I am excited to be working at Taylor! I look forward to meeting all the students and their families. This will be my 15th year working for Des Moines Public Schools. I taught kindergarten for 6 years on the south side, then moved to the Early Childhood department and have taught in integrated preschool classrooms at Madison, Carver and King, as the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) teacher. I received my undergraduate and graduate degree in education from Drake University.
Hi! I am Natalie Adams. I went to Iowa State University, where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. I’ve been teaching preschool for 28 years. This is my 18th year teaching Head Start with the Des Moines School District and my sixth year teaching at Woodlawn. For the past five years I have taught in an integrated classroom. I am looking forward to the new adventure of teaching in the all-day classroom. I really enjoy working with young children, helping them grow and learn to get ready for kindergarten. I also enjoy supporting and strengthening families in their role as their child’s first teacher and with family or personal needs. I’ve been married for almost 25 years, have three stepchildren and two grandchildren. When I’m not teaching I enjoy being outdoors, hiking, biking, and kayaking. I also like to read, listen to live music, go to ISU and Chiefs football games. I look forward to working with you and your child!
I’m Mrs. Bainbridge. I feel privileged to be your child’s teacher. I am excited to guide your child through his/her preschool journey. It will be an exciting year full of growth and development. I am passionate about teaching and want to instill a love for learning in every child I meet. Through Iowa State University, I have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education with a special education endorsement. This is my 19th year in the Des Moines School District and sixth year at McKee. I was a kindergarten teacher at Stowe Elementary for eight years and River Woods Elementary for five years. Prior, I taught Kindergarten for one year in Houston, TX. I also taught after-school and summer ELL programs, along with an early childhood autism summer class. I am a proud wife and mother of three young kids, Wesley (6 years old/first grade) and Collin (4 years old/preschool) and Mallory (2 years old). I am originally form Decatur IL. I am an Iowa State University graduate. Last year we moved from Des Moines to Carlisle.
Hello, my name is Shelly Burgess and I have been with Des Moines Public Schools since 2010 as an Early Childhood teacher. I taught elsewhere for many years prior to joining DMPS. My husband Ken and I have four boys. I enjoy exercising, traveling, working outside in the yard, volunteering at events my children participate in, and going to many athletic events and spending time with my family. I enjoy working with children and am looking forward to working with your child here at Mitchell.
I am Angie Clark. I have been teaching PreK for Des Moines Public Schools since 2003. I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a double major in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. I also received my master’s degree in education from Viterbo University. My husband Cory and I have two boys. They know how to keep me busy, but I love it! In my free time I enjoy spending time with family and friends and cheering on the Panthers and Hawkeyes! I am looking forward to an exciting year of fun and learning.
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 Tracie Courcier. I have been a teacher with Des Moines Public Schools since 2001. I received my undergraduate degree from Simpson College and my Master’s in Special Education from Drake University. My husband, Cory and I have two children, Megyn and Ryan. I love to spend time with my family and friends, go to water parks, and make cookies with my kids at home.
Hello families! I am Susan Crimmins and I will be your child’s teacher this year. I am entering my 13th year with Des Moines Schools, all in preschool! I grew up in Des Moines and graduated from East High. I attended Peru (NE) State College and earned my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. Currently, I am a Master’s student at Grand Canyon University. I will be completing my Master’s degree in late February! When I am not in school, or doing my own school work, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Randy, and my girls Piper (9) and Abigail (4). We also have two dogs and a cat. We enjoy many things together, but love when we are able to do things as a family. When it comes to sports, we spend most of our summer watching the Cardinals. I look forward to having a great year with you and your child!
Hello there! My name is Kinzie Fagerstrom and this will be my 1st year teaching in Head Start. I graduated from Simpson College with a degree in Elementary Education, with endorsements in Early Childhood Education, Reading and Social Studies. I currently live in the Des Moines metro with my two baby bunnies and energetic puppy. I student-taught here at Taylor last year, and I am excited to be back teaching at this amazing school. In my free time I enjoy watching supernatural and superhero TV shows, playing with my baby animals and spending time with my family and friends. I am so excited to teach your child this year and can’t wait to see their growth as a student!
Hello! My name is Kati Grundey and I teach preschool at Woodlawn Education Center. I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa where I received my degree in early childhood education, including special education and family studies. When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my family and traveling!
