My name is Kerry Biondi-Morlan and I am the speech language pathologist that serves Lovejoy Elementary School. I was born and raised on the southside of Des Moines. I attended Granger (now South Union, Weeks and Lincoln ‘91). I went to the University of Northern Iowa and received by B.A. in communicative disorders in 1995, and my M.A., in speech language pathology in 1997. I used to work at Mercy Hospital, and have worked for DMPS since 2001.
My husband and I live on the southside with our three teenage children. I enjoy walking and reading. I am a cofounder of a non-profit organization that employees five people.
I love being a part of the Lovejoy team and supporting students to help them increase their communication skills.
My name is Heather Bittner, and I am so glad to be at Lovejoy! I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa and got my Master’s Degree from Viterbo University. I have taught fourth grade, first grade, kindergarten, reading, and talented and gifted. I enjoy spending time with my husband, two children, and my dog. I like to read, travel, shop, and go to movies. I love seeing students’ smiling faces and watching them grow and learn each year!
Hello! My name is Lori Craig. I have been a special ed. para-educator for Des Moines Public Schools since 2000. I truly enjoy working with students that need extra support. I am married and have two daughters that have graduated from Lincoln High School. I enjoy riding my Harley, flower gardening, and hanging out with my family.
I love working at Lovejoy! This is my 7th year working at Lovejoy as an instructional coach. I enjoy the opportunities I have to work with students and staff every day. Prior to working at Lovejoy, I spent 20 years teaching middle school students. I have taught all four academic subjects in three different school districts including spending three years teaching math and science to ELL students for Des Moines Public Schools.
I graduated from Mt. Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, IA with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in history and reading. I hold a Master’s Degree in Effective Teaching, Learning and Leadership and Specialist’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Drake University.
I enjoy spending time with my husband and two children. I like to read, shop, and play games with my family. I love watching students eyes light up when they learn something new!
My name is Logan Hemphill and this is my first year at Lovejoy Elementary! I am a Behavior Disorders Special Education Teacher. I graduated from Iowa State University with my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education with endorsements in Special Education (Strat I) and Reading. I also have a minor in Learning Technologies. I enjoy spending time outside, learning new things, video and board games, and hanging out with my cats. I am an LGBTQ+ educator and I am passionate about urban education and anti-racism in our school community. Let’s have an amazing year!
I have been with the Des Moines Public Schools since 2007. This is my seventh year at Lovejoy. I am currently serving as a reading/math interventionist. Lovejoy is such a great place to be! I knew instantly that I would love working at Lovejoy because the sign on the door read, “Welcome to Lovejoy—where we foster the Love of Learning and the Joy of Friends.” I graduated from Grand View University with my BA in Elementary Education and from Viterbo University with my MA in Curriculum and Instruction.
As a child, I always wanted to grow up and become a teacher so I feel very lucky my dream came true. My favorite quote is “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Outside of school, I love spending time with my husband and two boys as well as our dog Murphy, traveling, reading, watching movies, and shopping.
I was born and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I went to Graceland University, which is what brought me to Iowa, and I have since called this state my home. This is my first year at Lovejoy, and I am extremely excited to be here! I previously taught at Ruby Van Meter School as a Special Education teacher. I am a firm believer that every child can learn, and I will work hard to create an environment where each child can be successful. In my classroom, children will be engaged in a positive environment with the expectation that everyone will try their very best in preparation of becoming uplifting members of the community. I love to be in the classroom, but while I am away, I love to spend time with my newborn son and husband, read books, redo furniture, and make desserts.
“Teachers who love teaching teach children to love learning.” -Robert John Meehan
Hello! My name is Kayla McNew and this is my seventh year at Lovejoy Elementary. I graduated from Iowa State University in 2014 with my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with endorsements in Special Education and Coaching. I received my Master’s Degree in Cultural Proficiency Leadership Instruction from Drake University in December of 2019. When I am not at school, I enjoy spending time with my daughter Maizie, my husband Aaron and my dog Ozzy. I am very excited to be at Lovejoy again this year!
Hello! My name is Kristin Miller. I have been with Des Moines Public Schools since 2010. I am originally from South Dakota and earned my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Black Hills State University in 2003. I taught first grade in South Dakota for 6 years before moving to Des Moines. In 2010, I earned my master’s degree as a Reading Specialist from the University of Sioux Falls. My first two years in Des Moines I taught kindergarten, I then taught first grade for 8 years, after that I taught second grade virtually for one year, and now I am an Instructional Coach. When I am not at Lovejoy, I enjoy decorating cakes, reading, shopping, watching movies, being with friends, and spending time with my husband and little boy. I love teaching because of the huge growth that the students make. I really enjoy watching former students advance through the grades and becoming enthusiastic learners and great citizens.
I graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with endorsements in Reading and Special Education. I have taught special education at Lovejoy since 2018. I enjoy sharing my love of learning with students every day.
Hi! My name is Maddie Slough. This year, I am starting my second year of teaching but first at Lovejoy Elementary. I am so excited to join the Lovejoy team! This year I will be serving the 5th grade students. I attended Northwest Missouri State University where I earned my bachelors degree in Elementary Education with a minor in coaching, and a reading endorsement. I also attended grad school at Northwest Missouri State University. I earned a masters degree in Health and Physical Education with my focus on how movement in the classroom relates to student recall and cognition. Helping each and every student reach their goals is my passion. When I am not at school I love to spend time with my husband, Cree, family and friends. I played division two college golf so you can catch Cree and I at the golf course! I also enjoy volunteering my time to serve my community, working out, and shopping with my mom.
As an interventionist, my hope and dream is that the children at Lovejoy will love learning! I have taught in Iowa and South Dakota over the past 29 years. My teaching positions have extended from Pre-K to Sixth Grade with a majority of my focus being placed in the Reading/Language Arts areas. I love reading and learning! Literacy Skills are an integral part of many things we encounter in life! The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go! ~Dr. Seuss
My name is Amber Smith. I am so excited to be a part of Lovejoy Elementary and look forward to supporting our students in any way I can. I love being in the academic environment and observing all of the potential that roams our halls. I enjoy working with students individually, in small groups and during classroom guidance. I received my Master’s degree from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia and my undergrad from the University of Minnesota – Duluth.
Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my husband and two boys. We travel, stay active, explore, read and love to try new things in our free time.