MVSD Announces the Selection of Three Newly Hired Special Education Teachers: Nate Chrastina, Kris Mihalic, and Claire Burt

The MVSD is pleased to announce the selection of three newly hired Special Education teachers: Nate Chrastina, Kris Mihalic, and Claire Burt.

Nate Chrastina

Nate Chrastina will be working alongside Kris Mihalic and the general education staff to provide specially designed instruction at LBHS and the ILC.

Nate Chrastina and familyAfter 17 wonderful years of teaching, coaching, and family life in the great State of Texas, Nate and his family moved to the Methow Valley in July of 2017. When asked about their decision to transition from Texas to the Methow Valley, Nate stated, “We are excited to be in a position to serve the students, families, staff… and hope we can all strengthen one another as we continue to experience our story alongside together.” Joining Nate, his family includes his wife Sarah, daughter and recent ILC graduate, Arabella, Landry (16), Violet (14), Lucas (10) and Theo (7).

When Nate and the Chrastina family aren’t in the classroom, they can be found coaching athletics, playing basketball, participating in musicals, watching Looney Toons, listening to the Avett Brothers, throwing dance parties, stargazing, building bush-craft forts, and rooting for their favorite teams – the Mavs, Cowboys, Rangers, Stars and the Longhorns.

Please join us as we welcome Nate!

Kris Mihalic

Kris Mihalic will be working alongside Nate Chrastina and the general education staff to provide specially designed instruction at LBHS and the ILC.

One of four children raised with a passion for sport and a spirit of adventure, Kris attended a small, private college in Ohio, John Carroll University where she played basketball and softball, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.

Kris Mihalic and Maddie Unclear about her future after graduation, she headed out west on a quest for change and solace in the colorful and diverse community of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Living among the mountains, she discovered her passion for mountain biking, trail running, and multisport. Eventually, she became a regular on the XTERRA off-road triathlon circuit, racing both domestically and internationally from the jungles of Brazil, to the beaches in Tahiti into the mountains of Korea.

While living in New Mexico, Kris stated, “My calling became evident. Working with individuals with disabilities gave me the fulfillment of purpose and authentic human connection that led me to pursue a career in education.” Kris graduated with a Master of Arts in Special Education from the University of New Mexico in 2004, with an emphasis on severe and profound disabilities. Since then, Kris has provided a broad range of special education services at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in Texas, New Mexico, and overseas. Her most recent experience is teaching for the Department of Defense Education Activity in Daegu, South Korea.

This August, Kris will complete an additional Master of Science in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education. She hopes to use the knowledge and skills that she has gained in this program to improve the learning experiences of students and staff in the Methow Valley.

Kris is the self-described, “mother of an incredible, 15-year-old rising high school sophomore who excels at athletics, academics, and community responsibility.” Together, Kris, MJ (Maddie), and their two overweight Korean ginger cats are excited to start their next adventure here in the Methow Valley.

Please join us as we welcome Kris!

Claire Burt

Claire Burt will be working alongside Jennifer Simmons and the general education staff to provide specially designed instruction at MVE.

Claire BurtClaire Burt comes to the Methow Valley, having earned a Master of Education with a Special Education teaching certificate from Southeastern Louisiana University. Her work-related teaching experiences include serving as a member of an educational team in the Multnomah ESD Early Intervention program and as a Special Education preschool teacher. In addition to her passion for teaching, Claire is driven by her commitment to serving her community. Most recently, this has included directing the operations of a non-profit transition home for refugees relocating to Oregon.

Claire moved from Portland, Oregon to Winthrop with her husband Walter and youngest daughter Alida (12) one year ago. Since then, she has been, “…looking for opportunities to engage with the community… the same community that drew my family to the Valley.“

Please join us as we welcome Claire!