Welcome to Jefferson! My name is Megan Astelle. This is my first year in the Des Moines School District. Prior to being a first grade teacher, I taught 7 years of second grade and 1 year of Kindergarten for the Newton School District. I received my Bachelors in Education from Buena Vista University. When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time with my daughter and other family, reading mysteries, and cheering on the Nebraska Cornhuskers!
I am Mrs. Baker and I teach first grade at Jefferson. I started teaching in Des Moines in 1994. I went to The University of Northern Iowa for my degrees in Elementary Education as well as Early Childhood Development. I earned my Master’s Degree in Education from Viterbo University. I love watching children learn to read, solve math stories, and grow as individuals. When I am not at school, I enjoy spending time with my family, camping, reading, or playing with our two dogs Molly and Daisy. Can’t wait to enjoy another great school year!
Welcome to Kindergarten! My name is Brenda Caligiuri. I have been teaching in the Des Moines School District for the past 30 years! This is my 8th 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 (former Jefferson students) and a new daughter in law who have all attended the University of Iowa. Go Hawks! We also have a 3-year-old Black Lab.
When not in school, you may find me walking in the neighborhood, spending time with family and friends or out shopping!
I grew up in Des Moines and attended Woodlawn Elementary, Meredith Middle School, Hoover High School and Drake University. I have taught PE ifor 30 years, and this is my 29th year at Jefferson. My wife Kim and I, have 3 dogs, 1 cat and 12 nieces and nephews that we love to spend time with. Our favorite place to vacation is Estes Park, Colorado. I enjoy playing tennis, mowing yards and volunteering at Valley View Village Retirement Home on the East side of Des Moines. One of my dreams is to have a chihuahua farm named Uncle Stuey’s Chihuahua Farm.
Welcome to Jefferson Elementary! My name is Teresa Cardamon. It’s hard to believe, but this is my 31st 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 10th 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 30 years and I enjoy spending time with our 2 grown sons (former Jefferson students!) when they visit from Denver. 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 four 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, as well as preparing for the arrival of our first child in November 2021. I also enjoy watching the Cyclones, growing vegetables in my garden, doing home projects, and travelling with friends and family.
Greetings! My name is Wendy Glenn. I am very excited to be teaching art at Jefferson! This is my 28th 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.
My name is Ally Goins. I have been working in Des Moines Public Schools since 2017. I worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer first. I then became an interventionist. Now I am working as a fourth grade teacher. I received my bachelor’s degree from Simpson College and will be completing my master’s in Urban Leadership at Drake this winter. Outside of school I enjoy playing with my dog, Chunk, and spending time with friends and family. I am an avid reader and movie watcher.
My name is Charlene Hickling. This is my 4th year teaching 2nd grade at Jefferson. I absolutely love working with my colleagues, students, and families at Jefferson! I live in West Des Moines with my husband, 2 sons, and our cavapoo, Mabel. I enjoy spending time with my family and love to read and sew and do crafty things when I have time. I taught kindergarten for 6 years in Illinois before I had my children. When we moved to Iowa, I decided to stay home until both of my children were in school. Since I have returned to teaching, I have taught in Des Moines for 10 years. I earned my Masters in Literacy Education from Drake University.
My name is Leah Innis. It is an honor to work with all students at Jefferson. I serve students in small groups and support literacy and math instruction as well as provide support for students receiving academic intervention. I have taught at the elementary level for over ten years. I completed my Masters in Education and reading endorsement from Drake University. I have two elementary age boys who I love to spend time with and provide me many funny stories and jokes to share with students. My teaching style is patient, consistent, and motivated towards helping students excel as learners. I enjoy working with our strong team of staff members at Jefferson.
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 eleventh 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!
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-my son just graduated from Iowa State and my daughter just graduated from DSM Roosevelt and currently attending UNI.
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!
My name is Beth Martin, 5th grade teacher. 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! My name is Amanda Martin and I teach 2nd grade. I live in Grimes, IA with my husband Tim, my daughter Gwen, and my son Connor. We also have a dog and two cats. I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree from Iowa State University and my Master’s Degree from Drake University. Go Cyclones! When I’m not at school, you can find me at the softball fields with my daughter or the soccer fields with my son. You can find me cheering for the Cyclones, the Packers, and the Cubs! It is truly a blessing to be here at Jefferson!
Welcome to Jefferson Elementary Music! My name is Jennifer Norton and I have been teaching music in the Des Moines Schools for 23 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. Fifth grade is my sweet spot! I’ve spent 6 years as an Instructional Coach and got my Administrative Degree in 2007. Among students, I’m best known for my varied classroom pets and weekly classroom store. With nine children of my own, my world is full of love and adventure. Once you’re part of the “Notch Nest”, you’re always family to me.
My name is Karneen Hoyle. This is my 26th year of teaching. I have been serving Des Moines Public Schools in various capacities for over 15 years. Prior to teaching in Des Moines, I taught middle school and high school science at PCM and SEP. I received my Bachelors in Education from Iowa State University and my Masters in Education from Drake University. I have three sons, ages 22, 19, and 15. In my spare time, you can find me at a ballpark supporting one of my boys’ baseball teams. You can also find me cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes, the KC Chiefs, or the Chicago Cubs! I also love reading mysteries and watching an occasional Hallmark movie. I am looking forward to a great year at Jefferson Elementary!
My name is Holly Rexroat and I am a Special Education teacher at Jefferson Elementary. This is my 11th year teaching with the district. Before teaching I was a Special Education associate in the district for 16 years while going to college. I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Upper Iowa University and my Masters in Special Education from Morningside University.
I have a son who is 25 years old and has his own house and is a kitchen manager at Waterfront Seafood. I also have a dog named Cher who I love very much and is very spoiled. I own my own home and my boyfriend lives with me. I love to garden and do house projects in my free time to keep me busy.
Welcome to third grade at Jefferson Elementary. My name is Julie Rietz. I have been teaching for Des Moines Public Schools for 19 years. Over those years I have been a classroom teacher, a reading interventionist, and an instructional coach. I received a bachelor’s degrees in Education and Psychology from the University of Iowa. I received my masters in reading instruction from Viterbo University. And I am currently finishing my second master’s degree in teaching English Language Learners from Grandview University. I live in the country near Norwalk with my husband Paul, my 16-year-old son Ryder, and my 12-year-old daughter Polly (and our three enormous dogs: Buck, Goose, and Barkley). We are a Hawkeye family that loves to be active and travel.
My name is Alyson Skahill. I graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College with degrees in Flute Performance, Business Administration and Music Education. I then taught music in Ankeny for 11 years. During that time I received my Master’s from Drake University in Education. I taught at Weeks Middle School for 6 years. I have been teaching at Jefferson since then. My husband and I have 2 daughters, a son and Libby, our dog.
Hello! My name is Tristana Tigges and this is my 9th year of teaching. I am very fortunate that all of them have been at Jefferson! I taught special education here for 5 years before making the move to Kindergarten. Kindergarten is such a fun year of learning and growth! I went to the University of South Dakota for my undergrad degree, but also hold a Master’s Degree and an endorsement in Early Childhood. When I am not at school I love to travel and stay active with all things running, biking, and walking. I look forward to having a great year!
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.