My name is Mary Abbott and I have been a Special Education Teacher for the DMPS for 25 years. I worked at Harding Middle School for 9 years in a 6th-8th grade self-contained classroom. I worked at Adams Elementary for 3 years before joining the Garton staff in the fall of 2007. I currently teach 3rd – 5th grade special education students in the areas of Reading, Math, Writing and Social Skills.
I have 2 children of my own. My son, Andrew, just graduated from Ankeny Centennial High School the spring of 2019. He was on the swim team at Centennial. He is currently working in the meat department at HyVee. My daughter, Rachel, is a sophomore at Centennial High School. She has participated in volleyball, show choir and gold. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my children and my friends. I enjoy watching sports especially Iowa State Cyclones football and basketball. My favorite NFL team is the Dallas Cowboys. In the summer I enjoy going to the pool and playing sand volleyball. I also enjoy exercising at my gym, Elite Edge
I am happy to teach kindergarten at Garton!! I am entering my 32nd year of teaching. This will be my 21st year teaching in the DMPS, all of which have been at Garton!! I am originally from Grinnell, IA. I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a BA in Elementary Education, an endorsement in Reading and an emphasis in reading and language arts.
When I am not at school, I enjoy spending time with my family. My husband and I have two adult children. My hobbies include reading, cooking and crafting. My husband and I enjoy supporting the Kansas City Chiefs and traveling to tropical locations.
I am looking forward to another terrific year of learning with the kindergarteners!!!
Hello! This will be my 7th year at Garton Elementary and my 2nd year teaching 4th grade. I also taught as a reading intervention teacher for five years. One of my greatest joys as a teacher is watching my students gain the skills to become lifelong learners!
I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in elementary and middle school education. I have endorsements in Reading and Social Studies.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and travelling.
Hello, my name is Carrie Burk and I am currently a 5th grade teacher at Garton Elementary. This is my third year teaching fifth grade, although I have been at Garton as an interventionist and long-term substitute teacher for five years. In 2014, I graduated from Grand View University with my Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education and endorsements in Reading and English/Language Arts.
When I am not at school, I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my son, Alex, watching movies and relaxing. I also enjoy being active by playing intramural volleyball with friends and running outside (when our Iowa temperatures allow). During football and basketball season, I love cheering on the Iowa State Cyclones.
I love being part of the Garton family and I cannot wait to see how much our students grow this year and in the years to come.
Hello!! My name is Caitlin Calaro and I graduated from Grand View University in 2017. This is my 3rd year teaching 4th grade.
As a child I attended DMPS. I graduated from Roosevelt High School. I played varsity soccer at Grand View for 4 years and I currently am the assistant varsity coach at East High School. In my free time I enjoy playing soccer, reading books and playing with my cat, Nucky.
I am excited for another amazing year at Garton Elementary!!!
Hello!!! My name is Emily Cochran and I am going on my 13th year of teaching. This will be my 7th year teaching kindergarten at Garton Elementary and I love it. I love my team, our students their families and the staff I work with.
I was born in Kansas, moved to California in grade school. I went to San Francisco State University. I taught in Redwood City for 6 years, met my husband and we decided to move ack to his home state. I love Iowa and am so happy we made the move. The State Fair is my FAVORITE! When I am not at school you will find me spending time with my husband, my son, Benjamin (4 in September) and daughter, Mackenzie (1 in April). We also love spending time with family and friends and being outdoors.
I am looking forward to a great year or learning with you and your child.
Hi there! My name is Sarah Dace and I am so excited to be teaching fourth grade! I grew up on the south side of Des Moines and attended DMPS schools.
In December 2020, I graduated from Grand View University with my Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education and endorsements in Reading and English Language Arts.
When I am not teaching I enjoy spending time with my family, watching movies, or playing with my dogs, Leonard and Lucy and cat, Stella!
I am currently the K-2 LC teacher at Garton Elementary. I have been teaching for 15 years in the Special Education Department for DMPS. I also taught for 4 and a half years in Houston, TX. I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa.
I live in Windsor Heights with my husband, three children and dog. I love reading, going to the movies, and spending time with family and friends. Teaching is my passions and I love every minute of it! Every year, I learn something new from my students.
