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Board of Directors

Members of our Board serve three-year terms beginning the year indicated in parenthesis by each member's name.

Photograph of David Dietrich, Board President for This House of Books, a community-owned, independent bookstore and tea shop in downtown Billings, MontanaDavid Dietrich, President (2018)

David J. Dietrich graduated with honors from Whitman College with a B.A. degree in 1979. He served in the Peace Corps in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. He attended the University of Montana (UM) College of Law and graduated with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 1984.

David is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate (RPTE) Law Section of the American Bar Association. Hs is a past Co-Chair of the ABA's Property Preservation Task Force, which later resulted in the Uniform Law Commission's adoption of the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act. David is currently on the UM's Tax Institute Advisory Board and serves on the Board of Trustees of Rocky Mountain College (RMC) in Billings, Montana. He served for six years on the Board of Directors of the Montana Land Reliance, a private land trust in Montana that oversees in excess of a million acres of protected land.

David’s publications include the 2011 ABA Book Conservation Easements: Tax and Real Estate Planning for Landowners and Advisors; “Selected Post-Mortem Estate Tax Elections for the Small Business Owner”, “Pleasing Mother Earth and the IRS: Using Conservation Easements to Save Open Space, Income and Estate Taxes” for the Heckerling Institute for Estate Planning for the University of Miami in January 2003 and other tax and real estate related topics for the State Bar of Montana.

David is a fourth generation Montana with diverse ranching, real estate, and estate planning background. His firm, Dietrich & Associates, P.C. has provided real estate tax and estate planning services to the region for over 24 years. 

David and his family enjoy living in the Big Sky Country; he is an avid outdoor digital camera user, loves reading, and likes outdoor activities in any season.

For more information, see David's staff picks.

Photograph of Dave Schumway, Board Vice President for This House of Books, a community-owned, independent bookstore and tea shop in downtown Billings, MontanaDave Schumway, Vice President (2018)

When he is not busy as the Director of Communications for Volunteers of America, Northern Rockies, or as an adjunct professor of photography at Rocky Mountain College, Dave M. Shumway is a professional photographer. Currently based in Red Lodge, Montana, Dave was raised in the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. He moved to the western U.S. when he was 20 years old, and he “is never looking back.”

Dave has two passions, one for the outdoors and one for photography. To this end he spends much of his time in fragile places the world over, always looking for ways to share the natural world through his lens. To this end, he averages 150 days per year in wild and fragile places the world over. Working as a photographer, Dave’s assignments include everything from wildlife and landscape photography to journalism and commercial work. His extensive time in the field shows through in online galleries, which are loaded with images of the fragile places to which he travels.

Dave also harbors a certain fondness for community-owned, independent bookstores.

For more information about Dave, please check out his website and his photography site.



Photograph of Julie Schultz, Board Treasurer for This House of Books, an independent, community-owned bookstore and tea shop in downtown Billings, MontanaJulie Schultz, Treasurer (2018)

Julie Schultz believes that artificial intelligence is going to drastically reshape society, so she quit a job managing institutional portfolios in NYC to spend more time thinking about the consequences, something she explores in depth on her blog: The Disgruntled Rationalist. She grew up in Montana but left for college and graduate school (Boston University, Princeton University) and stayed away for 20 years, living variously in Atlanta, Boston, New York, London, and Bermuda. After a dozen years working in finance, though, watching human irrationality in action on a daily basis, it was time for new intellectual challenges.

The pull of family—and the lower cost of living—drew her home to Montana, and she was delighted to find an independent bookstore had just opened in downtown Billings. This House of Books has become a favorite hangout, one that handily combines her dual passions for books and tea while fostering a strong local community.

For more information, see Julie's staff picks




Photograph of Jaclyn Laferriere, Board Secretary for This House of Books, a community-owned bookstore and tea shop in downtown Billings, MontanaJaclyn S. Laferriere, Secretary (2017)

Jaclyn S. Laferriere practices law in Billings, Montana, representing personal injury victims. A Bozeman native, she graduated with highest honors from Montana State University in 2007 with a B.S. in Sociology. She then moved to South Royalton, Vermont, to attend Vermont Law School. After graduating cum laude in 2010, Jaclyn returned to Montana to practice law in Billings.

Jaclyn feels that one of the best activities is picking up a random book by an unknown author and discovering a new favorite book. There is a book out there for everyone at every phase in life, and helping him or her to find it is an art. While there is nothing quite like the freedom of expression and exploration that works of fiction offer to both the reader and the writer, Jaclyn also loves a well-researched history or social science book. Her favorite type of prose is the short story.'

Jaclyn served briefly as President before returning to her role as the first Secretary to the board, a role she's filled since 2016.

For more information, see Jaclyn's staff picks



Photograph of Nina Hernandez, Board Treasurer for This House of Books, a community-owned bookstore and tea shop in downtown Billings, MontanaNina Hernandez (2016)

Nina Hernandez works in business development for a Montana-based non-profit. Her background is in fundraising, where she has campaigned for large nonprofits in Texas and Montana, such as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Dallas, Texas. Her Montana roots brought her back to Billings after she and her husband adopted their first child. She worked as the Executive Director for the American Heart Association before taking her position for Youth Dynamics, a Montana-based nonprofit focusing on children’s mental and behavioral healthcare. With an emphasis on philanthropy and sustainability, she oversees business development, marketing and communications and community education for the state.

By serving on This House of Books’ board of directors, Nina is able to exercise one of her favorite out-of-office pastimes, as a bookworm and literature enthusiast. She and her husband have two children and believe in small houses, downtown communities, and cultural growth for Billings.

Nina served as the first Treasurer to the Board from 2016–2018.

For more information, see Nina's staff picks.



Photograph of Carrie La Seur, Board President for This House of Books, a community-owned bookstore and tea shop in downtown Billings, MontanaCarrie La Seur (2016)

Carrie practices energy and environmental law on behalf of farmers, ranchers, and Native Americans—and does a little writing—from an office in Billings, Montana. Her ancestors homesteaded in Montana in 1864 and survived every sort of calamity and absurdity, so the book industry seems pretty tame to her by comparison.

Carrie’s improbable but apparently nonfiction résumé includes a degree in English and French from Bryn Mawr College, a Rhodes Scholarship, a doctorate in modern languages from Oxford University, and a Yale law degree. She is the author of the novels,  The Home Place and The Weight of an Infinite Sky.

A licensed private pilot and committed introvert, Carrie hikes, skis, and fishes the Montana wilderness with her family in her spare time. Her writing has appeared in such diverse media as Daily Beast, Grist, Guardian, Harvard Law and Policy Review, High Country News, Huffington Post, Kenyon Review Online, Mother Jones, and Salon.

Carrie served as the first President of the Board from 2016–2018.

For more information, see Carrie's staff picks and her author page.



Photograph of Precious McKenzie, Board Vice President for This House of Books, a community-owned bookstore and tea shop in downtown Billings, MontanaPrecious McKenzie (2016)

Precious has a Ph.D. in English from the University of South Florida. Her area of specialization is nineteenth-century British literature so, naturally, she loves those big, fat Victorian novels. She's taught at the University of South Florida, New College of Florida, and Montana State University's City College. She is currently an assistant professor of English at Rocky Mountain College.

She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association. Her poetry has appeared in ellipsis, Gemini, and as part of Tupelo Press's 30/30 Project. She is also the author of over forty books for children including Buff Ducks, Isle of Enchantment, One Thousand Miles, Now or Later Alligator, and Disaster Day.

Precious served as the first Vice President to the board from 2016–2018.

For more information, see Precious' staff picks and her author page.