MFPE’s staff is comprised of individuals located in our Helena headquarters office as well as field staff who work directly with local unions to build their capacity to effectively advance the interests of their members. The staff of MFPE is as diverse as our membership. Our professional and talented staff are able to leverage their collective experience in private industry, law practice, education, labor, etc. to provide an exceptional level of service and the highest quality of representation. Get to know our headquarters and field staff below.
Erik is our executive director at MFPE. He is the proud father of three amazing kids. Erik and his family live in Helena.
Lauren is MFPE’s political director and student coordinator. She previously spent a decade working on Montana political campaigns helping elect candidates who support public schools, public services, and working families. Just before joining the MFPE staff, she managed Denise Juneau’s congressional campaign. As student coordinator, Lauren works with MFPE’s aspiring educator members on most of Montana’s higher education campuses. In her free time, Lauren hunts and hikes with her husband, Gabe, and plays the harp.
Jolene is an MFPE membership specialist in the Helena office. She grew up in Iowa and spent most of her summers as a child vacationing with family in Colorado. She later moved to Montana and discovered a deep love and appreciation for the mountains, dry air, and open spaces. She joined the MFPE staff in 2008. Time away from her job is spent with Jolene’s two daughters, son-in-law, granddaughters and miniature Yorkie. Other pastimes include painting, crafting and zentangle.
Bob has spent a over a decade working on campaigns and for organizations focused on the issues most important to MFPE's members, including funding of public schools and services, collective bargaining, labor relations, and healthcare. Prior to joining MFPE, Bob served as the Communications Director for the Montana AFL-CIO. Bob is a third generation union member and the fifth generation of his family to call Montana home. He and his wife, Julie, live in Helena.
Daryn is an administrative assistant in the MFPE Helena office.
Cathy is MFPE’s chief financial officer. She also administers our Montana Professional Teaching Foundation. She has been on the staff since 2002. Cathy graduated with honors from Montana State University with a degree in business management. Cathy then worked for a Helena law firm and as the controller of a statewide nonprofit private land trust. Cathy and her husband, Kurt, have been married for five years. She has two children and five step-children. The family spend as much time as they can at the lake enjoying camping, boating and fishing.
Mary brings her 20+ years office skills experience along with her artist creativity, optimism, and attention to detail to MFPE as one of their administrative assistants. Working with the Member Rights, Organizing, and Political Directors she handles correspondence, reporting details for the aspects of legal and political requirements, meeting setups, communication to organizers, and a plethora of other office duties including heading up office recycling. Outside of MFPE, you’ll find her engaged in her passions as an actress in film & theatre and adventuring outdoors snowboarding, biking, and hiking. She believes in making the most of time and also loves sharing it by volunteering for Food Share, trail building for hiking and biking, and of course, with family and friends!
Becky has served MEA, MEA-MFT, and now MFPE members for 23 years. As an administrative assistant, she is known for her attention to detail and organizational skills. Becky provides logistical support for multiple projects, including the MPFE Annual Conference, Committee Weekend, board meetings, regional training, Educator Conference, the Montana Professional Teaching Foundation (MPTF) golf scramble, and more. Previously, Becky worked with the Montana Tourism Division for 11 years. In her free time, she volunteers with St. Peter’s Hospice and the Lewis and Clark Humane Society.
Jami is an administrative assistant for MFPE’s research, communications, public policy, retirement, and member benefits programs at MFPE’s Helena office. Jami is a Helena native and Capital High School graduate. She earned a degree in computer programming at the UM-Helena College of Technology. She previously worked in the admissions office at UM-Helena College of Technology and before that as a paraprofessional at Rossiter Elementary School in Helena. Jami has five children and four grandsons. For fun, Jami likes to camp and spend time with her family.
Suzie is a membership and IT specialist in the Helena headquarters office who has been with MEA-MFT/MFPE for over 10 years. When not busy assisting members or troubleshooting a misbehaving computer, this Helena native enjoys adventures abroad with her wife, taking abundant pictures of their cat, Bob, or tickling funny bones with her improve comedy troupe—Cow Tipping Comedy.