My name is Brent Davis and I am one of the vocal music instructors at Garton School. I received my degree from the University of Iowa. I have taught music at Garton for 27 years!
When not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my wife, three children and two dogs.
Hello!! My name is Deb Dean and this is my 26th year at Garton. I am excited to teacher first grade again this year. I graduated from the University of Iowa for my undergrad and Iowa State University for my graduate work.
When I am not in the classroom, I enjoy spending time cooking and exercising. I have 3 children ages 20-24 who have kept me very busy!! It’s going to be a year full of fun!!!
My name is Kelli Folkerts. I teach 3rd grade at Garton Elementary School. This is my 25th year at Garton! I graduated from Iowa State University in 1993 and then got my masters degree from Drake University in 1998.
I have two daughters, Abby and Grace. They both attended Garton, too! Abby is a sophomore at Iowa State University. Grace is in 6th grade at Goodrell Middle School. My husband, Randy, is a 7-12 guidance counselor at Martensdale St. Marys Schools. In my free time, I enjoy attending Iowa State football games, watching Iowa State basketball, and following the Dallas Cowboys! I love teaching at Garton.
I have the best teaching team and enjoy working with the students!
Hello!!! My name is Brooke Fry. I am currently teaching 5th Grade here at Garton Elementary. Previously, I spent 15 years teaching 5th Grade at King Elementary. I am a graduate of Iowa State University and just completed my ELL endorsement at Grand View University. I will be earning my Master’s Degree in Culturally Responsive Leadership next.
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my two children, going to performances at the Civic Center and Des Moines Playhouse and cheering on the Cyclones.
My name is Jessica Gordon and I am a Special Education teacher at Garton Elementary. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Women Studies with a Minor in Sociology from the University of Iowa. I received my Masters of Science in Special Education from the University of Oregon, specializing in working with students with Autism. I earned my teaching license at the University of Oregon as well and am licensed to teacher Pre-K through 8th grade.
I lived in the beautiful state of Oregon for 6 years going to school and teaching. I found my love of hiking there as well as adopted my “first born”, my dog, Bear Dogg who is giant wolfy fluff ball. I am from Iowa and so is my fiancé Dan. We have 2 children, Judah who is 5 and in 1st grade at Cowles Elementary and Wren who is 10 months old. We also have 1 cat who is 21 this year, Twiggy.
Outside of school, I love to be outside! I enjoy hiking, camping, yoga, running, crafting, and hanging out with my friends and family!
I love working with students at Garton and am looking forward to an awesome school year!!
Hello, my name is Jaime Griffin and I am a 5th grade teacher at Garton Elementary. This will be my first year teaching for the Des Moines Public School District. I am entering my 14th year of teaching in which 11 years were in the Saydel district teaching 4th grade for 6 years, and 5th grade for 5 years. Prior to that I taught 5th grade for 2 years in Max, ND. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree and Reading Endorsement from Minot State University in Minot, ND in 2004 and I earned my Master’s Degree in K-12 Curriculum and Instruction from Capella University in 2013. In addition to being a classroom teacher I was also an Instructional Coach/Teacher Mentor for 7 years in the Saydel District.
When I am not in school you will find me watching Netflix, reading, taking lots of walks outside, playing with my 2 cats Binkers and Milo, and this fall I will be heading to ISU often to see my son Ethan perform with their marching band.
I love teaching and learning and I know this is going to be a fantastic year!
Hello Garton Elementary! My name is Shelbie Haidsiak and I will be teaching 4th grade this year! This is my second year teaching and I couldn’t be more excited to be doing it at Garton!
I graduated from Iowa State University with my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and endorsements in Reading, Math, and English Language Arts. Go Cyclones!
When I am not teaching I enjoy spending time with my family, watching Disney movies, and playing with my two German Shepherds Bandit and Shadow.
Hello, My name is Mrs. Hansen. I have taught 4th-6th grade and now I am an interventionists! As an interventionists I teach reading, math and social skills.
I love my job as a teacher but I also love spending time with my husband and three children. We enjoy the outdoors! We love to go on walks, go to the park, go swimming and riding bikes.
Hi there!! My name is Meredith Hegwein and I am one of the instructional coaches at Garton. This is my 13th year at Garton. I graduated from the University of Iowa (Go Hawkeyes!) with my bachelor’s degree in 2006 and received my master’s degree from Drake University in 2017.