Hi all, my name is Jackie Hand. I have been an Early Childhood Special Education teacher since 2015. I spent a few years of my teaching career as an Early ACCESS teacher–working with families and children birth-3, had the opportunity to teach preschool overseas, and am continuing my career as a special education preschool teacher. I received my BA in Early Childhood Special Education from Iowa State University, and completed my MA in Early Childhood Special Education through the University of Toledo. I love working with young children and families, and look forward to working with you and your preschooler this year! When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my family (lots of road trips to Chicago), doing DIY projects, drinking coffee, riding my bike, practicing yoga, and traveling (near and far)! I look forward to an exciting year of learning and development. Thank you!
Welcome to Taylor 4 Head Start! My name is Carissa Harrington and I am so excited to start my fifth year teaching Head Start for Des Moines Public Schools here in the wonderful new Taylor building! I am originally from Davenport, Iowa. I graduated from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa in December of 2012, majoring in Education with Reading and Early Childhood endorsements. Prior to teaching I worked at the Bettendorf Family Museum during the summers, where their motto is “play together, learn together”. I taught camps and facilitated learning for the guests. This experience allowed me to see how influential hands-on learning can be and how it plays a key role in the development of young children. With the classroom activities and curriculum, your students will have many opportunities to learn. I look forward to working with you and your children, and creating memories for us all!
My name is Sara Heim and I will be your child’s teacher this year. This is my 16th year teaching in Early Childhood Education. I love this age because of the growth I see in students and the contagious energy they bring to school everyday. I live in Norwalk with my husband, Tim and our boys, Colby and Conner. I enjoy reading, watching movies, being outdoors, and cheering on the Cyclones. I am looking forward to a great and successful year of working with you and your child.
My name is Janet Henderson. I have been with the district for 12 years and have been teaching preschool for 9 years. I love working with children and enjoy seeing how each child grows and learns throughout the year. My husband’s name is Corey. He owns a towing company along with some other family members. My daughter Rachel is a freshman at the University of Iowa. My son David is a senior at Van Meter High School. I love dogs and have a black lab named Carrie. My family and I are big fans of ISU basketball and have season tickets so we are very driving to Ames throughout the fall and winter for all the games.
Welcome to Taylor! I am Kim Jeffus and this is my 7th year as a preschool teacher. I spent 3 years in a small school district with preschool and have been with Des Moines Public Schools for 4 years. I graduated from UNI with a BA in Early Childhood and Special Education Endorsement and received my Master’s and Reading Endorsement from Morningside College. I am excited to get to know my families and have a great year. When I am not in school I enjoy playing cello and volunteering with Special Olympics!
This is my 8th year teaching for Des Moines Public Schools. I love working here at Woodlawn! My husband and I have been married for 6 years and have a gold/orange cat named Dagmar! I have 1 sister and 2 brothers, 2 nieces and 2 nephews! I’m from Muscatine, Iowa and went to school at the University of Northern Iowa! I have my teaching degree in early childhood education and a master’s degree in special education.
My name is Emily Kurimski. I am excited to be your child’s teacher! I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Early Childhood Education and endorsements in Early Childhood Special Education and Literacy Education. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, family, and friends.
Hello! My name is Mallory Levendusky and I am looking forward to teaching your amazing child this year! I am excited to get to know you and your family! Let me share a few things about myself first. I attended college at UNI and received my Bachelor’s in Early Childhood and Elementary Education with a minor in literacy. This will be my fifth year teaching and my third year at Mitchell.
A few things I love include going to movies, spending time with my family and friends, dancing, and playing sports!
I am so excited to start a new school year and share it with all of our students and their families! I have been teaching in the Des Moines Public Schools for three years. I graduated from UNI with undergraduate and master’s degrees in Special Education. Go Panthers! I like to spend my time reading, quilting, and with my wonderful family.
Hi, my name is Danielle Mullenix and I am the Head Start teacher in your child’s classroom. I graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education. I have been a preschool teacher in the Des Moines Public Schools for 10 years. I have been married to my husband Micah for 8 years and we have two boys. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am very excited to meet all of you and work with your child this year. We are going to have so much fun!
My name is Lynn Pavel. I am a teacher in the Sing a Song classroom at Woodlawn. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education. I stay current in the field of Early Childhood Education by taking classes on various topics related to early childhood. I have been teaching at this level for many years. I truly love the excitement I see when a child learns a new concept or has a new idea. Their eyes light up and they are so proud of themselves! My husband Dave and I have a daughter, son-in-law, 2 little granddaughters and 2 grand-dogs we love spending time with. It is my pleasure to be a part of the team that lays the positive educational foundation for your child.
