Hi there! My name is Kjerstin Gurda. I’m a
recent arrival in Missoula, coming from the Midwest and out east.
I’ve always loved Montana and am so excited to be living and working
in such an incredible setting, and at such a great school! I grew
up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – attending inner city public schools
during the year and spending my summers camping with my family along
the great lakes and in the western mountains. After moving to
Minnesota for my undergrad, I graduated from Macalester College in
2004 with a degree in Cultural Anthropology.
Since graduating I’ve spent all of my time
working either with youth, in the outdoors, or both. I have worked
as a guide/wilderness instructor at a wilderness therapy program in
Pennsylvania for many years seasonally. There I fell in love with
the intensity, humor, and great rewards of working with teens.
After my first stint there, I began working in the school systems
with at-risk and alternative student populations. I went from
working as a “youth specialist” in two middle schools in Milwaukee
and Minneapolis to the high school level. I spent two years
teaching at a small, alternative charter high school in
Minneapolis. It was great to have the opportunity to design
classes, help kids get excited about learning, and design programs
outside of class to help students get more involved. When I left
that position, it was to travel with my husband for a year on a
world-wide adventure (we went to Costa Rica, New Zealand, India,
Nepal, China, and Southeast Asia!) which was an amazing, incredible
experience. After spending 9 months back in my hometown with our
families upon our return, we moved to Montana and we haven’t looked
My great loves in this life, aside from youth
work and the outdoors, are varied: I am an avid backpacker, rock
climber, swimmer, runner, aspiring banjo player, cook/baker, reader,
and doula (childbirth assistant)
I am so excited to get to know the
students of Sentinel and discover Missoula with them through our
activities and events. I hope to serve as a conduit for the kids
here, to help connect them to their interests and to encourage them
to get passionate about the world and utilize the resources and
opportunities all around them! If you would like to volunteer or
have great ideas for new activities, I would love to talk with you.
If you are a student, you can stop by anytime to sign up for
activities or just chat.