Katie Tsilosani
School Director

Ms. Katie is the Owner, Director, and Lead Teacher at Purple Bloom School. Before Purple Bloom School emerged, Ms. Katie owned and operated her in-home child care including Purple Bloom Preschool for 14 years. She spent that time studying the philosophies of Play Counts®, Heather Shumaker, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, Handwriting Without Tears®, Get Set for School®, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Reggio Emelia, Magda Gerber, Janet Lansbury, Rudolf Steiner Waldorf Method, and Dr. Maria Montessori   At 17 years old, Katie received the KCRG TV9 “A+ for Education” for creating an immersion program for the special education students in her high school.   Ms. Katie is a trained and certified Suzuki violin and viola instructor. She owned and operated Stringworks School of Music for 10 years and taught violin at the University of Northern Iowa Suzuki Music School.   She earned her associates degree from Kirkwood Community College and has since continued her education at the University of Northern Iowa and University of Iowa.   Ms. Katie served as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the North LIberty Food Pantry in 2020. 

Ms. Katie and her husband, Irakli, have four children, three whom attend Purple Bloom School.

 

 

 

Kelley Adkins
Assistant Director

Ms. Kelley is the Assistant Director and Lead Teacher of room 6 AT Purple Bloom.  She initiated and oversees the upbringing of monarch butterflies with our students. She owned and operated her in-home childcare for four years. Ms. Kelley has experience working in the Iowa City School District as a one on one paraprofessional and a behavioral interventionist. She earned her AA degree and is certified in all early childhood education required training. She and her husband, Malik, have two daughters, two beagles, a guinea pig, and a chinchilla!   Both of their daughters attend Purple Bloom.  Ms. Kelley continues her education by attending various workshops and conferences related to early childhood education. Her favorite part of the school day is watching the kids use their imagination to create something amazing from a pile of “stuff”. 

 

 

Lisa Montz
Marketing Director

Lisa grew up in Marion, Iowa with her older sister and Purple Bloom School Director, Katie Tsilosani.    She graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in Liberal Arts.  Before joining Purple Bloom, she worked at Kirkwood Community College with marketing and high school outreach.    Lisa and her husband Noel have one son, Morgan.    She really enjoys working at Purple Bloom because of the supportive community Purple Bloom has become! 

Breanna Davis
On Site Supervisor/After School Program

Ms. Breanna Davis has her associate degree in Early Childhood Education, She has previous experience working in early childhood education before joining the team at Purple Bloom School including working at another center and nannying. She grew up in Wellman, IA. Ms. Breanna has Tourette’s syndrome and is dedicated to educating others on what it means to have Tourette’s syndrome. She truly enjoys working at Purple Bloom School because of family feel and that children are most important above all else, and staff are treated great.

Jenny Smalley
Lead Teacher Pre-K #9
Hello! My name is Jenny Smalley and I am so excited to join the Purple Bloom Community! I studied Early Childhood education at Kirkwood Community College, followed by nannying some awesome kiddos, teaching 2 and 3 year olds in a center and then eventually leading my own in-home childcare. I have also been a ‘stay at home mom’ for the past few years to my three sweet little boys, RJ, Jude, and Silas. I have such a passion for watching children grow and learn through play and curiosity. I feel very strongly about guiding children positively as they navigate through their environment, emotions and relationships. Thank you for allowing me to be apart of your child’s experience here at Purple Bloom! I look forward to getting to know each and everyone of their unique personalities. What a gift that is!”
 
 
 
 
 
Jen Wright
Kindergarten Teacher #9

Ms. Jen Wright has her degree in Elementary Education from Western Illinois University, with endorsements in Language Arts, Math, Science and Gifted Education.   Before joining Purple Bloom School, Ms. Jen was an elementary teacher at Prairie Green, 3/4th grade teacher at Lone Tree Schools, and served as the Extended Learning Program Coordinator for Lone Tree and Prairie City-Monroe Schools.  She enjoys working at Purple Bloom School because of the multi-age environment and approach in nurturing the whole child.   When Ms. Jen is not teaching, she can be found camping, playing sand volleyball, reading, or playing guitar.

 

Esme Anguiano
Lead Teacher #4

"I grew up in Montgomery IL and recently graduated from Aurora University in IL with my bachelor’s. I majored in psychology with a minor in criminal justice. On my free time I love to spend it outdoors or with family. I have 15 cousins and often babysit the little ones. I love working with children and being able to play a role in their learning and development."

Peyton Bennett
Interim Lead Teacher #3

"Hi! My name is Peyton Bennett.  My hometown is Peosta, Iowa, a small town outside of Dubuque, Iowa and I'm a high school grad from Western Dubuque High School. I am currently finishing up my last year at Kirkwood Community College majoring in their Interior Design Program. A few of my favorite things to do are to spend time with my boyfriend, family and friends. I have been babysitting since the age 11 and have experience with all ages! I consider myself a very outgoing, welcoming, and loving girl and look forward to meeting you all!"

