Hello 3rd graders! I am SOO excited to be your teacher this year! My name is Mrs. Bell, and this will be my 7th year teaching at Lovejoy! I completed my undergraduate degree at Iowa State University and completed my Master of Education degree from Drake University! My husband’s name is Joe, and we have 2 kids, Ayda and Jalen. We also have 2 dogs! In my free time I love baking and creating things. I also love grabbing Starbucks and heading to the mall! This year you will be challenged to learn new and exciting things, but do not worry we always find time to have some fun!
Hello! My name is Devin Birdsell! After high school, I went to Grand View University where I played softball. I love softball and continue to pursue my passion as a high school softball coach at Dowling Catholic High School.
It has always been a dream of mine to teach Kindergarten. I love getting to share a joy of learning with my little humans. It is amazing to see all of the skills they can accomplish during the year. Kindergarten is a fun year with a lot of growth. This is my 3rd year teaching kindergarten.
When I am not at school, I like to hang out with my boyfriend Christian, dog Tillie, family and friends. Christian and I live in Indianola with our little morkie Tillie. We like to go for walks, swim in the pool, go to the lake, and hang out with our families! I can not wait to be your teacher this year and see the growth you make!
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 Mr. Burns. This will be my fourth year at Lovejoy Elementary. I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa, and I am currently getting my masters at Drake! Outside of school, I am always up for an adventure! I enjoy biking, hiking, and running. I also enjoy watching sports and trying new restaurants (specifically sushi restaurants)!
Hello! My name is Haley Cox-Benson and this will be my fourth year working at Lovejoy Elementary. I graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and then moved back to the Des Moines area. Outside of teaching, I enjoy reading, going on walks, and trying new things! In the classroom, I want students to gain independence and feel in charge (and excited) of their own learning. I am excited to work through any challenges with my students this year and to watch them grow not only as learners, but also as people in our community!
Hi 3rd graders! My name is Ms. Dabney and this will be my 4th year teaching at Lovejoy. I graduated from Iowa State University – Go Cyclones! When I am not at Lovejoy, I love spending time with my boyfriend Mitch and our 2 Huskies, Theo and Nova! Some of my favorite things are the color yellow, sour candy, trying new restaurants, and watching Netflix. I can’t wait to spend the next year learning and growing with you and your families!
Love Ms. Dabney
Hello, my name is Erin Davis. I have been teaching for 8 years and this is 3rd year teaching in Des Moines. I grew up in northwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with endorsements in reading and math in 2015. I have taught 2nd and 4th grade in the past and am excited to be teaching 5th grade. In the classroom I think it is crucial that students and teachers are able to work together to build a community where everyone will succeed!
Hi, my name is Kellie Fillman. I have been teaching in Des Moines since 1984. I received my undergraduate teaching degree in 1982 from Central University in Pella, Iowa. In 1999, I earned my masters in education from Viterbo University. I have been teaching fifth grade since 1984.
It is my belief that all children can learn. It is my goal to create a productive learning environment in my classroom. Creating this optimum environment begins with good classroom management. In order for a child to learn, he or she must feel safe to take risks and try new things.
I strive for each child to develop a hunger for learning. I work to present the educational material through a variety of different techniques and learning styles. Classroom instruction includes music, drama, hands on, oral instruction, video, projects, and more.
I look forward to getting to know you and your student!
I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa. I have my BA degree in elementary education with endorsements in language arts and special education. I have taught kindergarten, 7th grade science, k-12 special education and 2nd grade. I can remember always wanting to be a teacher. I found myself trying to help others all the time. I love seeing children’s smiling faces every day and seeing the growth that they make. It is so much fun to see the moments when it just “clicks” in their heads. I can’t imagine a better job.
This is my 8th year teaching, and my 3rd at Lovejoy. I graduated from Drake University in 2003 with a Journalism degree then went back to become a teacher. I received my Masters in Teaching from Drake University in 2011. After spending several years subbing in Des Moines, I started at Brubaker Elementary in 2013. In the last eight years I have taught grades 1st, 2nd, and 4th, in Des Moines and Newton. When I’m not at school I enjoy reading, running and spending time outdoors with my husband and three children. I look forward to watching my students grow into strong, caring, leaders and learners every year.
