School Governance

Board of Directors

A Montessori School for Children ages 6 wks – 12 yrs

Penn-Mont Academy is a private, non-profit, non-sectarian school governed by a Board of Directors.

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Jennifer Hall, Esquire – President

Jenn Habel Hall is an attorney at BMZ Law, P.C., a local law firm with offices throughout Central Pennsylvania. Jenn is an Ohio native who found her way to the area while playing volleyball at Juniata College. Jenn attended Widener University School of Law for her Juris Doctorate. Jenn is married to Brian Hall and they live in Hollidaysburg with their two children, MJ and Grant, and their dog. Both MJ and Grant are enrolled at Penn-Mont. Jenn serves as solicitor for several nonprofit originations.

We ended up at Penn-Mont by accident and immediately fell in love. The education and real life experience our children are receiving is second to none. Most importantly, our two very different children are each reaching their maximum ability through the individualized Montessori approach.

Sean Burke – Vice President

Since joining Penn-Mont Academy’s Board of Directors in 2023, Sean Burke serves on the Board’s Governance, Development, and Human Resource Committees. Sean has four children. Three currently attend Penn-Mont, and one graduated from the school in 2023.

Sean works as an attorney for McQuaide Blasko, Inc. He has a general practice with an emphasis on transactional law. He is the firm’s president and managing director.

Sean also serves as Councilman for the Fourth Ward of Hollidaysburg Borough. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Hollidaysburg Area Summer Baseball League.

I believe that Montessori education gives our children the best possible educational foundation. My children have learned to work independently and set goals while acquiring a concrete understanding of math, science, and language. Penn-Mont provides a well-rounded educational experience by incorporating practical life work, music, art, and foreign language into the curriculum for even the youngest students. One of my favorite things about Montessori education is its focus on creating good citizens who value peace and respect themselves, others, and the world around them.

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Brad Houseknecht – Treasurer

Brad and his wife, Jenna, have three children at Penn-Mont: Holland in Children’s House, Charleston in Toddler, and Blake in the Infant Program. Brad moved to Jenna’s hometown of Roaring Spring a few years after graduating from Lycoming College, the place they met. Brad began his career as a Commercial Lines Underwriter for Selective Insurance and is now part of the Government Business Development team at NPC, Inc. in Claysburg.

Dropping off your 6-week-old at childcare can be nerve-wracking, but we had zero reservations after getting to know the educators through our two other children’s experiences at PennMont. The Infant, Toddler, and Children’s House programs are so much more than childcare, and we have been blessed to watch our children flourish under the Montessori model.

Tara Saltzburg – Secretary

Tara is the founder of Care Compass, a Duncansville-based independent insurance agency that specializes in helping seniors navigate the complexities of Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplements, Prescription Drug Plans, Hospital Indemnity plans, and other Ancillary Senior Products.

Tara is originally from southern NJ, but attended Penn State (Main-University Park) where she was a member of the Women’s Varsity Soccer Team from 2006 until 2010. Upon graduation, she moved to Blair County to pursue her career and has resided here ever since. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Mark, and together they have an eight year old son named Trey. In her free time, you will find her coaching Trey’s soccer team or attending one of his many other activities. Tara is also a certified yoga instructor and teaches at Simply Power Yoga in Altoona. She and her family live in Hollidaysburg with their two dogs, Forrest and Togo. 

I am so happy that we made the decision to send our son to Penn-Mont. It’s amazing to see how much he’s grown into a confident, independent child. He is absolutely thriving in the Montessori environment and most importantly, he is happy and excited to go to school every morning.

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Board of Directors

Nicholas Deskevich

Nick is an engineer at SilcoTek and enjoys business analytics and strategic planning in addition to the nuts-and-bolts of designing equipment and helping to keep a factory running. Nick graduated from Hollidaysburg Area High School and then from Juniata College and Penn State. A believer in lifelong learning, he’s back in grad school part-time at Penn State.

Nick met Leah at Juniata, and they eventually got married, moved to Hollidaysburg, and “got a kid” (as their son would say.) Nick has loved bicycling since he was little and looks forward to family bike rides.

What really sold me on Penn-Mont was my first visit to the school. I saw two very little kids in the cafeteria getting milk to take back for the whole class. I was shocked at how competent and responsible these little ones were—they were doing a big kid job and doing it well! I figured that the school had to be doing something right. Penn-Mont finds a balance between freedom and limits.

Katie Greenleaf-Martin

Katie Greenleaf Martin is the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Integrated Library System, a nonprofit providing library catalog & database services to over 175 locations in Pennsylvania. She grew up in north-central Pennsylvania, and after doing her undergraduate at Penn State University Park, she lived in WV, VA, and SC; receiving graduate degrees from Marshall University and the University of South Carolina. When her husband Chris was offered a position with Penn State Altoona, she was thrilled to bring her family back to central PA. Since moving to Hollidaysburg in 2015, Katie has received a Project Management Professional certification; and refurbished 4 sailboats with Chris & Leo. Leo has been at Penn-Mont since 2017 and continues to thrive.

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When we were relocating to central PA, we were thrilled to find an amazing Montessori school in the area – and Penn-Mont has lived up to its reputation and more. Both Chris and I come from families of educators, and having an environment where our child is both nurtured and challenged has been wonderful.

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Melissa Kinser

Melissa holds a Master’s Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation and Counseling from George Washington University and is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. She currently serves as the Assistant District Administrator for the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in Altoona and has been working in the vocational rehabilitation field for over 13 years. She and her husband Scott were born and raised in Altoona and their two sons, Jackson and Ryan have attended Penn-Mont since preschool in Children’s House. Their family enjoys participating in cub scouts and outdoor activities. Melissa is also a member of the Penn-Mont P.A.C.K.

