Susan Catapano

 Susan Catapano

Professional Learning
Program Manager


Susan has worked as an educator for over 40 years, first as a high school vocational education teacher and most recently, as an Elementary Media Coordinator. She has also owned and operated early childhood centers. She spent the past 25 years working for state universities in Missouri, North Carolina, and Nebraska, as a teacher and administrator educator. She has worked globally as a Fulbright Scholar to the University of Belize in teacher education and continues to work with the Ministry of Education in Belize with teacher education. She enjoys working with preservice, beginning, and experienced teachers to learn about life in schools and what supports teachers and learners to be successful. Susan graduated from the University of North Carolina Greensboro with a BS in Business and Economics and licensure in secondary education, from Maryville University in St. Louis, MO, with a MBA, and an Ed.D. in Higher Education with focus areas in Early Childhood and Adult Education from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She is a licensed educator in North Carolina in secondary Vocational Education, Middle Grades English Language Arts, Elementary K-6, Teaching Reading, and Media Coordinator. Susan has two daughters and lives in Missoula with her Corgi, Tedi. She loves to travel and visit her home in Belize as much as possible.

 

Michelle McCarthy

 Michelle McCarthy

Science Instructional
Coordinator


August 2015 to present. 

Michelle is working with the state’s science education leaders to support science instruction in Montana schools. Michelle was a middle school science, social studies, and math teacher at Bridger Schools. She also served as their RtI and Test Coordinator. She has also been a ½ time principal/teacher in a three-room schoolhouse. As an adjunct online faculty instructor at MSU-Billings, she taught undergraduate and graduate K-8 & 5-12 Science Methods courses and was involved as a teacher leader in the Partnership to Reform Inquiry Science in Montana (PRISM) grant for six years. She earned her Bachelor of Science Education, SPED minor, and Master of Education at MSU-Billings. She worked on her Curriculum and Instruction Doctorate at MSU-Bozeman but fell short of the doctorate without completing her dissertation.

406-444-3537

Stephanie Swigart

 Stephanie Swigart

English Language Arts and
Literacy Coordinator


Stephanie’s main focus at OPI is in championing ELA-Literacy standards-based best practices to meet the diverse needs of all students, families, and schools. She is committed to building teacher-leader networks and expanding collaboration across the state. In addition to serving Montana teachers and students with the Montana Association of Educators for the English Language Arts (MATELA), she also collaborates with the State Coordinators of ELA across the U.S. to provide high-quality professional development and standards-based best practices to Montana classrooms. As a Montana Writing Project graduate and liaison, she is passionate about arts integration in the ELA classroom and is working with the Montana Teacher Leaders in the Arts to develop arts integration best practices to boost student success. Since becoming a teacher in 2010, Stephanie has worked in both urban and rural high school and middle school ELA classrooms. She earned her B.A. and Secondary English Licensure from the University of Montana and returned as a graduate T.A. College Writing instructor while earning her M.A. in English Teaching. She loves dystopian science fiction literature and hiking Montana’s trails with her English teacher husband, daughter, and two dogs

406-444-0736


Sonja Whitford

 Sonja Whitford

Math Instructional
Coordinator


Sonja Whitford joined the OPI as Mathematics Instructional Coordinator in September of 2021. Prior to that, she was an educator for 27 years. Most recently, she was an Instructional Coach for seven years at the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School in Anchorage, Alaska. Prior to that, she was an elementary classroom teacher in a variety of locations and grade levels in Wyoming, including an isolated one-room school, as well as rural and urban settings. Presently, as the Mathematics Instructional Coordinator, she is honored to be a part of the exciting things going on regarding mathematics instruction in Montana.

406-444-0736