Welcome to Kindergarten! My name is Brenda Caligiuri. I have been teaching in the Des Moines School District for the past 32 years! This is my 10th year teaching at Jefferson.
Most of my teaching experience has been in Kindergarten but I have taught first and second grades years ago. Kindergarten is such an exciting year of growth and joy of learning new things!
I received my BA in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa.
I received my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Graceland University.
My husband and I have 3 grown sons and a daughter in law who have all attended the University of Iowa. Go Hawks! We also have a 6 month old granddaughter that brings us lots of joy! In addition, we have a 2 year old chocolate lab and a 5 year old black lab. They keep us busy!
When not in school, you may find me walking in the neighborhood, spending time with family and friends or out shopping!
Welcome to 3rd grade at Jefferson Elementary! My name is Teresa Cardamon and it’s hard to believe, but this will be my 33rd year teaching for the Des Moines Public Schools! I taught 2nd grade at Willard, 4th grade at Lovejoy, worked as a district Literacy Coach, as an Instructional Coach/Interventionist at Edmunds and now this is my 12th year here at Jefferson teaching 3rd grade. I received my Bachelors in Education from UNI, go Panthers! After receiving my Masters in Education from Viterbo University, I also taught graduate literacy courses there. My husband of 32 years and I enjoy spending time with our 2 grown sons (former Jefferson students!) when they visit from Chicago. I love to stay active by playing tennis, golf, biking, walking, and attending sporting events. I truly love being a part of the Jefferson community and am looking forward to a great year with my new crew!
Hello! My name is Madison Danielson and I have been teaching Elementary Special Education in the Des Moines Public School District for the last five years. Prior to teaching in Des Moines, I received my B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa in Elementary Education, with a minor in Special Education. When I’m not at school, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Ryan, and son, William. I also enjoy watching the Cyclones, growing vegetables in my garden, doing home projects, and travelling with friends and family.
Hello, My name is Luke Dunlap and I am a first grade teacher at Jefferson. I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 2021 with a bachelors in Elementary Education. I have been at Jefferson Elementary since 2022. I love to spend time with my dog Gus, play video games, and build anything with Legos. What I love most about teaching first grade is watching the kids become exceptional readers.
Greetings Jefferson families, my name is Monique Funk, and I am the new Academic Interventionist. I have worked for Des Moines Public Schools for 12 years and with Urbandale Schools for one year.
I have been an interventionist at both elementary and middle school and taught art for one year at a middle school. I received my bachelor’s degree in art and design from Iowa State University and my master’s in education from Drake University. I also have teaching endorsements in art and reading.
My goals for this school year are to get to know the students and families and find ways to make learning fun for the students. I want them to be confident in learning and bettering themselves as well.
I have a husband, two children and two dogs in my family. I love spending time with my family. I also enjoy taking care of my plants, attending Cubs baseball games in the summer and Iowa Wild hockey games in the winter.
Greetings from the art department! My name is Wendy Glenn. This is my 29th year with the Des Moines district, 25 of which I taught at Lovejoy Elementary. I attended Drake University and did my graduate work at William Penn and Morningside College.
Teaching art is the best job in the world! I enjoy letting children experiment with different materials while developing an understanding of art appreciation, art elements and principals so that they may apply their new knowledge into their own creations.
I currently reside off the High Trestle Trail in Woodward. In my free time you can find me gardening, cooking, camping or traveling to beautiful places to enjoy nature.
Hi, I’m Amanda Gold. I am a mom 2 incredible kids! When I am not teaching, I love to spend my time exploring, creating, and reading with them! I am passionate about education and it has been a joy to be part of the Jefferson community for six years! I’ve spent my time in fourth grade, but this year I embark on an exciting new journey as I step into the role of a fifth-grade teacher. I can’t wait to see what amazing things Jefferson Jets will accomplish next!
Hello! This is my 6th year teaching at Jefferson. I have taught in Des Moines Public Schools for 12 years and before my family moved to Iowa, I taught in Illinois for 6 years. I live in West Des Moines with my husband (married for 30 years), two sons, and our dog. When I am not at school, I love to spend time with my family, to read, sew and just make things. I am blessed to be able to work with students and to cheer them on as they learn and grow! I earned my Bachelor’s degree from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois and my Masters degree in Literacy Education from Drake University.