I’m Stacey Zimmerman and I am going to be one of your child’s teachers for the upcoming year. I am very excited to help guide your child’s learning during the following months. I have lived in Iowa all my life. I grew up on a farm near Harlan, IA. I have a dog named Kaylee who is a Sheltie mix. She loves going for walks and trips to the dog park. This is my third year of teaching preschool here at McKee. I graduated from Iowa State University with my bachelors in early childhood education unified with special education. I have also worked in childcare centers during college and during the summers. I am looking forward to a great year with you and your child. If you ever have any questions or concerns please don’t be afraid to ask!
Hi! My family and I are new to the Des Moines area, but so very happy to be here! We moved from South Dakota this summer where I was an early childhood intervention teacher on the West side of the state. I grew up in New York, but have also lived and worked in North Carolina and Texas. I love to travel and see new places, paint, kayak, hike, and explore. I am looking forward to a fun year and I am really excited about getting to know all of the children and families!
Hi, my name is Ann Strom and I am so excited to be a preschool teacher this year. I grew up in Des Moines and am happy to be back in the Des Moines Public Schools as a teacher. I graduated from the University of Nothern Iowa (UNI) with a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary education with a literacy minor. In my free time, I enjoy cheering for the Panthers, playing my flute, traveling, playing softball, and spending time with my family. I look forward to working with you and your child this year and creating memories for us all.
Hello, my name is Rachel Tegeler, Early Childhood Special Education teacher. I lived in the Stuart, Iowa area on a dairy farm until I was thirteen. I then moved to Marshalltown where I graduated from high school. After high school, I attended Mt. Mercy College in Cedar Rapids where I received my Elementary Education degree. Two years ago I completed my master’s degree in Early Childhood with a specialty in teaching and diversity. This is my eighth year in the Des Moines Public School district. I have been in the early childhood profession for over twenty years, which has included working in childcare settings as well as teaching in an integrated preschool program in the Cedar Rapids area. I am married and have four boys ranging in age from 22 to age 15. I love to read, bike, spend time outside and time with my family.
Hi, I’m Angela Tonasket. I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa. I went to Grand View University, where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Education and my endorsements to teach preschool and elementary school, as well as specialized reading and special education up to 8th grade. I also attended the University of Northern Iowa, where I received my endorsement in Early Childhood Special Education. This is my second year at Woodlawn and my third year in the Des Moines district. Prior to that, I worked in Prairie City Monroe School district for four years teaching both kindergarten and preschool through 5th grade special education. I am married and have four children. I have three boys and on girl. The three boys are all working full-time jobs and my daughter attends Southeast Polk High School. I also have two dogs at home in Pleasant Hill. When I’m not at school, I like to garden and go to movies. I also like to work on home improvement projects with my husband.
I am Sara Vais. I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a double major in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. I also received my master’s degree from Drake University in Effective Teaching. My husband and I have two kids and we enjoy going to Buc’s hockey games and cheering on the Panthers and Cyclones!
I am very proud to be a teacher in the Des Moines Public School District. I love working with preschool age children and seeing them mature and grow. The classroom is an engaging, hands-on learning environment filled with fun and love. My Early Education degree is from Upper Iowa University. I have worked in a private preschool, as an Associate in a special education classroom, and also have a business degree from the University of Northern Iowa. My husband and I have two boys, a cat, and a dog. Our lives are very busy with school activities.
Hi, my name is Heather Werning and I will be the Head Start teacher in your child’s classroom this school year. The 2019-20 will be my 11th year as a teacher with Des Moines Public Schools and there is no doubt that teaching is my passion. I love the energy that the preschoolers bring into our classroom on a daily basis and the pure love and excitement for school that they have. It amazing to watch how much learning takes place in each and every preschooler throughout our school year together.
I graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and spent my first ten years with Des Moines Public Schools teaching in the Shared Vision Preschool classroom at Moulton Elementary. I am married to my high school sweetheart and a proud mother of two amazing kiddos who are six and three. Together we enjoy spending time outdoors doing anything from hiking, swimming, to fishing. I am so excited to meet each of you and work with you and your child this year.
Hi. My name is Julie Wilcox. I have been teaching for over 25 years in the Head Start Program. I look forward to working with your child this year at McKee. This is my 2nd year at McKee. Previously I taught with Drake Head Start, Even Start in Des Moines, Findley Elementary, and at Taylor Early Learning Center. I am eager to get to know the children and families I work with at McKee. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and two boys.
I graduated from the College of Saint Mary with a double major in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. I received my Master’s Degree from Drake in Early Childhood Special Education. I have been teaching Head Start for 17 years and enjoy working with all of the families and their children. I am married and I have a 15 year old son and a 13 year old daughter. When I’m not at school I enjoy reading, crocheting, and spending time with my family. I look forward to teaching your child this year.