When I learned about Penn-Mont Academy, I was so grateful to have this type of educational opportunity available right in our community. Its been such a positive experience in supporting my children’s growth and independent thinking.

Katie McCabe

Katie McCabe joined the Penn-Mont Board of Directors in 2024 while serving on the Education Committee as well as running the PACK (Parents Assisting our Community of Kids).

Katie is a Project Manager at ORX in Tipton. She grew up in the Chicago suburbs where she attended Fox Valley Montessori School from toddler through elementary. Katie studied at Siena Height University in Adrian, Michigan where she majored in Child Development with a concentration in Montessori Education. Katie also attended Primary (3 – 6) Montessori teacher training at the Adrian Dominican Montessori Teacher Education Institute.

Katie lives in Lakemont with her two daughters, Kaylie, a recent graduate of Penn-Mont who is attending Grier School, and Lena, who is in lower elementary.

Katie serves on several boards at Zion Lutheran Church, is a member of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) PRESS Mechanical Working Group to develop industry standards for passenger transit, leads the Hollidaysburg/Altoona chapter of Moms RUN This Town, and was formerly the PTO President of Ebner Elementary School in Altoona.

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Matthew Moyer, PharmD

Matthew joined the Penn-Mont Board of Directors in 2021.  He has an interest in fundraising and development.  In college, Matthew ran the largest on-campus fundraiser for a national charity, as well as other charitable endeavors.

Graduating from Altoona Area High School, Matthew went on to obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy.  He currently practices in Altoona, PA with a focus on behavioral health.

Matthew resides in Hollidaysburg with his wife Rachael and their four daughters.  Kate, Carly, Caroline, and Claire currently attend Penn-Mont.  Matthew and Rachael are both Penn-Mont alumni.

I have been fortunate enough to experience Penn-Mont as both a student and a parent.  There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your children thriving in an environment tailored to each child’s different needs.  Our girls are becoming confident, independent learners as a result of the Montessori curriculum offered at Penn-Mont.

Jeffrey Starkey

About Jeffrey

Board of Directors
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Dr. Greg Strunk

Dr. Greg Strunk hails from Huntingdon, PA, where during his formative years Dr. Strunk was educated in the Montessori curriculum. Growing up amidst the serene landscapes, he fostered a love for soccer, skiing, boating, and the great outdoors.

After graduating from Huntingdon High School in 1996, Dr. Strunk pursued higher education at Juniata College, graduating in 2000 with a B.S. in Natural Science and a minor in Education. Following his undergraduate studies, he was accepted into a Master’s Program for Biomedical Science at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM),before progressing to the medical program, where he graduated in 2007.

Dr. Strunk’s professional journey led him to choose Altoona Family Physicians for his residency, drawn by its unopposed program, rural medicine track, and proximity to his hometown. Completing his residency in 2010, he garnered numerous accolades including Resident of the Year and Resident Teacher of the Year.

Returning to Huntingdon, Dr. Strunk commenced his tenure at J.C. Blair in 2009, later co-founding Huntingdon Family Physicians, a satellite office of UPMC Altoona Family Physicians. Despite UPMC’s decision to close the Huntingdon office, Dr. Strunk remained dedicated to his community, transitioning to Broad Top Medical in 2018.

Motivated by a profound commitment to community healthcare, Dr. Strunk established Strunk Direct Care in April of 2024. He is serving Huntingdon County and the surrounding areas with unwavering dedication; providing high-quality, evidence-based primary care services. Dr. Strunk has two beloved children; Finley (10) and Duncan (8), both attend Pennmont. He cherishes the joys of family life and activities with his children.

Penn-Mont Academy is truly an amazing institution.  I love not only the focus on facts and knowledge, but the personal, emotional, and social education and growth that comes with the Montessori curriculum.  Penn-Mont is fostering stewardship for our world and everyone in it.

Samantha Watters

Sam Watters joined the Board of Directors at Penn-Mont Academy in 2023. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Marketing and Management from Penn State University and went on to hold several positions at nonprofits throughout the area, such as Human Resource Generalist and Executive Director. Currently, Sam is responsible for the Donor Relations Program at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA, where she is also obtaining her MBA. Her two-year old daughter, Charlotte has been a student at Penn-Mont since she was 8 weeks old. Sam resides in Hollidaysburg with her husband Matthew, stepson, daughter, and two dogs.

We are so happy to have found a school that challenges Charlotte to be better each and every day. Her development of motor skills and independence is impressive, and we’re excited to watch her thrive in such a great environment.

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Brandi Zajac

Brandi holds a degree in Early Childhood Education from Lock Haven University and a Montessori Early Childhood Credential from CMTE/New York. She was the lead teacher in both a private Montessori school in Sewickley, PA and the Pittsburgh Public Montessori School. Brandi and her husband Brian were born and raised in Altoona, and after 11 years away returned home to raise their three children. Elliot and Isaac currently attend Penn-Mont, and Sophia is excited to join her big brothers next year.

Brandi joined the Penn-Mont Board of Directors in 2021. She is also a member of the Education Committee and the Penn-Mont P.A.C.K..

I’m thrilled to be able to send my children to Penn-Mont Academy: the place of my first internship that ignited my passion for Montessori education many years ago. I love that my children are encouraged to follow their interests and are learning in a way that truly respects who they are as individuals. I know Penn-Mont will help them become independent, life-long learners as well as kind, contributing members of our community.

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