Families First Children’s Museum Staff
Meet the individuals who make up the Families First Children’s Museum staff! These experienced and dedicated people bring their passion for enriching the lives of families to work every day. Whether you’re looking for advice for helping a teething toddler or a testing teen, or your family seeks a fun place for the little ones to explore and play – these are the people who are there to listen, teach and create programs that are helpful, safe and inclusive of all families.
Dara Newman, L.C.P.C.,
Families First Parent Education Director
Dara has worked with families since 1995 in a diversity of settings. She has been a school counselor, has introduced conflict resolution curricula into local schools, and is a certified mediator. Her philosophy embraces the positive discipline approach: children who feel that they are valuable family members will become responsible, cooperative, self-disciplined individuals capable of independent problem solving. As the mother of three, she profoundly understands the complexities of raising children: working with each child’s individual temperament and navigating the intricate interactions within families. Dara, who has a masters degree in counseling and a Ph.D. in biology, is available to discuss issues on the phone, and meet individually or in a group setting, to help parents discover specific parenting strategies leading to a more peaceful home. In addition, Dara is knowledgeable in areas of adoption, emotional regulation and tantrums, conflict resolution, and grief. Dara believes that with good communication skills, clear firm limits, and unconditional love, we can be the best—but not perfect!—parents that we can be.
Colleen Biehl, Families First Parenting Programs Coordinator
A true Montanan, Colleen was born and raised in Great Falls. After attending Montana State University, she worked for the State of Montana Board of Investments in Helena. When she and her husband Randy started their family, Colleen retired to being a stay-at-home mom raising 4 children. This led to running a home daycare for many years in Red Lodge. A move to Great Falls in the early 90’s had Colleen back home to help with her family’s business for a number of years and then as the Children’s Program Coordinator for Holy Spirit Parish. Randy changed his career path and joined the Forest Service in the Fall of 2009 which brought them to Missoula. Colleen and Randy love the outdoors, enjoying the vast opportunities to camp, hike, canoe, snowshoe or cross country ski. Gardening is another passion of theirs and the longer season in Missoula pays off with much produce to be shared with friends and families. They have lived in eight communities in Montana, and Missoula has proven to be another great spot on the Montana map. Email Colleen
Outreach and Development Manager
A native Missoulian, Rob joined the staff of Children’s Museum Missoula and Families First as outreach and development manager in 2016. After many years working in the health care publishing industry, Rob is excited to return to the nonprofit world. Previously, he spent time as a Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) and at Missoula Aging Services (MAS). In fact, his current position has proven to be a bit of a homecoming as the museum is located in the same offices that once housed MAS. He considers it an honor to say he’s worked to benefit people at both ends of the age spectrum—older adults and now young children. Rob holds degrees in marketing and journalism. In his free time, he enjoys running, hiking and wood carving. He is an avid Griz fan. Email Rob
Kashya Boretsky, Museum Manager
Kashya has been working at Children’s Museum Missoula since October 2015 and has a passion for early childhood education. Before joining us she was a preschool teacher here in Missoula for 4 years. Kashya firmly believes that children (and even adults) learn through play and that the Children’s Museum and Families First are invaluable resources to our community. Kashya has studied French, Spanish, Italian, and linguistics at the University of Montana and aspires to be an international translator or a linguist. She loves to volunteer and spends multiple hours each week at different non-profit organizations around town. When she’s not working or volunteering, she loves to read, ride horses, hike, ski, practice aerial acrobatics, cook, and watch documentaries. Email Kashya
Minghzu Yuan, Museum Assistant
Mingzhu is originally from Southwest China. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in early childhood development and more than four years’ preschool teaching experience. She and her husband have a young son, and they are teaching him both English and Chinese. Mingzhu has worked as a translator and will be helping us develop Chinese programs for our visitors at the museum! Email Mingzhu