Photo of Sam Garetson

Travis Anderson


I grew up in North Dakota and began my teaching career as a middle school science teacher. Prior to joining Montana GEAR UP, I served as a superintendent, high school principal, and curriculum director.  As a first generation college graduate, I am very proud of accomplishing my post-secondary goals, as well as, using that experience to help others achieve success.  In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, running and completing various races, and rooting for the MSU Bobcats & Green Bay Packers.

Photo of Karen Wilson

Karen Wilson

School Grants Manager

Karen Wilson is a first generation graduate of Montana State University. Most of her career, Karen has served the needs of students kindergarten through college. She’s been with the State GEAR UP Team since October 2018. In her off time, she enjoys playing pinochle and creating art.

Maureen Madden

Maureen Madden

College Access Program Manager

Maureen Madden is the College Access Program Manager for GEAR UP, seeking to assist students returning to school at the post-secondary level. Maureen has a BA in English Writing from CU-Denver. She has several years of teaching experience within the Helena School District working with ages K-8 as well as experience working with college aged students at Carroll College. Maureen is passionate about helping students realize and achieve their potentials.

Man standing at the top of a mountain on a beautiful hike

John Kilgour

Program Manager 

John grew up in Maine but has lived in the West ever since graduating from college. After attending graduate school at the University of Montana, John moved to Colorado, where he taught high school social studies at a school near Boulder. John moved to Helena several years ago and is excited to be working in education again as part of the GEAR UP team. In his free time, John enjoys hiking and backpacking with his wife, taking their dog out on the trails, and taking pictures of the places they explore together.

smiling woman standing in front of fall trees

Mae Vader 

Communication and Operations Manager

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Mae grew up in Helena and is incredibly grateful to be back home after living in New York, Los Angeles and the Napa Valley. Mae received a BA in Film & Electronic Arts from Bard College and served nonprofit community organizations in her time away from Montana. Mae likes to develop strong relationships and her hobbies include singing in the car and fawning over vintage clothing, furniture and appliances. 

woman smiling with her dog

Kelley Tippett

Data Analysis & Assessment Manager

Kelley Tippett graduated from Rocky Mountain College with a degree in English Education and a minor in Sociology.  For twelve years she felt called to work with children and teenagers in residential treatment centers to help them reach their full potential.  Kelley has a wide variety of interests outside of work that include baking, taking her dog for walks, and playing video games.  She is excited to work with the GEAR UP team to help students recognize and achieve their goals.

Smiling woman leaning against her motorcycle

Angelina Hall

Accounting Specialist

Angie was born and raised in Helena and has worked as an Accountant for the State of Montana for nearly 23 years. She received her degree in Accounting from Liberty University. In her free time she enjoys chasing her grandkids, cuddling with her many cats, and putting as many miles on their Harley as she and her soon-to-be husband can before winter.