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.
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.
Hi, my name is Vanessa Lein and I am the library associate here at Lovejoy. I have been with Des Moines Public Schools since 2019. I live in Des Moines with my husband Matt and our 3 children Ethan, Eric and Lindsey. I am very excited for this school year, I love coming to school every day and seeing the smiles on the students faces. My favorite part is seeing the growth that each student makes every year with their reading and their excitement when they pick a new book to read!
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!
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.
Hello! My name is Leah Vance and I am the new Orchard Place therapist serving at Lovejoy. I received my bachelor’s degree in social work from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio in 2019. I then attended the University of Iowa where I graduated with my master’s degree in Social Work in the spring of 2020. Outside of school, I enjoy traveling, spending time with friends and family, being outside, and watching movies. I am excited to be at Lovejoy Elementary and look forward to working with the wonderful staff and students.
One person can make a difference, and everyone should try. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy
I began my teaching career in 2011 with Des Moines Public Schools. Throughout my career I have taught kindergarten, first grade, second grade, ELL and Intervention. I have my Masters of Education in Teacher Leadership, as well as endorsements in Reading, Social Studies and English as a Second Language. I love coming to school every day to see students and help them make growth both socially and academically.