I live in Des Moines with my husband and two children, Lily and Phillip and our golden retriever, Hannah. When I’m not at school I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, baking and working out.
I’m looking forward to a fantastic year at Garton Elementay!!! Go Wildcats!!!
My name is Ann Jensen, and I will have a few different “hats” helping out at Garton. I graduated from Buena Vista College in Elementary and Special Education and got my master’s from the University of Minnesota. I began teaching special ed at Moulton Elementary and then taught and consulted in special education in Minnesota for several years. I took some years off to be home with my kids and came back to DMPS is early childhood special education at Mitchell. Can’t wait to meet everyone at Garton!
I have a daughter, Izzy, at UNI studying speech pathology and a son Zach, a freshman at Waukee. In my spare time I love gardening, cooking, kayaking, and camping. I LOVE to travel and in recent years have learned how much I really love a good road trip
Hello! My name is Ashley Kane and this is my 7th year teaching at Garton Elementary. I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa. A few years ago, I received my Master’s in Education from Drake University.
I live with my husband, Aaron, and our puppy, Charlie. I enjoy reading and spending time with my family and friends.
Hello!! My name is Monica Kasch and I am a proud 2nd grade teacher at Garton Elementary. I received my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education at the University of Northern Iowa. I have been teacher at Garton for over ten years.
In my free time I enjoy running, reading, watching football and spending time with my husband, Travis and daughter, Chloe.
I believe all students can learn and as a teacher it is my job to motivate all learner and challenge them to reach their full potential!!!
My name is Cara Lutessvenn, and I am a 2nd grade teacher at Garton! This is my 4th year at Garton and my 6th year in Des Moines Public! I attended Drake University for my degree in education, and I am now attending Drake to earn my master’s degree. I am originally from Minnesota, but now I live in Des Moines.
Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my husband Austin and our dog Rosie! I enjoy reading, being outside, boardgames, cooking. and being with friends and family.
I believe all students have unique strengths, energy, experiences, and knowledge. Classroom and school community are extremely important to me. Go Garton Wildcats!
My name is Rae Mackey. I just graduated with my degree in elementary education with an endorsement in special education. This is my first year teaching and I couldn’t be more excited to be starting it at Garton! I have always loved children and have been working with them in some capacity for over 10 years. My favorite part is getting to know them individually and learning what makes each child unique.
In my free time my husband and I like to play games, whether it’s cards or board games. We also enjoy hanging out with friends and getting to know new people.
It’s going to be a great year!
Hi there!! My name is Marjy Mason and I teach technology. This will be my 7th year teaching technology and my 27th year teaching. I went to school at Iowa State and I received my master’s degree from Northern Arizona University. I have taught 2nd through 6th grades in Texas, Arizona, North Dakota and Iowa. I loved using technology in my classroom and now I get to learn and explore technology with all the students.
My husband and I have two sons who are 17 and 14. We love to travel and spend time outdoors – especially watching our sons’ soccer games. We added a puppy to our family in March and he keeps us on our toes. Bodie is a Bernedoodle who loves to steal socks and go for walks.
I look forward to learning and exploring technology with you!!!
Hello! My name is Victoria Hollister and I am one of the school counselors here at Garton Elementary! This year will be my 5th year as a counselor for DMPS. I graduated from the University of Iowa in 2009 with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology. Then I received my masters in 2018 from Buena Vista University with a Masters of Science in Professional School Counseling. Being a school counselor is the BEST job in the world and I am so excited to work with your children!!
When I am not at work, I am spending time with my friends and family, exercising, binging on Netflix shows and watching Hawkeye football.
Please feel free to contact me with an questions or concerns you have throughout the year!!
I have been a teacher in DMPS since 2005. I have taught kindergarten and 1st grade over the years. I am a true eastsider!! I went to East High school and Grand View University.
When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. In my free time, you might find me listening to music, dancing or shopping!!!
Hi!! My name is Olivia Orichiella and I teach English Language Learners (ELL) at Garton Elementary. I was born in Pasadena, California, but spend most of my childhood in Geneva, Illinois. In 2017, I graduated from Drake University and was offered a teaching position at Garton Elementary School.
