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
Ann Swann ~Executive Director Growing up in a small community, Ann dreamed of the many different places she could explore beyond her tiny town. As a young girl in the back seat of a station wagon, where she often faced the wrong way and wrestled with car sickness, her journey began. These early travels ignited a spark, the mere act of crossing state lines revealed novel faces, diverse dialects, and an array of culinary and cultural practices that thrilled her imagination. As the years unfurled, so did the opportunities to explore globally, nurturing the seed of curiosity into a fervent passion. Having been lucky enough to travel the world, Ann’s adoration for distant places, their customs, the people and languages only continues to grow. Before the echoes of one journey subsides, her mind is already crafting the blueprint for the next. Ann seeks to channel this global enthusiasm, alongside her distinctive blend of education, business, and non-profit experiences, into her role at World Language Initiative. Ann's expertise spans education, family engagement, event management, database administration, donor and volunteer cultivation, human resources, project oversight, and business partnerships. Her versatile skill set ensures comprehensive, effective and thoughtful approaches to her work. Ann holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of North Florida, along with a certificate from Indiana University School of Philanthropy. Outside of her professional pursuits, Ann spends her time with her three kids and husband playing outdoors and, of course, traveling whenever they can!
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 Manager - Small Group & Summer Camp 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.
Mardy Harding ~ Program Coordinator - Small Group & Summer Camp Mardy moved to Bozeman in 2021 after graduating from the University of San Francisco with a degree in International Studies. Having lived in Shenzhen, China as a child, studied abroad in Morocco during college, and done a fair amount of international travel in between, she has a deep appreciation for international education and language learning. Originally from Seattle, Washington, Mardy also has an extensive background in youth programming through sports. She adores sharing the experience of learning new things, and is thrilled to be supporting both youth and adults in learning languages at WLI!
Cynthia Stanley ~ Program Manager - BELLA Cynthia grew up in Colorado and enjoyed a childhood of camping, hiking, skiing, and studying dance. She discovered her passion for language in middle school and began studying Japanese and Spanish. Cynthia spent a summer in Japan representing her high school and a year abroad in Venezuela as a Rotary exchange student. Thus, her endless wanderlust and curiosity for language, cultures, culinary pursuits, and adventures began. During university, she spent a year abroad in Argentina studying at the University of Buenos Aires with a six-week language intensive program in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Upon graduating with a degree in International Affairs, Cynthia worked as an ESL teacher in Yokohama, Japan. She has enjoyed a varied career working in the private sector and, most recently, with non-profits. When not dreaming about adventures that await, she relishes spending time outdoors and curled up on the sofa with a good book. Cynthia recently moved back to Bozeman with her husband, two kids, Donovan and Chloe, and their old dog, Winston.
Cassidy Crawford ~ Program Coordinator - BELLA Cassidy is from Colorado and moved to Bozeman in 2019 to attend Montana State University where 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) and later as the Lead Coach. Cassidy is very excited about her new role as the Bella Program Coordinator and she is looking forward managing both the adult and youth BELLA Programs here at WLI!
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 traveling 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!