Board of Directors

The board of directors for the Missoula Writing Collaborative is comprised of teachers, scholars, writers, community planners, entrepreneurs, and artists. They meet once a month and are instrumental in the smooth functioning of all aspects of the Missoula Writing Collaborative’s operations, from long-range planning to fundraising to personnel oversight and review.

Barbie Beaton is a creative nonfiction writer. Currently working on Trouble Land: A Memoir of PTSD, Barbie explores American narratives and gender bias in her story of a common yet severe psychiatric condition left undiagnosed for decades after childhood trauma. An excerpt of this book awarded her the 2018 Montana Honorary Fellowship at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Barbie’s writing has been published in Bright Bones; Contemporary Montana Writers, Brevity Blog, PACES Connection, and various online lit mags. Owners of Big Dipper Ice Cream, she and her husband live in Missoula, MT. Learn more at

Cindy Biggerstaff bio coming soon!

David Allan Cates is the author of five novels, two collections of poetry, and a collection of short stories. His essays and travel pieces have appeared in various places, including The New York Times, and Outside Magazine. He taught for the Missoula Writing Collaborative between 1996 and 2012. He currently serves as Executive Director of Missoula Medical Aid, an NGO that provides public health and surgical services in Honduras, and supports nutrition, agriculture, and business development projects there.

A Missoula resident since 1974, Joe Glassy attended the University of Montana, blending creative writing, music and Forest ecology. Joe studied creative writing at UM under Richard Hugo and Tess Gallagher, and received two forestry degrees from UM in 1979 and 1994 respectively. Throughout this career, he wove together science, love of the natural world, and artistic expression through writing and music. Joe served on boards and advisory committees for several local nonprofits including the Montana Area Musicians Association, Montana Environmental Information Center, and Watershed Education Network. His poetry has been published in Montana Trails magazine and more recently, in Mountain Views Chronicle.

Cynthia Hamlett Manning is a social scientist, currently working for a small consulting company which specializes in training for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. She volunteers as a mediator in Missoula Justice and District Courts, particularly with development of Parenting Plans. Cynthia worked for many years with a land management agency where, as a social scientist, she helped with significant cultural projects with the Kootenai Tribe and the Blackfeet Tribe at Kootenai Falls and Badger-Two Medicine, respectively. She has degrees in cultural anthropology, specializing in Plains Indian ethnohistory. She also worked towards her doctorate in Social Science Implications in Natural Resource Management. Cynthia was a writing coach at Hellgate High School for eight years and coached Odyssey of the Mind for many years. She was raised in a family of avid readers and helped instill the love of the written word with her own family.

JoDean Nicolette is a writer, physician, and teacher. A graduate of Stanford University School of Medicine, she believes in the healing power of both nature and the written word. Her work has appeared in such publications as The Sun Magazine, The Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row, The Tishman Review, Sugared Water, Inscape, and The Rappahannock Review. A Pushcart nominee, JoDean was awarded the Grand Prize for Prose in The Maine Review‘s Rocky Coast Contest and the Scribes Valley Publishing Prize for Short Fiction. Besides her memoir, she is working on two collections (essays and short stories) and currently lives in the Bitterroot Valley with her dogs and horses.
Barbara Sims grew up in northern Virginia and attended college in upstate New York. She and her husband and joined Peace Corps and were volunteers in the Philippines. Trained as a reading specialist, she taught in Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico, Alaska, and Montana. As a Missoula County public school teacher and now as a member of the MWC board, she is privileged to have observed how MWC residency poets inspire students’ writing. Such writing experiences can transform students. Their poems are personal, thoughtful, and colorful. She is honored to be a part of the Missoula Writing Collaborative.
Born in Salem, Oregon during the last century, Lois Welch received her B.A. from Willamette University, then her Ph.D. in comparative literature from the NDEA Intercollegiate Program at Occidental College. After teaching at Portland State College from 1962 to 1966, she came to UM in 1966, where she taught until her retirement in 2001. In 1968, she married the Blackfeet writer James Welch, enjoying the literary life thereafter. She directed the creative writing program at UM for eight years, and then the English department for three. She has been an enthusiastic member of MWC board longer than anyone can remember.