Meet Aspire Staff

Mike Anderson 

Mike is the English teacher at Aspire Middle and High School. Mike and his wife moved to Missoula from Minnesota in the summer of 2015. He has worked a variety of jobs since moving here as he completed his Masters of Secondary Education degree.  

Mike has coached youth hockey in Missoula and has worked as a paraprofessional and behavioral specialist at various Missoula public schools. Mike was working as a Fleet Manager for a trucking company when he was informed of the position and jumped at the opportunity to be involved with Aspire. 

Outside of teaching, Mike enjoys hiking with his wife, playing hockey, reading, and hanging out with his dog Baltazar. He is also the assistant coach for the Missoula Jr Bruins of the NA3HL and runs his own hockey skills development program called BYG Missoula. 

Mike Teaches: 6-12 English, 9-12 Current Events, Movie Marketing and Blogging

Grey Cowen

Grey grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He spent his youth playing outside with his brother in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. He developed a love for nature at a young age, catching tarantulas, centipedes, scorpions, spiders, snakes, lizards, skinks, quail and rabbits. The Boy Scouts of America helped connect him to his love of the outdoors he went on numerous camping trips and expeditions. He still loves turning over rocks to see what kind of life he will find underneath. In 2002, he received his Eagle Scout through the Boy Scouts of America. In 2011, he graduated from the University of New Mexico with a double major in History and Religious Studies. From 2011-2015 he focused on deepening his connection to the natural world attending intensive programs at Wilderness Awareness School and P.A.S.T. Skills Wilderness School.

Since 2011 Grey has worked and managed programs with various wilderness schools throughout the Western United States including Wilderness Awareness School, Alderleaf Wilderness College, P.A.S.T. Skills Wilderness School, Earth Native Wilderness School, and Trackers Earth. At Trackers Earth he oversaw the Archery programs in the summer and led a 9-month leadership/ survival skills intensive for adults from September-May.

Grey has a commitment to connecting people to nature and living closer to the earth. He can often be found exploring the woods, tracking animals, identifying plants, and sitting at his sit spot. He takes his inspiration from the students he teaches and finds ways to empower them through the skills they are learning. Grey enjoys spending time hunting, building bows, arrows, arrowheads, tanning hides, picking up roadkill and learning new skills.

Grey is a new addition in 2019. He comes with a strong background in primitive skills and a love of history. He will be heading up our summer camp program in 2019 and teaching at Aspire in the fall.

Matt Detrick 

Matt is the Math and Computer Science teacher here at Aspire. He grew up in Great Falls, Montana and graduated at the University of Montana with a degree in Math and a degree in Computer Science. He has a passion for helping kids see math in new ways and help them discover how fun it can be.

He also has a background in gymnastics, having coached with Roots Acro Sports Center for he last 5 years, and leads a K-5 gymnastics class as well as a K-5 programming class using various applications including Scratch and Minecraft.

In the summer, Matt leads a week long Rock Climbing camp that gets kids outside doing top roped climbing and bouldering. When he is not doing that he is running a week long Computer Programming camp.

In his free time he enjoys rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, camping, playing strategic board and card games, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and working on his house.

Annie Graham

Annie is Aspire’s director and lead robotics coach. After a decade long career in software development, Annie decided that she wanted to spend more time with her family. She went back to school to earn her Masters of Education. She didn’t stop there – Annie is now a doctoral candidate at the University of Montana, working on her dissertation in her spare time! Aspire grew out of the eNDVR homeschool cooperative, which Annie founded in 2014.

Annie teaches: K-5 Engineering, Makerspace, 6-8 Robotics, 9-12 Robotics



John Nilles

John discovered his passion for filmmaking at an early age and has never wavered in the pursuit of realizing his vision. His great-great-great grandfather homesteaded in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana. Over a century later, in 2001, John founded With A Cause Productions in the same location.
The same ambitious and adventurous spirit possessed by his forefathers, compels John today. Over the past 20 years, he has directed short films, commercials, documentaries, corporate videos, animations, and music videos, but his primary focus is on feature films. He is particularly fond of Westerns and Science Fiction. 
John resides in Montana where he operates With A Cause Productions and teaches a series of in-depth filmmaking classes. He currently has several films in various stages of development. His latest feature, Saving For The Day, is slated to be released later this year.
John teaches: 6-12 Script Writing, 6-12 Movie Production, 6-12 Movie Editing, 6-12 Sound Design

Clark Patton

Clark teaches: Survival Skills, Scouts, Behavioral Psychology