Family engagement includes all of the ways we, as staff and as families with preschoolers, work and play together in preparing children for success in school and life. I am here to support family, staff and classroom activities–meeting needs and providing information, comfort and opportunities. I have degrees in child-development and social work, and have worked in early childhood for more than 30 years. My husband and I have three children who are now young adults. My favorite times in life are when we are all together. Contact me in Woodlawn’s Twinkle Star Community Room, by email or by phone.
I am a Speech-Language Pathology Associate at Woodlawn and McKee Education Centers. I just received my Bachelor’s in Communication Disorders and Sciences from Utah State University. Next, I am headed to graduate school to get my Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology. I have two children, Eden who is 4, and Sawyer who is 1 year. I enjoy cooking, gardening, and spending time with my friends and family.
I have a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa. I love the Hawkeyes! I have been a School Social Worker for approximately 20 years, working in Volusia County, Florida and Des Moines Public Schools. My focus is supporting the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students, as well as supporting various needs of our families and school staff. I enjoy teaching social skills individually or in small groups. I have served elementary-age and pre-school children for most of my career. I am so excited to be working with pre-school, as I believe you will always be happy around 3 to 5 year olds!
Hello, my name is Marissa Cokeley, and I am looking forward to a fantastic school year with our students and families. In 2014 I graduated from Iowa State University with my bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education, with an endorsement in special education and reading. Before coming to Mitchell Preschool, I worked at Unity Point Health Child Development Center as an assistant teacher with children ages 3 months to 5 years old. In my free time, I enjoy reading, spending time with my family, and running 5Ks with my mom. I am excited to grow and learn alongside your child this year!
My name is Emily Dickison. I graduated from Iowa State University in 2010 with a degree in Communication Studies. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, going for a walk or bike ride, and crafting. Cheers to a new school year!
Hi, my name is Jodi Harrell, and I am beginning my 5th school year with Des Moines Public Schools! I enjoy being part of the Early Childhood Department where I serve as an Early Childhood Social Worker and Mental Health Consultant. I graduated from Grandview University for my undergraduate degree and the University of Iowa for my master’s degree. I have also been trained in Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and I often consult on how to implement PCIT principles in the preschool classroom as well as in the home. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my step-granddaughter, friends, and family; and I love to travel whenever I can.
My name is Donna Kunkel, and I am the associate in your child’s classroom. I have been employed at Mitchell since 2015 and with the Des Moines Public Schools since 2012. My education includes a BA from both UNI and Upper Iowa University. I have two children of my own, and enjoy working with youth at the YMCA. I love helping kids learn and watching them have fun!
Hi, my name is Erin Loy. I have a Bachelor’s degree from Northern Iowa and my Master’s degree from St. Ambrose University. I have been in the social work field since 2002 and this is my first year with Des Moines Public Schools. I am working at both Woodlawn and Smouse. I love working with the early childhood age and seeing them learn and grow. I am married with 2 young children at home. In my free time I enjoy watching the Hawkeyes and like to spend time with my family. I am very excited to be here and am looking forward to a great and successful year with your children.
Hello, my name is Jana Morris and I am a Behavior Support Teacher at Mitchell. I have worked for Des Moines Public Schools since 2003. My husband and I have two kids, Erin and Ryan. Together as a family we enjoy riding bikes, heading to the beach, and camping. I look forward to helping Mitchell have the best year!
Hi, my name is Beth Pattschull and I am one of the Early Childhood Special Education consultants. I have been working in Early Childhood Special Education with Des Moines Public schools since 2002. I enjoy working with this age group and seeing the excitement that learning brings each day. I feel passionate about providing children with experiences to build the foundation for later school success. I am married with two children.
My name is Melissa Sambu and I am an Instructional Coach for Early Childhood. I have worked for Des Moines Public Schools for 9 years. During that time, I have taught preschool, been a Literacy Coach, and an Instructional Coach. Prior to coming to Des Moines, I taught kindergarten for 2 years. I look forward to working with teachers, children, and families to make it a great and successful year!
I graduated from Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Des Moines University with my Master in Public Health. I have worked all of my career in pediatric nursing. My experiences include the University of Iowa, Blank Neonatal Intensive Care, and Des Moines Public Schools. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the children and families in the DMPS Early Childhood Programs.