In my spare time, I coach a girls soccer team and spend lots of time outside with my puppy, Luis.
I am looking forward to another great school year!!!
Hello, my name is Marissa Orr and I am currently a 5th Grade teacher at Garton Elementary. I have spent most of my teaching career in 5th grade at Garton. I attended Upper Iowa University and received a Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education and endorsements in Reading and English. I am currently pursuing my masters degree at Drake University.
I enjoy being outdoors, reading books, and spending time with my family and friends. In my free time, you will find me relaxing on the couch with my husband Bryce, my step-son Drake, and our two cats Tilly and Autumn.
This is going to be a great year!
Hi, my name is Jacqueline (Jackie) Patrick. I have been an elementary school counselor with DMPS for the last 8 years. I completed my Bachelor of Science in English with an emphasis in Literature and Secondary Education at Drake University. I spent many years working as the Children’s Department Manager and Community Relations Manager at Barnes & Noble Booksellers. I then decided to go back to college to earn my Master of Science in Counseling a Drake University and have loved changing careers to work with students and families.
When I am not at school, I love to read, spend time with my family (including 4 cats!), and travel. I look forward to getting to know all of our students better each year and seeing their growth.
Throughout the school year, we will discuss topics to increase success in school and later in life through whole class lessons. Topics include: social emotional learning (SEL), peaceful problem-solving skills, personal safety, responsible decision-making, and post-secondary exploration.
As school counselors, we also help students build skills with small groups and individual meetings. I am here to support students as peaceful problem-solvers and help them through the ups and downs of growing up.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have so we can work together in supporting students.
Produced by NBC News, this toolkit will help you navigate your child’s journey from pre-kindergarten through high school.
I grew up in the Midwest and graduated from Eastern Washington University, where I studied Music and German. I teach orchestra -violin, viola, cello and bass – to 5th grade at ten different schools on the north side and near Hoover. This is my 23rd year teaching in Des Moines and I have taught at many of the elementary schools on the north, east and south sides of Des Moines as well as a couple middle schools. In my spare time I enjoy learning foreign languages, crafting, playing one of my instruments and spending time with my dogs. My favorite part of teaching is seeing the amazing transformation in students from their first lesson to our concerts in the spring!
Hello!! I have been teaching for around 14 years. I taught preschool for 2 years, 4th grade for 2 year and this is my 10th year in Kindergarten. I attended the University of Northern Iowa and earned a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Reading/Language Arts with a Reading Endorsement.
My name is Mrs. Sammons and I am 37 years old. I live in Altoona with my husband, two daughters and two cats. I was born and raised in Iowa; I am a true Iowa native.
I am excited to make this my best year yet!!!
My name is Anica Scanlan, I teach 1st grade at Garton. I grew up in a suburb of Chicago but came to Iowa to go to Iowa State University MANY years ago. 🙂 This is my 16th year of teaching!
Outside of school I am busy running my 2 sons around to all of their activities. We love going to Iowa State football games and just going on adventures together.
Hello! My name is Susan Schafer and I teach 3rd grade at Garton Elementary. I have been teaching at Garton since 1995! I graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelors degree in Elementary Education and a reading endorsement. I love teaching 3rd grade at Garton!
When I’m not at school, I enjoy spending time with my husband and 4 children.
Hello! My name is Madi Schrier! I am a first-year teacher at Garton Elementary. I am so excited to start my future in a school building as a permanent employee! After graduating from Iowa State University in the fall of 2019, COVID through off my plan. I taught private swim lessons throughout the summer, privately tutored during the fall.
I love working with students in a more individualized setting because it allows me to truly get to know the students. I am looking forward to creating a positive, caring, and engaging environment for my students to learn in. I want to be a safe and necessary space for my students to come to and learn.
Hey ya’ll Welcome to Garton Physical Education!
This will be my 7th year teaching Physed. I attended Grand View University and earned my bachelor’s degree in K-12 Physical and Health Education from Simpson College. I taught 4 years at Goodrell Middle School (2013-2017) and been teaching elementary Physed since then. During the spring, you can find me on a pitch coaching soccer at Urbandale High School, where I have been coaching since 2007.
