Staff Members

Becky Kean Rehabilitation Director

Becky Kean moved to Bozeman in 1998 from her home town in Minot, ND.  In 2003, she realized her passion for raptors when she began volunteering at the Montana Raptor Conservation Center.  Becky earned a bachelor’s degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University. In 2007, Becky was hired at MRCC as Assistant Director, and a year later she was promoted to Director. She served as MRCC Director for 8 years and in 2017 became the Rehabilitation Director.

Vanessa Skelton Interim Executive Director

Vanessa Skelton moved to Bozeman in 2005 from Oklahoma. She most recently left Thrive, a local nonprofit organization that serves children and families, to work as a nonprofit consultant for the Bannack Group. As Interim Executive Director of the Montana Raptor Center she is thrilled to bring 16 years of experience in the nonprofit sector to help position the raptor center for the future.

Jordan Spyke Director of Operations and Raptor Rescue

Jordan Spyke and his brother moved to Bozeman, Montana in 2008 from Muskegon, Michigan in search of adventure. Since moving to Bozeman, Jordan has earned a bachelors degree in environmental studies from Montana State University and a graduate certificate in nonprofit administration from the University of Montana . Jordan began volunteering at the Montana Raptor Conservation Center in 2009 and later served on the board of directors. Jordan became Assistant Director of MRCC in August of 2012 and was promoted to Director of Operations and Development in October of 2017. When Jordan is not working at MRCC, he enjoys being outside doing just about anything, from skiing to fishing and everything in between.

Keaton Thomas Director of Education

Keaton Thomas is originally from the Tulsa, Oklahoma area and will be moving to Bozeman in June of 2023. She has spent the last 3 years as a high school zoology teacher. Before becoming a teacher, Keaton was a zookeeper for 5 years working with many different species of animals including penguins, eagles, lizards, alligators, snakes, river otters and many more! The majority of her experience is with birds of prey. Keaton has a bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology and management from Oklahoma State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in instructional leadership from Northeastern State University. In her free time, Keaton and her husband, Paul, like to go fishing and hiking with their two dogs.

Board Members

Cynthia Zyzda

Cynthia grew up in the bluffs of northwest Iowa, exploring the natural environment, and it was there that she learned to see, to notice, and to connect images and ideas. Her investigations of the human relationship to the natural world, the microscopic world and to one another have continued and developed since those childhood years through artwork. Professionally, she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Washington State University. Currently, she is Professor of Visual Art and Humanities at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. When not making art, teaching, traveling, or being outside, she has spent beloved time in Montana working and volunteering with injured birds of prey at the Montana Raptor Conservation Center in Bozeman.

Kellie Stoolman-Treasurer

Originally from Idaho, Kellie has lived in Bozeman since 2011 and is an original member of the MRCC Education Team that formed in 2015 and co-creator of MRCC’s Adopt-A-Raptor program. She has a Natural Resource Management degree from the University of Utah and works locally for the World Wildlife Fund’s Northern Great Plains Program specializing in grant management and operations. Kellie has a passion for conservation and education, especially when it comes to raptors and ecosystems. She enjoys helping people create personal connections to the land and wildlife and encouraging them to think about a future where humans and wildlife can coexist and thrive. She enjoys birding, spending time outdoors, and cooking.

Mandy Patriarche

Mandy has spent her entire career working in the nonprofit sector. She has enjoyed a variety of roles from fundraising, marketing & communications, outreach, and operations at Special Olympics Montana and the Montana State University Athletic Department. She is enthusiastic about the sector and is passionate about making a difference in her community. Mandy was born and raised in Ohio but fell in love with Montana when she spent her summers in college working in Yellowstone National Park. She has now called the Gallatin Valley “home” for over 15 years. Mandy is an avid birder and loves hiking, camping, skiing and boating in Southwest Montana.

Mikaela Howie

Mikaela Howie joins the MRCC board as a research biologist with an ornithological background.  As a field biologist, she worked on bird ecology research projects all over the country including Alaska, Louisiana, Virginia, Arizona and Maine.  Currently, she teaches a Field Ornithology course as an adjunct faculty member in the MSU Ecology Department and has a staff position with Yellowstone Ecological Research Center as the Lab Manager.  She loves tramping through the outdoors and working with wildlife and can often be found on skis, canoes, and bikes.

Louise Ellingsworth-Chair/Secretary

During a college vacation to Bozeman in 1981, Louise heard the mountains calling but it took another 25 years before she officially could call Montana home. Louise is a corporate defense lawyer in the Montana office for the national law firm of Gordon & Rees. She enjoys riding her horses on Montana’s public lands and loving on her adopted Aussie who works as a therapy dog at the local hospital and various senior centers/memory care homes. Louise’s first contact with MRCC was when her Aussie found an injured kestrel (known now as Adora who can be found on her perch at MRCC) on her horse property at the base of the Bridgers. She shares her business skills with MRCC in the hopes that she can be a part of the solution.