Hi my name is Brittan Bell and this is my third year teaching at Lovejoy. I am so excited to start my new journey in 3rd grade after two great years teaching 2nd. I graduated from Iowa State University with an endorsement in language arts and a minor in technology. I am excited to find new ways to incorporate technology into our daily learning.
Let’s have a great year!!!
Hello! My name is Devin Brown! 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!
Hello! My name is Nolan Burns and this will be my second year at Lovejoy Elementary. I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 2017 with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Mathematics. I believe every student has the potential to succeed and I want to have all my students achieve their goals. Outside of teaching, I enjoy watching/playing sports, traveling, and exploring the outdoors.
Hello! My name is Haley Cox-Benson (or just Miss Benson). This will be my second 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. 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.
Hello! My name is Danae Dabney and this will be my second year working at Lovejoy Elementary. I am 23 years old and originally from Urbandale, IA. I graduated from Iowa State University in the spring of 2019 with endorsements in Reading and English Language Arts. Go Cyclones! When I am not at Lovejoy, I enjoy hanging out with friends and family, reading, watching Netflix, and traveling. My most important goal is to create a family of learners in our classroom. I am committed to creating a classroom environment where your child is a valued, trusted, and integral part of our school family. I look forward to getting to know you and your student 😊
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mendela
Hello! My name is Linda Ehrhardt! I currently teach first grade at Lovejoy Elementary. I have been teaching within the Des Moines district since 2006. I earned my degree in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa. I also have a K-8 Reading Endorsement from Upper Iowa University. I have two adult children named Jess and Josh. In my free time I like doing any kind of outdoor activities and reading books.
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.
My name is Kenessa Jones, and I’m so excited to have your student in my class. 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 am teaching first grade 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,
Mr. Jorgenson has been a music educator since 2002, having taught K-12 vocal and general music. A Des Moines native, Mr. Jorgenson holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Drake University. In addition, he holds a level 1 certification in Orff-Schulwerk. As an active local musician, Mr. Jorgenson believes that music enriches our lives and our communities and is a vital part of educating a complete child.
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 Indianola 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 first 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. Kindergarten is so much fun and I’m looking forward to teaching the kindergarteners at Lovejoy!
Hello! My name is Ashley Loveless! I have been teaching in Des Moines Public Schools since 2008. I taught 3rd grade for 9 years. This school year is my 3rd year teaching kindergarten and my 5th year teaching at Lovejoy. I live in West Des Moines with my husband and 2 sons. We also have a big and crazy yellow Labrador Retriever.
I grew up on the East coast and love the beach. I also love iced coffee and have a really big sweet tooth! When I am at home, I enjoy taking walks and spending time outside in the yard with my kids.
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.
I am a University of Iowa graduate. Go Hawks!
I hold a Bachelor of Art degree in Art with a K-12 Art Education Endorsement.
I have joyfully taught Art Education for Des Moines Public Schools my entire career.
I am honored to give back to this community, for I am a Greater South Side native! I attended Lovejoy Elementary School, Nathan Weeks Middle School and graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1994.
In art class we create, connect, present, and respond to the arts. Together the Lovejoy Cruiser artists will work as a team, encourage, and support each other in their artistic development and learning. I love inspiring our students through the creative process and appreciation of the arts.
Outside of teaching, I enjoy art, music, and reading.
I relish in time well spent with my husband and two children, my large extended family, and friends.
Hi, my name is Cari O’Connell and I teach 1st grade. I have been teaching in Des Moines Public Schools since 2001. I currently live in West Des Moines with my husband Paul and our 2 children Ethan and Morgan. 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 of teaching is seeing the growth that each student makes every year.
Hello! My name is Emily Wiederin. I teach 3rd grade here at Lovejoy Elementary. I graduated from Iowa State University in January of 2016 and started teaching in 2nd grade at Lovejoy just a few weeks after! This year will be my fourth year teaching 3rd grade.
I love teaching 3rd grade and working with the most fantastic, unique, and hardworking students. I truly feel like Lovejoy students are so special! When I’m not teaching I enjoy spending time with my friends and husband Keagan, reading, and being outside!