Tom is a field consultant in the MFPE Missoula field office. Previously, Tom represented all our MFPE college and university faculty bargaining units, as well as a few state employee locals. Tom is a fourth-generation Montanan who has spent more than 20 years working as a local union representative. After starting with the Montana Federation of Teachers in 1991, Tom earned his graduate degree in Labor Studies from UMASS. From 1999-2005, Tom worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield, the last three years as executive director of the Caring Foundation. When he’s not working, you can find him floating on a river or deep in the mountains.
Jeff works with MFPE’s North Central Montana members, based out of the Great Falls office. He previously taught middle school for over 20 years and served as president of the Helena Education Association. His hobbies include golfing, skiing, and wood working. His favorite quote stems from an Ethiopian proverb: “When spiders unite, they can tie down a lion.”
Maggie was hired in 1989 by MEA and she's dedicated the last 30 years to working with union members and leaders in Eastern Montana.
Cindy is our administrative assistant for the MFPE Southwest Service Area based in Helena. She has been with MFPE since September 2000. When not at work, Cindy enjoys doing things with and for her family.
Heather works out of MFPE’s Missoula office as a field consultant. She has worked variously as a field representative, political organizer, and local leader for MEA-MFT and MFPE since 2005.
Heather is married to another public servant: Missoula fire Chief Jason Diehl. They have two grown children and two grandchildren. In her free time, you can find her exploring the deserts of Arizona or boating and kayaking in Montana’s lakes and rivers with her family.
Brian works as a field consultant for Southwest Montana members, working out of our Helena field office. He previously worked as a teacher and served as president of the Billings Education Association. He lives in Helena with his wife, Shelly, two children, and dogs Weedle and Paco. Brian enjoys hiking, camping, fishing, golf, and traveling.
Jeff is based out of MFPE’s Billings office, working as a field consultant with members in Southeastern Montana. Before becoming a field consultant in 2013, Jeff worked as a science teacher and local union officer for 27 years. He began his career in the Shepherd Public Schools, where he taught, coached football and track, and served as president of his local union. Jeff later taught at Billings Senior High, where he served through his local union ranks and eventually became president of the Billings Education Association. Jeff also served on the MEA-MFT board of directors and was later elected MEA-MFT secretary-treasurer and vice president.
Carol is based in the MFPE Great Falls field office, where she has served North Central Montana members for 10 years. Prior to that, she taught for 28 years, in settings ranging from a one-room school house on a Hutterite Colony to a small K-12 district, and finally teaching middle school gifted education and English for Great Falls Public Schools. Carol was raised in a union family, with her parents often attending union meetings after work. When she’s not working, you can find Carol, her husband, and their dogs skiing, hiking, canoeing, or walking in the park.
Tammy works as a field consultant out of the MFPE Southwest field office in Helena. She serves all our higher education locals, a few K-12 locals, and one state agency -- Montana Youth Challenge -- along with Tri County Head Start. Tammy previously taught grades K-5 in Helena for 17 years, then served as full-time release president of the Helena Education Association. She served as MEA-MFT vice president in 2011-2014 before joining the staff. Tammy has three children and a black lab puppy named Angus. She loves to golf and mountain bike.
Based in our Helena office, Don is MFPE’s director of member rights. He’s also a field consultant for several MFPE locals in Southwest Montana. Don previously worked as an attorney, specializing in employment discrimination cases. Don and his wife, Sandy, who is also an MFPE member and teacher, have four kids. Don is an avid mountain biker, snowboarder, skier, hiker, and hunter. He also coaches kids’ football and referees lacrosse.
Previously a public school teacher and president of the Billings Education Association, Scott now serves as a field consultant in the MFPE Billings field office.
Larry serves Southwest Montana members as an MFPE field consultant in the Helena office. Larry’s locals include the Montana Department of Corrections, Historical Society, Acadia and several k-12 school districts. Before joining MFPE, Larry taught music and served as president of his local union, the Helena Education Association. He also served on the MEA-MFT board.
Kate is the administrative assistant in MFPE’s Missoula field office. A Montana native and Carroll College graduate, Kate was drawn to public service and worked in the nonprofit sector in Missoula before joining the MFPE team. When she’s not working, Kate enjoys experimenting with new vegan recipes and exploring the Montana outdoors with her husband and two pugs. Kate and her husband also like offbeat road trip adventures and traveling to neighboring states to attend concerts.