Hello! I am Jennifer Johnson, 1st grade teacher. I am a graduate of University of Iowa with an emphasis in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. My Master’s degree is in Curriculum and Instruction. I grew up in Granger, Iowa with 8 brothers and sisters on an vegetable farm. I currently live on the southside with my husband John, who is a retired elementary principal. Our daughter Annie attended Jefferson and is now a Chemical Engineer in Omaha. Our son Joey is currently attending Iowa State. I am so fortunate to teach in my neighborhood with the best families and children. I enjoy cooking, traveling, sports and spending time with family and friends.
Welcome to Jefferson Elementary! My name is Robert Kaas. I have been serving Des Moines Public Schools for over 25 years. I received my Bachelors in Education from Iowa State University and my Masters in Education from Graceland College. Before I came to Jefferson, I taught both 4th and 5th grades at Park Avenue Elementary School. I enjoy watching sports, spending time around nature and spending time with my family. I am looking forward to a great year at Jefferson Elementary
My name is Sara Kennedy Sandhoff, and I have been serving Des Moines Public Schools for over 20 years. This is my 12th year at Jefferson, and I am currently serving in the role of Instructional Coach. Throughout my teaching career I have been a classroom teacher in grades kindergarten through fifth grade, a Reading Recovery teacher, and an academic interventionist. I received both my Bachelor’s in Education and my Master’s in Educational Leadership from Iowa State University. During my time away from school I enjoy watching my two children play soccer, trying out new recipes, reading, and spending time with my family. Here’s to a great year at Jefferson Elementary!
Welcome to 1st Grade! I am so blessed to have the opportunity to foster the love of learning with our Jets!
I am passionate about teaching and want to create connections, build schema, and create a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning for our Jets.
By working as a team, we will be successful in this goal!
Hello! I am incredibly excited to be a part of Jefferson’s 2nd grade team! This is my 2nd year as a Jet and my 20th year in education. I have been a part of the Des Moines school district for the past 16 years teaching preschool – 2nd grade. Before coming to Des Moines, I lived in Illinois and taught Pre-k – grade 3 special education.
I received my bachelor’s degree from St. Ambrose University in early childhood special education and I have a master’s degree from Illinois State University in special education with an emphasis in behavior disorders.
My family and I live in the Jefferson neighborhood with our dog, Oliver. My husband and I are the proud parents of two Jefferson Jets, a 5th grader and a 1st grader!
Hello, my name is Steph Liggett. I have been an Elementary Special Education teacher for 25+ years. I received my education from Iowa State (go Cyclones!) and Drake (go Bulldogs!).
I have 2 children-a son and a daughter-Noah and Grace. ( And I can’t forget my very spoiled dog!)
In our spare time, my husband and I enjoy projects around our house and spending time outside.
I am looking forward to a great year!
Welcome Jefferson Jets. I have been with the district since 1993. My titles have changed over those years, from teaching in a therapeutic setting, identifying students for special services, Dean of Students with DMPS’s Alternative Middle and High Schools, Dean of Students with Smouse Elementary, summer school Principal, non-Release Dean of Students here at Jefferson, to currently with General Education Classroom right here at Jefferson since 2013. Jefferson holds a very dear spot in my heart as I too attended Jefferson in 1972 in the first Kindergarten in the “new” building. I have seen Jefferson grow from a neighborhood school, a magnet school with Edmunds (which I also attended), Traditional School (which my two daughters attended), to back to a neighborhood school (which my grandchildren now attend). I have to say, with all my experience with education, by far Jefferson has been my favorite! I am truly happy that I chose to spend my teaching career back in the classroom with the exceptional students, families, and staff here at Jefferson.
