashley recently graduated from the University of Montana with a Master’s degree in School Psychology. Ashley received her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology with a minor in Human Development from Montana State University (Go Cats!). Ashley has always been interested in working with and supporting children and families in different ways. Throughout college and graduate school, she worked with individuals with an array of disabilities and from a variety of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Similarly, she has worked as a nanny for many years, was on Orientation Leader for Montana State University, and volunteered for several months in schools in rural villages in Fiji.

Ashley feels privileged to of had the opportunity of not only growing up and living in Montana, but working in several rural schools during her graduate school training. She is eager to continue to work with and serve students, families, and the school districts in the Gallatin-Madison Special Education Cooperative. In her free time, Ashley loves hiking, camping, rafting, finding new hot springs, and travelling around our beautiful state.



MacKenzie Affrunti, School Psychologist
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Mackenzie grew up in Colorado and then attended Montana State University in Bozeman, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. During college, Mackenzie worked in early childhood education and volunteered as a CAP mentor in Bozeman Public Schools. After graduation, Mackenzie returned to Colorado to work as a case manager for the Mental Health Corporation of Denver, working with the adult population. She quickly realized that, although she wanted to work in the mental health field, her passion was working with children and early intervention. She decided to pursue a degree in School Psychology and in 2007 received her Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology from the University of Colorado-Denver.

She spent many years working as a School Psychologist in the Denver, Colorado area, servicing students in the K-12 grade levels. Mackenzie is a nationally-certified school psychologist (NCSP) through the National Association of School Psychologist (NASP) and a member of the Montana Association of School Psychologists (MASP).

After taking time away from the field to be at home with her children, she is excited to be back working in the schools and is very much looking forward to working at the Gallatin-Madison Special Education Cooperative. She and her husband relocated to Bozeman in 2020 with their two boys and dog. Mackenzie is thrilled to be back in Montana and raise her boys here. As a family they enjoy mountain biking, camping, and skiing. Mackenzie also enjoys yoga, photography, cooking, and being in the mountains.




Rachel Babbitt Wright, Speech Therapist
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Rachel attended the University of Montana, receiving her bachelor's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2015 and then graduate degree in Speech Language Pathology in 2017. Rachel enjoyed interning with the Gallatin-Madison Special Education Coop in the spring of her final year of grad school. She had always hoped she would make it back to Montana to work again in the coop schools again. After completing her clinical fellowship year in Lakewood, Washington public schools, Rachel returned to Bozeman to join back up with the sped coop in December 2018. Rachel holds her certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association. Her special interests are Childhood Apraxia of Speech and social pragmatic communication; however, she enjoys helping students overcome any nature of communication hurdle. Her favorite non-therapy part of the job is seeing wild animals on the drives to and from West Yellowstone. Rachel grew up in South Lake Tahoe, Ca where she learned her love for skiing, fly fishing, reading, and cooking, all of which she continues to enjoy here in Montana.



Shannon Childs, Speech Therapist
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

shannonChilds2Shannon Childs has been a practicing speech-language pathologist since 2000. She joined the Gallatin Madison Special Education Cooperative in 2011.  Shannon has worked in schools, skilled nursing facilities and private practice. She has extensive experience in school based issues.  Her special interests in the field include speech science, school based language learning and education, neurogenic communication disorders, fluency disorders, hearing disorders in childhood, social communication disorders and augmentative and alternative communication. Shannon enjoys working with a wide population of children. She is committed to continuing her education and staying current on the latest research-based treatment methods.

Shannon was born and raised in Upstate New York.  She earned her B.S and M.S in Speech Language Pathology from Nazareth College of Rochester.  Shannon holds a certificate of clinical competence from the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association. She is a member of ASHA and MSHA.  

Shannon lives in Bozeman with her husband and two children.  She enjoys backpacking, yoga, skiing, photography and spending time with family and friends near a river, mountain or campfire!



Amanda Massey, Speech Therapist
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
amandaDeJongeAmanda Massey began working for the Gallatin Madison Special Education Cooperative in 2014. She received her undergraduate degree in Communication Science in 2013 and graduated in 2014 with a graduate degree in Speech Language Pathology from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Amanda grew up in a small town in West Michigan. She spent her childhood summers visiting extended family here in Montana. When her parents decided to move to Montana to become partners in the family potato farm, she knew she would end up there too. After graduation, she packed her bags and headed west to be closer to family.

Amanda now lives in Bozeman. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She also enjoys reading, skiing, boating, fishing, and exploring Montana’s beautiful landscape.


Amber Fortier, Speech Language Pathologist

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

amberFortier300Amber received her undergraduate degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders in 2016. She received her masters degree in Speech Language pathology from the University of Montana in 2019. While in school, Amber participated in intensive intervention camps targeting social skills and literacy. She has a passion for alternative and augmentative communication and is excited about exploring different modalities to increase communicative success. Before graduating, Amber worked with children in early childhood education and mental health settings.  Amber was born and raised and Montana and currently resides in Belgrade with her husband and two children. In her free time, she enjoys reading, painting, hiking, camping, and spending time with family.


Danielle White, Speech Therapy Assistant
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

danielleWhitePhoto300Danielle White is a Speech Therapy Assistant for the Gallatin Madison Special Education Cooperative. Danielle, also known as Dani, has worked in various school settings as well as a pediatric private practice within the last 8 years. She has worked with children of all ages ranging from 18 months to 21 years of age. Danielle received her B.S degree in Speech and Hearing Science from Arizona State University in 2010. Dani has a strong passion for helping children with individual therapy needs for continued growth and optimal success!

Danielle was born and raised in Windham, NH. She moved to Bozeman in 2015 and fell in love with the area. Dani grew up dancing and continues to dance still to this day, performing in local shows right here in Bozeman. Besides dancing, Danielle also enjoys hiking, reading, baking and listening to music. She loves to incorporate music, dancing and artistic expression in her therapy sessions for those that enjoy/benefit from it as well!


 Laurie Smith, Speech Language Pathologist Aid
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

danielleWhitePhoto300Laurie Smith, a Speech Therapy Assistant is new to the Gallatin Madison Special Education Coop. She grew up in Northern Nevada and attended the University of Nevada in Reno. She graduated in 2002 with her B.S. degree in Speech Pathology & Audiology. From there she began working as a Speech Therapist for the Washoe County School District and then Douglas County School District in Minden, NV. Most recently she worked for a Charter School in the Las Vegas area. Laurie comes to us with experience working with children ages 3-21. She has worked with students of all disabilities, but especially loves fluency and pragmatics. Her family has always loved Montana and decided to make the move last summer and are so glad they did.

Laurie resides in Bozeman with her husband, 3 kids, and 3 dogs. She loves to be outside and enjoys skiing, hiking, and baking.



Julia Tucker, Special Education Teacher
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Julia Tucker is a special education teacher for the Gallatin Madison Special Education Cooperative. Her work in education began at age nineteen when she began a job as a special education aide in a self-contained classroom. This experience led her to pursue a teaching career.

A native of California, she graduated from the University of California Riverside with her B.S. in Liberal Studies in 2009. In 2010, she joined a teaching cohort at UCR where she completed a rigorous teaching credentialing program to work with students with mild to moderate disabilities.

In 2012, she relocated to Montana and spent eight years with Big Sky School District. Julia now lives in Belgrade MT with her husband and young son. Her family values agriculture and has an appreciation and respect for the wonderful natural resources Montana affords them.