A life-long southsider, Mr. Jorgenson grew up in Des Moines attending Mitchell Elementary (now a pre-school), McCombs Middle School, and Lincoln High School. He obtained his Bachelors in Music Education from Drake University and has taught in Des Moines Public Schools since 2006. Specializing in voice and theatre, his core belief is that a high quality music education should be fun and accessible to all students. He looks forward to beginning his 9th year teaching the students of Lovejoy!
Hello, my name is Jason Karaidos. Prior to teaching at Lovejoy I spent 5 years at Meredith Middle School. I received my bachelor degree from Luther College and later obtained my Master’s degree from Graceland University. I’m a Des Moines native where I graduated from Hoover in 1999. I currently live in Des Moines with my wife and 4 children.
Hello! My name is Karen Knust. I will be teaching second grade this year at Lovejoy Elementary. I received my degree at Iowa State University. I went back to school at Upper Iowa University in 2007 to be certified in K-8 reading and as a K-8 instructional strategist I. I have also taught fourth grade, second grade and was a part -time instructional strategist with fifth graders. I have taught first grade for 13 years at Lovejoy since 2007.
I knew I wanted to become a teacher at a very early age. I have always enjoyed working and helping children. The best part is seeing the “light bulb go on” when they get it. I never get tired of that! It’s also rewarding to see your students grow through their elementary years!
Hi! My name is Kristin Lampkin! I have been teaching with Des Moines Public Schools since 2013. This is my third year teaching at Lovejoy. Before teaching Kindergarten, I taught preschool at Mitchell Preschool. I received my bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 2013 from Mount Mercy University. I also received my master’s degree in teaching from Morningside College in 2016.
When I’m not at Lovejoy I enjoy spending time with my husband, son, and two dogs. We enjoy being outside, reading books, listening to music, and watching Minnesota Vikings football. My personal motto is “lead with love and the rest will follow.” I love coming to school and I hope I can help students love it as well!
Hello! My name is Ashley Loveless. I have been teaching in Des Moines Public Schools since 2008. This is my 14th year of teaching overall and my 5th year of teaching kindergarten.
I grew up on the East coast and love the ocean. I also love iced coffee and have a really big sweet tooth! When I am not at school, I enjoy being outside, taking walks and spending time with my family. My husband and I live in Urbandale with our 2 sons and 2 big dogs.
Kindergarten is full of fun. We will learn so many great things this year. I am really looking forward to being your child’s kindergarten teacher!
Hello, my name is Megan Luna.
My name is Cari O’Connell and I teach 1st grade at Lovejoy. I graduated from The University of Northern Iowa. I have taught preschool; 2nd and first grade. When I’m not at school I love spending time with my husband, and two children. I am very excited for this school year; I love coming to school and seeing the smiles on the students faces. My favorite part of teaching is seeing the growth that each student makes every year.
My name is Mrs. Reece and this is my second year teaching at Lovejoy. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Northern Iowa and received my master’s degree from Drake University with a reading endorsement. In my free time I love to spend time with my husband and our dog, Cash. I enjoy spending time outdoors, hiking, paddle boarding, biking, swimming and traveling. In second grade we will challenge ourselves, make new friends, and have fun while learning new things!
“Hello! My name is Taylor Smith and I teach first grade here at Lovejoy Elementary. I graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in biology and speech communication. I worked at several zoos and conservation centers before realizing my heart belonged in the classroom. I received my master’s in education from Drake University while working as a substitute teacher for Des Moines Public Schools. When I’m not at school I love to spend time outside with my husband and son.
It’s very important to me to create a learning environment where students feel safe, loved, and challenged. I can’t wait to get to know and watch the first graders grow this year!”
Hi 3rd Grade! I am so excited to be your teacher this year!! My name is Mrs. Wiederin and this will be my 7th year teaching at Lovejoy. I completed my undergraduate degree at Iowa State University and my Masters of Education from Drake University! I am married and live in Waukee with my husband Keagan. In my free time I like taking long walks, kayaking, cooking yummy meals, and trying new restaurants! Some of my favorite things are cold brew coffee, pasta of ANY kind, the color yellow, and rainy stormy days. In 3rd Grade I will challenge you to make smart choices, push yourself toward your goals, and be a kind and thoughtful person in our room! I can’t wait to have some fun and learn so much with y’all!