My name is Mirela Abild, and this is my 13th year serving Lovejoy families and students. I am so excited to start this school year in my new role as an ELL teacher. To have this opportunity to continue to serve our students has been a dream come true. I live in Winterset with my husband Zach, our four children, and our two dogs Leo and Sophie.
Being bilingual myself, and coming into this country at a young age, I believe I bring diversity and richness of life that has given me a better understanding of the process of teaching a second language.
Hi, my name is Ms. Tina. I’ve been working with the DMPS since 2012 but I have specifically been working as a special education associate since 2018. I love working and getting to know all the kiddos in the school and watching them grow.
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.
My name is Mollie Erpelding, but the students call me Miss E. I am excited to be working with you and your child this year. I started teaching at Des Moines Public Schools in 2014. I taught special education at Lovejoy Elementary for 2 years before moving into the classroom. In 2019 I moved to northern Africa and taught first grade there for 2 years. It would have been longer if it wasn’t for COVID.
I have a very sweet dog named Charles. Besides hanging out with him, my favorite thing to do outside of school is travel and learn about new cultures. I also enjoy playing board games and spending time with family and friends.
I am thrilled to be back at Lovejoy Elementary and know we are going to have a great year!
I love working at Lovejoy! I have been an instructional coach at Lovejoy since 2014. 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 Kenessa Jones, and I’m so excited to have your student in my groups. I am eager to meet you, and to partner with you on your child’s educational journey! After teaching everything from kindergarten through eighth grade, as well as supporting high school teachers, I teach intervention groups at Lovejoy Elementary and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
A few of my goals are to engage, challenge, and inspire growth in my students. I will do this by creating an environment of mutual respect and a sense of community. Our classroom is hands-on and designed to meet children where they are. I believe in challenging children when appropriate, but also providing supports needed for them to feel success.
I hold myself to the same standards that I hold my students. That is, I strive to become a skilled thinker and learner, and I believe that this process is life-long. Balance and a growth mindset are often critical to our success—both as young learners and adult professionals. With that said, I encourage my students to find the things in life that they’re passionate about, and that bring them joy. You may notice that a lot of the stories I share in the classroom revolve around traveling, music, and working on the farm, as those are the passions I’ve cultivated for myself over the years.
I look forward to getting to know you and your student during the course of the school year, and embracing opportunities for growth as well as celebrating our successes during the months ahead of us!
Please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions, comments, or concerns. I hope to work with you to create and guide learners.
Sharing in the Journey,
Hi! My name is Kendra Keller. I was raised on a farm just outside of Indianola. I enjoy camping and spending time with my husband and two year old son. I graduated from Simpson College in the winter of 2015 with endorsements in reading and special education. This will be my first year teaching at Lovejoy, but my seventh year teaching in total. My first four years of teaching were spent as a 2nd grade teacher, followed by two years as an interventionist. This year I have been blessed with an interventionist position here at Lovejoy! I absolutely love teaching! It is my mission to instill a love for learning in students. I attempt to teach with a passion for subjects at hand so that students develop a desire to become life-long learners. I am so excited to work with you and your child. It’s going to be a year full of fun, learning, and lots of adventures!
Hello! My name is Maxwell Keller, and I am the school psychologist for Lovejoy Elementary. I was born and raised in Indianola, Iowa and feel that central Iowa has always and will always be my home. I attended Wartburg College for my B.A. in Psychology and earned my M.S. in School Psychology from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2020. This is my first year with Des Moines Public Schools, and I am excited to have recently moved back home to support students and educators here. Outside of work, I live in Des Moines with my spouse and cat, and I enjoy baking desserts, movie nights, and waiting for the college football season.
I have been with the Des Moines Public Schools since 2007. I have worked at both Wright Lovejoy as a K-2 classroom teacher, instructional coach, and interventionist. 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 dogs Murphy and Milo, traveling, reading, watching movies, and shopping.
Hi, my name is Vanessa Lein and I am the library assoicate 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!
I am the ALP (Advanced Learning Program) Consultant for Lovejoy Elementary. I grew up in this great city of Des Moines and graduated from Roosevelt High School here in DMPS. St. Olaf College is where I spent my college years and received my teaching degree and a degree in Psychology. After college, I moved back to Des Moines and got my first teaching job in Waukee where I taught third grade, fifth grade, and was an ELP (Extended Learning Program) teacher for 13 years.
I began teaching in 2017 at DMPS- all within the Advanced Learning Program. I serve Morris, Lovejoy and Park Ave. I love my job! Being able to support both students and teachers provides an opportunity for me to build wonderful relationships throughout the years and meet the needs of all of my students.
I live in Des Moines with my husband, two daughters- Lily and Elizabeth, and our dog, Goose. My girls also attend DMPS schools. We love to be outside, play games, cheer on the Cyclones and spend time with friends and family! I am looking forward to a wonderful 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 2 children. 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.
Theresa Murphy Schamel
I started at Lovejoy fall of 2021 as a Para Associate.
Before coming to Lovejoy I worked in the health insurance industry for over 30 years.
I graduated from Lincoln High School and attended DMACC and Grandview for a few courses.
Outside of school my favorite thing to do is to hang out with my 10 grandchildren. I have 5 amazing children, 4 sons and 1 daughter. I have two very lovable daughter in laws.
Sewing is my favorite hobby.
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 33 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
Hi my name is April Stamper. I have worked at Lovejoy since 2017. First with the after school program and currently as a Special Education Associate. I love working with the kiddos at Lovejoy. Seeing their happy faces when they learn something new or getting that high five when they finally figure out a tough problem is the best. And their smiles melt my heart. Three is my lucky number. My husband and I have three children, three grandchildren and three dogs. I love to go fishing, walking, hanging out with my family and eating. Halloween is my favorite holiday.