Hello! My name is Michelle Baker and I teach first graders here at Jefferson. I have been with DMPS for 28 years, and have taught 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. (First is my favorite!) My husband Curt and I live in Indianola with our two dogs Molly and Daisy. We love to camp, ride our motorcycle, ride 4-wheelers and spend time with family and friends. We have one son, Michael, who was married over this past summer. His wife Jess is a wonderful addition to our family, and I can now say I have a daughter!
I enjoy getting to know my students’ families and working with them to provide a safe, positive, and productive learning environment. Communication is very important to me, so my students’ families will hear from me often about what is happening at school. If school is important to you at home, it will be important to your child!
Welcome to Kindergarten! My name is Brenda Caligiuri. I have been teaching in the Des Moines School District for the past 31 years! This is my 9th 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 1 year old chocolate lab and a 4 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 Jefferson Elementary! My name is Teresa Cardamon. It’s hard to believe, but this is my 32nd 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 11th 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 31 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 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.
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.
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.
Hello! This is my 5th year teaching at Jefferson. I have taught in Des Moines Public Schools for 11 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.
Welcome to Jefferson! I support math and reading through small groups. I feel very lucky to work with our students and staff at Jefferson. My 10+ years of teaching experience includes preschool, working with students with special needs, classroom teaching, and intervention. I am passionate about teaching students foundational reading skills and how to implement research based strategies to engaging lessons for young learners. I completed my masters at Drake focused in the area of reading. You can find me at the pool with my two elementary age boys in the summer!
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
Sara Kennedy- Sandhoff
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-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!
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 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.
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!
Welcome to third grade at Jefferson Elementary. My name is Julie Rietz. This is my 21st year of teaching for Des Moines Public Schools. Over those years I have been a classroom teacher, a reading interventionist, and an instructional coach. I earned Bachelors degrees in Education and Psychology from the University of Iowa. I also have Masters degrees in reading instruction and teaching English Language Learners. I live in the country near Norwalk with my husband Paul, my 17-year-old son Ryder, and my 13-year-old daughter Polly We have three enormous dogs: Buck, Goose, and Barkley. We are a Hawkeye family that loves to be active and travel.
I am so fortunate to be a teacher: to see my 9 and 10 year olds learning, wondering,and investigating has been so rewarding. I been in this profession for quite sometime (but I’m not old:) My undergraduate degrees are in Music Education, Business Administration and Flute Performance. I began my professional career in Ankeny teaching instrumental than vocal music at the middle school level. I then realized I wanted to make a bigger impact. I began my Masters from Drake University in Education with a Mathematics emphasis. I then came to Des Moines (Weeks Middle School) and taught 7th and 8th grade Math. I then landed at Jefferson as a 5th grade teacher, then an Instructional Coach and now a 4th grade teacher (the best).
My family is my other love. My husband is a “retired” administrator. My daughter just graduated from Iowa State with a degree in Fashion Design. My son just graduated from Valley High School and will be attending the University of Iowa in the fall. Libby, my 4-legged daughter is a 7 year old lab.
Hi! My name is Maddie Slough. This year will be my 4th year of teaching but first year teaching PE and first teaching at Jefferson. I previously taught 4th grade and reading/math intervention. I am so excited to share my passion for health and physical education with the students at Jefferson. My goal is to make every student feel successful in the gym as they learn new skills. When I am not at school you’ll find me spending time with family and friends, working out, golfing, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, and getting outside with my husband, Cree and new baby, Harper.
Hello! My name is Lexie Stevens. I am so excited to be teaching kindergarten at Jefferson this year. This is my 5th year teaching. I have previously taught kindergarten for 3 years and was an academic interventionist last year. Working with the littles is my passion and happy place! I graduated from Iowa State- GO CLONES- and have endorsements in reading, language arts, and social studies. I am working on my masters and will graduate this December. Along with my masters, I will have an ELL endorsement. 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.