2016 Speakers

Piper.jpgPiper Clinkenbeard is a junior at Arlee High School and was born and raised in Arlee and has gone to school here since Kindergarten. Piper has done ballet for thirteen years, and been en pointe for four years. She also has had a strong love for horses since she was little. She plans to be a Speech and Language Pathologist after she goes to the Rocky Mountain School of Photography following high school graduation.

IsaacIsaac Desjarlais is a senior at Arlee High School and has been living in Arlee his whole life. Isaac has been involved in basketball, cross country, football, and track all through high school. He is also involved in National Honor Society and student council. Isaac plans on running track for the University of Arizona while pursuing his business degree.


Tammy Elser loves learning, loves teaching and loves students and their teachers.  As Chief Insight Officer and lead consultant for Insight Educational Services, Inc., Tammy works nationally providing professional development, program design and evaluation, and strategic planning and facilitation for schools and organizations. The author of The Framework: A Practical Guide for Montana Teachers and Administrators Implementing Indian Education for All, and a dozen integrated Common Core aligned curricula, Tammy focuses on practical strategies supporting teachers to achieve both equity and excellence for all students. Recent assignments include work for The Smithsonian Institution, Salish Kootenai College, and the Montana Office of Public Instruction. She enjoys long walks on Rattlesnake Creek and the company of her daughters and extended family in Missoula, Montana.

Kyle Felsman was born in Missoula and grew up in Arlee. He graduated from Arlee High School in 2010, and recently graduated from the University of Montana in May of 2015 with a double major in Native American Studies and Political Science. Kyle was raised by his parents Trina and Troy Felsman, while growing up with his brothers Zach and T.J. Kyle is also a proud father to Emma Felsman and proud boyfriend to Makenzie Merwin. Kyle and Makenzie have been together for 5 years and are expecting another girl in July.

Kyle currently works at the Nkwusm Salish Language Immersion School, learing the Salish language with the hopes of one day teaching it. Kyle is heavily involved in cultural activities and plans on continuting to learn more about his langauge and culture while building his family.

Like Jesus, Blake Koemans is the son of a skilled carpenter. Also, Blake likes making things up and has serious delusions of grandeur. Blake grew up in Arlee and is a prime example of what can happen when aggressive laziness and apathy mix with an inability to show up on time and possible un-diagnosed attention deficit disorder. After graduating not at the top of his class from Arlee High School in 2006, Blake went on to study physics and mathematics at the University of Montana. That however proved much too challenging, and Blake graduated from UoM with a bachelors degree in Media Arts in 2012, again not at the top of his class.

For those keeping score at home, 6 years is not the normal amount of time it takes to get an art degree.

His aforementioned tendencies to fictionalize and smug arrogance naturally led Blake into an industry where those qualities are valued, filmmaking. Since graduating from the University of Montana Blake has spent his time working in television and film. Blake’s first feature length film “I’m A Patriot” is set to debut this summer and early reviews suggest that of all the films of 2016, it will be one of them.


Angela McLean graduated from Twin Bridges High School in 1989.  She went on to complete her teaching degree at the University of Montana Western in Dillon and later her Masters Degree from the University of Montana.

McLean began her teaching career in the Arlee Public Schools and from there went to teach in the Anaconda Public Schools.  Along the way, Angela became Nationally Board Certified and won the Montana Milken award for excellence in classroom instruction.  Additionally she led the way for dual enrollment at Anaconda High School and celebrates that of the school’s 24 dual enrollment credits, 15 of them were taught by her.

McLean served on the Montana Board of Public Education from 2006-2010 and as its Vice Chair from 2008-2010.  She also served on the Montana Board of Regents and as its Chair from 2012-2014.  In February 2014, Angela became Montana’s 31st Lieutenant Governor where she led historic conversations in Indian Country.  Today, McLean serves as the Director of American Indian and Minority Achievement and K-12 Partnerships for the Montana University System.

She is the youngest in a family of seven and the only one in her family with a college degree.  She lives in Helena with her husband Mike and her two children, Colin and Ellen.

ShayleeShaylee Perry is a senior at Arlee High School. Shaylee has been attending Arlee Public Schools since Kindergarten. She has been involved in many clubs and sports, including National Honor Society and volleyball. In the fall Shaylee plans on attending the University of Montana Western and majoring in Secondary Education and minoring in Special Education.

River City PlayersThe River City Players are Missoula’s newest (and only) traditional New Orleans style jazz band.  Led by former Arlee Elementary music teacher Brandon Ensley, the band consists of a diverse group of Missoula musicians.  From a one man punk-rock children’s band to top notch jazz performers, the band members share the same goal for the band: to bring joy to their audience.  What better way than through the world’s happiest music?  The band is sure to be unlike any other group you’ll hear live and is guaranteed to send you on your way with a smile on your face!

KayleeKaylee Samsel is a senior at Arlee High School. She has been a student in the Arlee School District since Kindergarten. She’s been involved in several extracurricular activities throughout high school, including Close-Up, Business Professionals of America, National Honor Society, EAGLES Club, and volleyball. Her plans after graduation include attending Montana State University – Billings to pursue a degree in business management.

MeganMegan Shick is very active in and out of school. She is a part of many programs including National Honor Society, 4-H, and varsity basketball. Megan plans on attending Montana Western majoring in Early Childhood Education and minoring in coaching.

Savanna Senior Pictures 10-16 118.JPGSenior at Arlee High School, Savanna Titsworth has attended Arlee since her freshman year. She has been involved in FCCLA for four years, moving up to Chapter President and District Vice President. Savanna intends to go to the University of Montana to pursue a career as a high school English teacher. Most of her time is spent playing lacrosse or spending time with her parents and younger brother.

HollyPassionate about closing opportunity, knowledge, and achievement gaps and inspiring the next generation of Montanans about the transformational power of higher education, Holly Truitt is the founding director of the University of Montana Broader Impacts Group (BIG) and the national award-winning spectrUM Discovery Area. Under her leadership, spectrUM engages over 50,000 Montanans annually through in-museum and mobile programming to Montana’s rural and tribal communities, with a particular focus on community-based initiatives on the Flathead Reservation and in the Bitterroot Valley. A former Noyce Leadership Institute Fellow, she regularly serves as an adjunct professor and guest lecturer in approaches to catalyzing behavioral and social change. Truitt was recently named one of the top 20 business professionals under 40 by the Missoulian. She lives in Missoula with her husband Reed and boy Finn. Truitt has a B.A. and M.S. from the University of Montana.