Who We Are

The University of Montana Rural Institute has been a leader in the area of transition planning for youth with disabilities since 1995. Activities have included:

  • Provision of education and training to schools, families, students and agencies;
  • View the current training calendar and extensive training archives
  • Development of innovative strategies and transition models;
  • Demonstration, outreach and technical assistance, both on-site and long distance;
  • Promotion of systems changes to support effective transition for youth from school to adult life; and
  • Information dissemination.

Project Staff

Ellen Condon, M.Ed. is the Transition Projects Director, and the Montana Deaf-Blind Project Director at the University of Montana’s Rural Institute on Disabilities where she has worked since 1996 on Transition and Employment for youth with significant disabilities. She is also a consultant with Marc Gold & Associates (MG&A) and works part time for the National Center on Deaf-Blindness. Ellen has worked in the field of Developmental Disabilities since 1986. Prior to coming to Montana her experiences included hands-on service delivery, program development and program management in community residential and supported employment programs. She received her Master’s degree in Special Education from Boston College in 1990 after completing course work in Transition and Supported Employment. At the Rural Institute she has served as the Principal Investigator and Project Director for numerous Federal and state-funded grants. She provides technical assistance, training, and on-site support to schools, agencies, and individuals and families predominantly in the areas of customized employment, transition, and systematic instruction.

Contact Information:
(406) 243-4134

Kim Brown, MSW, RSW, started her human services career in 1982 as a volunteer at a vocational program for adults with developmental disabilities.  She went on to work in group homes for individuals with developmental disabilities and/or mental illnesses, a nursing home for the elderly and people with severe physical disabilities, and a psychiatric hospital for children.  In 1990, Kim earned her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work degree.  She accepted employment with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and spent the next 11 years as a public assistance caseworker, county assistance office supervisor, State public assistance policy supervisor and welfare reform project coordinator.  In 2001, Kim was hired as a children’s mental health case manager, behavioral consultant and community-based psychiatric rehabilitation aide for the Bitterroot Valley.  Part-time Linkages Transition Project responsibilities were added to her position description in the fall of 2002.

To continue her journey of lifelong learning, Kim joined the University of Montana Rural Institute as a Transitions Project Coordinator in July 2003.  She worked as part of the Transition team for the WISER; Linkages; Graduate to Work; Partnerships for Transition; and Montana Transition Training, Information and Resource Center projects, providing technical assistance, training and on-site support to schools, agencies, families and students in the areas of transition, employment (including self-employment), and Social Security Work Incentives.  She currently serves as Project Coordinator for the Youth Advisory Board and Emerging Leader Project, lectures and consults nationally and internationally on transition and customized employment, and develops Internet-based knowledge translation materials for the Southeast TACE. She completed her Master of Social Work degree in May 2007, and teaches both on-campus and online undergraduate-level social work classes.

Contact Information:
(406) 243-4852

Theresa Baldry is a proud mother of six children, including a son with a disability. Her belief that “knowledge is power” has directed her areas of employment in the disability field. From 2001-2016, she worked for PLUK, Parents Let’s Unite for Kids supporting families and served as a member of the Leadership Team. Technology has played a key role in her son’s life and as his primary support for the last 20 years, she has needed to stay in front of what he has wanted that technology to do. She began working for MonTECH in October 2012, to share the wealth of knowledge they have learned over the years. In 2016 she began working for the Pre-Employment Transition Services Technical Assistance Center, with the Rural Institute, as a project coordinator in Eastern Montana. Today she is the Project Coordinator for Montana Transition Resources, a project funded by Children’s Special Health Services. She serves on the Disability Rights of Montana Board of Directors, currently as the president. Theresa has been a member of the Rural Institute Consumer Advisory Council since 2010 and has presented at numerous conferences and webinars as a Council member.

Contact Information:
(406) 243-4936

Kari Tarter, MSpEd, has worked in the special education field since 2018, first as a paraprofessional, then as a lead special educator. She has also supported young adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities as a peer mentor for a unique post-high school transition program. Kari serves as the Public Education Specialist focused on Transition and Deafblindness. She is excited to connect community members to valuable services and contribute to inclusion for everyone.

Contact Information:
(406) 241-1612