When not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I have 4 kids and 2 dogs that keep my husband and I very busy between all the activites they’re involved in. We especially enjoy Friday nights as a family as it is always pizza and movie night at our house with popcorn and M&Ms of course.
I look forward to another great year teaching Physed at Garton Elementary!! Go Wildcats!!!
My name is Mr. Sickles I have lived in Des Moines for 50 years I went to school at Riley elementary, Hillis elementary, Franklin junior high and the graduated from Hoover. I really enjoy teaching at the same district that I attended. I have been teaching at Garton for over 20 years. I enjoy seeing a students eyes light up when their art project turns out great or when I choose their piece to be in the district art show. I also am a varsity football coach at North. Its great to see some of my former students playing football at North. In my spare time, I enjoy taking my 185 pound saint Bernard and my pit bull to the dog parks. They love to ride in my jeep with the top off.
Keep your ideas flowing and your art worK will be great.
Hi! My name is Mrs. Snyder. I graduated from Central College in Pella and Drake University here in Des Moines. I teach ELL groups and I also co-teach some reading blocks with some 1st, 2nd, and 4th grade teachers.
I’m happy to have my dream job of being a teacher. I love to watch students’ grow academically and help build their confidence. My favorite memories of elementary school are Culture Day and Dinosaur Day. I loved every subject and every specials. I live with my husband and three kids. We have two dogs, two fish and one snail. My bucket list is full of things I want to experience and places I want to visit.
My students are the SPARK to me because they are curious and creative.
Hello!! My name is Mrs. Stone and I have been teaching 2nd grade at Garton since 2015. I love all the students and staff here. I graduated from UNI with a double major in elementary and early childhood education with a special education endorsement.
When I am not teaching, I enjoy playing with my daughter and reading mystery books. I am looking forward to a great year with my students!!!
Hello!!! My name is Amber Schuster and I am a Special Education teacher at Garton Elementary. I earned a bachelor’s degree from Upper Iowa University and a master’s degree from Drake University. I primarily work in the upper unit, with students in the 3rd though 5th grade. I love working at Garton and enjoy helping students grow and gain confidence
In my spare time I like to stay active, spend time with my family and take our dogs to the dog park.
I am very excited to be an interventionist this year!! I was an interventionist at South Union prior to teaching 1st grade here at Garton. I graduated from Upper Iowa University with a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in reading. My Masters in Teaching English Learners Education Degree from American College of Education will be complete in March.
I love spending time with family which includes my husband, Mike and my two sons, Corbin and Ronan. As a family we love playing outside, going to movies and watching the Iowa Hawkeyes.
My name is Katherine Weber. I graduated from Iowa State University with a BA degree in education, specifically physical education (K-12). After being a long term substitute for 2 years, I went back to school and got my master’s in special education from Morningside College. This is my 8th year teaching in DMPS and my 7th year at Garton. At Garton, I am the 3-5 Significant Disabilities Learning Center (SLC)
I have been at Garton Elementary since 2003. I have taught 2nd and 5th grade, but spent the majority of my years teaching 3rd grade. I received my undergraduate college degree in Ancient Civilization from the University of Iowa. I worked in the field of archaeology for 3 years before returning to Iowa and obtaining my Elementary Education certification. I earned my Masters in Science in Education at Drake University in 2008.
I served for 14 years in the Iowa Army National Guard where I was a Signal Officer and instructor at the Iowa Military Academy for Officer Candidate School.
I spend most of my free time on adventures with my two kids. I enjoy reading, biking and spending time with my family. I love the challenges and joy that teaching brings to my life. There is always something new to learn each and every day.
My name is Mrs. Wheeler, and I went to Grand View University here in Des Moines.
When I am not at school I like to spend time with my family. I am married to my husband for 17 years, and we have two children, Danica, 11, and Jeremiah, 16. I also like to run half marathons on my down time.
Hello, my name is Sydnie Wohlert and this is my first year at Garton Elementary as well as my first-year teaching 5th grade. May 2021, I graduated from Iowa State University with my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and endorsements in Mathematics, Algebra, and Reading. I completed my practicums, student teaching, and substitute taught in DMPS over the last two years, and I am very excited to join the Garton Family!
When I am not in school you can find me reading or watching a movie. I also enjoy painting, spending time with my family, and hanging out with my cat Thor!
I can’t wait for this year!