K-6 Teacher Elementary Classroom
K-12 Athletic Coach
K-8 Behavioral Disorders
Ages 5-21 Consultant: Behavioral Disorders
PK-12 Principal / PK-12 Special Education Supervisor – Evaluator
Welcome to Jefferson Elementary Music! My name is Jennifer Norton and I have been teaching music in the Des Moines Schools for 25 years. I started my teaching career at Lovejoy Elementary in 1999 and moved to Jefferson in 2014. I love making music with Jefferson students! When I’m not making music with kids at school, you can find me making music with friends in my barbershop quartet. I look forward to seeing you at student performances!
Greetings, Jefferson Jets! My name is Meg Notch and for the past 30 years, I’ve been teaching everything from preschool to community college. Fourth grade is my newest adventure. I’ve served 6 years as an Instructional Coach and finished my Administrative Degree in 2007. Among students, I’m best known for my varied classroom pets and weekly classroom store. With 8 adult children and 1 sophomore in High School, my world is full of love and adventure. Once you’re part of the “Notch Nest”, you’re always family to me.
Welcome to Kindergarten! My name is James Puderbaugh. I have been teaching in the Des Moines School District for over 20 years! This is my 6th year teaching at Jefferson.
Most of my teaching experience has been in Kindergarten but I have taught first and second grade and have been a behavior specialist in the past. Kindergarten is such an exciting year of growth and joy of learning new things!
I received my BA in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Drake University.
I received my Masters in Administration from Viterbo University.
I live on a small farm in St Charles Iowa with my wife and daughter where we train and show horses in our spare time.
When not in school, you will most likely find me riding a horse, teaching horse riding lessons, or working on my farm.
My name is Holly Rexroat and I am a Special Education Teacher starting my 2nd year at Jefferson and I teach the special needs students in the Self-Contained Learning Classroom. I have been with the district for 29 years working as a Special Education Associate while going to college. I am going into my 12th year of teaching in Special Education.
I have a son who is 26 and lives on his own and my dog who is my big baby. My boyfriend and I live together in my house and like to spend time together outside and watching different seasons of comedy shows together.
In my free time I like to do yard work and gardening, going to craft shows, and doing beautification projects around my house both inside and outside.
I have really enjoyed working at Jefferson and getting the opportunity to get to know the wonderful teachers that work here and look forward to another great school year!
Hello! My name is Lexie Stevens. I am so excited to be teaching kindergarten at Jefferson this year. This is my 6th year teaching. I have previously taught kindergarten for 4 years and was an academic interventionist. Working with the littles is my passion and happy place! I graduated from Iowa State- GO CLONES- with my undergrad and Drake with my masters. I have endorsements in reading, language arts, ML, and social studies. Outside of teaching, I enjoy going on walks with my 2 dogs, Teddie and Tika, going to yoga, shopping, and spending time with my friends and family.
Hello everyone! I am a third grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary. I am a south sider, Des Moines Lincoln High School graduate. Go Rails! I have an Elementary Bachelor’s Degree (K-6) from Upper Iowa University. Go Peacocks! I received two endorsement in that field. One in language arts and the other in reading. I also have a Master’s Degree in Education from Graceland University. Go Yellowjackets! In addition to those degrees, I have attended over forty credit hours of training at Heartland Area Education Agency.
Before teaching, I worked at Flowers by Anthony for seventeen years and continued to do that on the weekends and in the summer after I started teaching. I spent fifteen years teaching middle school on the south side of Des Moines at Brody. Go Cardinals! I taught a variety of reading, language arts, social studies, math, and science classes over the years, mainly 6th grade but some 8th grade classes. I moved to elementary several years ago. Now, here I am at Jefferson. Go Jets! I have over twenty-five years of teaching experience and still every day is a new experience full of excitement and surprises, and just plain funny stuff from the kids sometimes. They make me smile!
I’m a mom to an Iowa State student, Go Cyclones!, a wife to a fantastic husband, a step-mom to a sweet teenager, a crafter, an artist, a dog-lover, a volunteer, a holiday decorator, a shopper, a nature-lover, traveler, and I always try to have a fun event to attend with friends. I am always on the go and wouldn’t change a thing!
The one thing I am truly passionate about is being happy in my professional and personal life. I will try my best to make your children happy at school too.