Our staff works year-round to continue growing our programs and to bring the Bozeman community & The State of Montana new and important language & culture education opportunities
Kristina Allison ~ Director of Programs Kristina began her cultural and language interests as a child, reading every National Geographic magazine arriving at her house from cover to cover. It wasn’t until she was an adult, however, moving to Geneva, Switzerland, that she was fully immersed in another language and culture. During her time working for the United Nations as an English-language editor, she was constantly struck with the sheer number of languages spoken in this cosmopolitan environment and was amazed at the ease with which some people could switch so easily from one language to another. Inspired and humbled by the difficulty of navigating local life without speaking the local language, she began formal study of French at the UN Language Programme. There she learned lots of French grammar and became fascinated with the language-learning process. Kristina has been working in the field of education in a variety of capacities for over 15 years, most recently teaching English to international students at Montana State University. Her previous career was in social work, where she worked for several years in public schools and facilitating workshops for parents and educators in behavior-management techniques. She has also taught French to children in the Bozeman area.Outside of work, Kristina looks for chances to get outside: running, biking, skiing, snowboarding, dining alfresco - if it’s outside, she’ll happily do it! She also spends a good portion of her downtime trying to wear out two dogs while keeping up with two kids.
Elizabeth Williamson ~ Grant Writer/Manager (Founder/Former Executive Director) After 10 years leading the way with a wonderful team of board and staff, Elizabeth has passed the baton of Executive Director leadership. While needing and wanting some time and space to launch into new endeavors, Elizabeth is still in love with the idea and importance of multilingualism and advocating for its growth in Montana schools and community, so is now serving as WLI Grant Manager and Writer. In addition, Elizabeth is teaching Leadership Studies at the Montana State University Department of Education Leadership Fellows Program. She is thrilled to join that team and to begin working with and learning from the next generation of visionary do-ers. To support her passion for language education and global citizens and celebration of diversity, she has also accepted an Interim position as the Director of MSU’s Center for Bilingual and Multicultural Education. She is excited for this next phase and to continue on with her “can’t help herself” passion for creating connections in service of building more access to multilingualism in our state!
Tanya Hauwiller ~ Program Coordinator - Language Programs Tanya grew up in Bozeman but like her parents, she was always curious about languages and people beyond her backyard....from high school French classes to extensive travel, hosting foreign visitors in her home to living abroad. She has spent varying lengths of time living and learning in other countries including Thailand, Mexico, Peru, Japan, and Chile. With her Business Marketing Degree from Montana State University, she hadthe opportunity to do an internship at Thai International Airways while living in Thailand with her family.Later, onher own, she spent two years in Kumamoto, Japan as an English teacher in the J.E.T.(Japanese Exchange in Teaching)program. This experience sparked her desire to pursue a master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in Bilingual/English Language Education from the University of Colorado. Tanya has had over twenty years of experience teaching communicative English language to students from kindergarten to adults. During her time spent in Chile, Tanya met her husband and stepson, andtogetherthey had a beautiful daughter. Her bi-cultural family has beena genuine experience in the importance of cultural understanding and language. After eight years in Chile, Tanya was thrilled to bring her family back to Bozeman to share all the beauty and activities that Montana has to offer. With Tanya's experiences and a lifelong passion for language and culture, she is pleased to be part of the World Language Initiative family as a Program Coordinator.
Paola Torres ~ Program Manager - BELLA From Peru, Paolais a Spanish teacher at Helena High School. She moved to Montana from Lima, Peru where she worked as a journalist to start a new career as a foreign language teacher. She has experience teaching Pre-K, Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School and adult students. She is a Spanish language faculty at MSU - Bozeman and a Board Member of Thrive. She has also taught at with the World Language Initiative for five years and she enjoys sharing her knowledge and culture with the community.
Cassidy Crawford ~ Program Coordinator - BELLA Cassidy is from Colorado and moved to Bozeman in 2019 to attend Montana State University. She is currently studying Dietetics with minors in Anthropology and Hispanic Studies. She has been working with kids in after-school and summer camp settings since 2014. During the spring of 2021 she found a love for ESL through a tutoring program which led to her role as a coach for the pilot year of BELLA (Bozeman English Learner & Literacy Alliance). Cassidy is very excited to start her new role as the BELLA Lead Coach and is looking forward to another exciting and educational experience as a part of the WLI team.
Kristen Wolf ~ Program Manager - Coaches Up & Senior Spanish Coach Kristen (@LaLobaLista) completed her curriculum and instruction master’s degree at MSU in 2015. Her background as a Montessori & Spanish teacher has led her to understand the process of language acquisition and human development in truly meaningful ways. Kristen enjoys creating a community with her classes. La Loba Lista’s (the ready/ clever Wolf) teaching style is engaging, story based and supported by current language acquisition research. She is a dynamic educator and presenter. Kristen recently earned the distinction of Montana Language Teacher of the Year for 2019. She is blessed with two children and a very supportive husband, as well as three dogs. Kristen loves getting outside and enjoying the beauty of Montana and its vibrant communities. She has travelled extensively and lived in Spain. She encourages you to come participate in or observe a class!!
Ying Liu ~ Senior Mandarin Coach Ying moved to Bozeman from New York City a few years ago with her husband,3 kids, and 2 cats and instantly felt in love with this beautiful town in Montana! Ying grew up in Taiwan and is a native Chinese speaker. She got her undergraduate and master degree in Hotel/Food Service Management from New York University. She has been teaching Mandarin to children for over 15 years in various Chinese schools. According to the Foreign Service Institute Language difficulty rankings, Mandarin Chinese is ranked level 5, which is among the most difficult languages to learn. Ying believes teaching Mandarin Chinese through an immersion environment to make learning FUN through games, story telling, songs, dance, arts, and much more!!
Christina Crane ~ Senior German Coach "My family background is partly German, and when I started college, I wanted to take German classes to learn the language of my ancestors. Within a few class sessions, I found that I immensely enjoy speaking and reading the German language and learning about the German culture. I now live on a ranch in Montana and enjoy a wide range of hobbies. In my free time indoors, I enjoy singing and playing music. I absolutely love the outdoors, and enjoy the wide range of outdoor activities including fishing, gardening, horseback riding, or hiking. I am honored to be on the World Language Initiative team, and I am very excited to work with this next generation and support language learning throughout the beautiful state of Montana!"
Amanda Hester ~ Communications Specialist Amanda is native to upstate New York but has lived in Alaska, Florida, Nevada, Tennessee, and of course, beautiful southwestern, Montana. She pursued her love for the outdoors through higher education and holds a B.S. in Environmental Science & Planning. She has a strong operations background having held management positions in both the federal government and the financial industry. Her recent experience includes a focus on nonprofit project management, donor development, and communications consulting. She supports a suite of nonprofit clients in multiple states. She enjoys travelling abroad and has family and friends with varied cultural backgrounds and understands the value of being a studied global citizen. She is excited to be working with WLI-MT towards their mission of accessible language and culture education for all Montanans!