Yahaira Hernandez
Lead Teacher #5

 “Hello my name is Yahaira! (ya-Hi-ruh)I just started at Purple Bloom and I am looking forward to meeting all the families and getting to know you all!”

Saba Khamees
Lead Teacher #6

Ms. Saba has been with Purple Bloom School for 3 years. 

Rachel Plews
Lead Teacher Pre-K Classroom #10

Ms. Rachel Plews graduated from the University of South Dakota with a B.S. in Sociology. She is currently certified in all early childhood education required training. She has additional training in social emotional teaching strategies and child led play strategies. Before joining Purple Bloom, Rachel owned and operated her own in-home "tot school". She developed and taught curriculum focused on play-with-a-purpose for children aged 2 and 3 years. She especially loves working with this age group because everything is a new adventure for them! 

Rachel and her husband, Kai, live in Iowa City with their five children: Dex age 9, Veda age 8, Gus age 5, and twin 2 year olds Leo and Asa, and their cat, Spyder.   Ms. Rachel’s children attend Purple Bloom School.

 

 

Jess Prusak
Lead Teacher #7

"Hi, my name is Jess Prusak and I am a sophomore studying Elementary Education at the University of Iowa. I have lots of experience working with kiddos at daycare centers and nannying! Along with studying at the university, I am apart of an organization on campus called A Moment of Magic, where we volunteer at local hospitals and bring some joy to pediatric patients. I can’t wait to meet you all and I am super excited to start working at Purple Bloom School!"

Curtis Sanders
Lead Teacher #11

"Hello Everyone! My name is Curtis Sanders and I'm a recent University of Iowa graduate with a degree in psychology/child life. Over the years, and with the help of my studies, Young Life and Tanager Place, I've gained a passion for helping children explore the world and themselves creatively through the power of education. I'm very excited to join the Purple Bloom School Family as a classroom assistant and I look forward to getting to know you all! If you see me around, feel free to talk to me about all things Chicago, music, and/or sports!" 

 
Erin McCray
Lead Teacher in Training

"I am from a small, pass-through town in Illinois and originally went to college in Dubuque, IA where I majored in Business and minored in Spanish. From there, I moved to Iowa City where I continued my education by getting a masters degree in marketing. Throughout this education, I participated in multiple teaching opportunities at a spanish-immersion kindergarten, a school in Ecuador, and lots of tutoring. This is where I fell in love with young education. After a few years of working retail in the business world, I’ve decided to step back and pursue a new degree in education. In my free time I love to read, paint, and work photography!"

Makayla Barr
Infant Lead Teacher

Hi! My name is Makayla and I grew up in the Iowa City area. I enjoy hiking and being outside along with crafting. I have experience working with all ages and am so excited to start here at Purple Bloom.

Lisbeth Alcaraz
Associate Teacher

Ms. Lisbeth has been with Purple Bloom School for 2 years. 

Onyx Angus
Associate Teacher Bridge Year

Mx. Amie graduated with a BA in psychology and a minor in sociology.   Before working at Purple Bloom, they worked in early childhood education, residential care specializing in women with disabilities and traumatic brain injuries.   Mx. Amie really enjoys working with children and came back to early childhood education. They really enjoying working at Purple Bloom because of the family feel, friendly teachers, and parents that are so kind and sweet. Mx. Amie lives with their wife Jen, 4 kids and my sweet Zola Grace puppy. My kids are Jerod “JJ” who is 10, Kiara who is 8, Gerron “GG” who is 4 and by June Bug who is 10 months. They are gender non-conforming, which means they do not identify as male or female but rather somewhere in the middle and use “them” “their” and “they” pronouns. Mx. Amie enjoys educating people on gender and is a self-described “total goofball”.

Emma Hickey
Associate Teacher Pre-K
“Hello my name is Emma Hickey and I am a recent high school graduate thinking of getting a degree in Early Childhood Education. I’ve worked with children throughout high school and have helped raise my younger siblings. I enjoy spending time with friends & family, especially my newborn son, August! I’m super excited to be part of the Purple Bloom staff and cannot wait to get to know everyone.”
Marwa Abaker
Classroom Assistant

“My name is Marwa, I am from Sudan. In Sudan, I taught Early Childhood Education. I am married and have 2 kids, the oldest boy is 7 Ekleil and Izdihar is one years old. My husband’s name is Abdelmajed and in Sudan he taught English and worked in Human Resources. I am currently studying ESL English. I enjoy working at Purple Bloom and enjoy the people here.”

Emma Brown
Classroom Assistant

Ms. Emma is 3rd year student at the University of Iowa and is currently studying Secondary Foreign Language Education and Spanish. She is also studying to be certified to teach K-12 English language. Ms. Emma has previous experience working in early childhood education and before/after school programming. Her parents live in Des Moines, her sister is working Minneapolis, and she has a pet parakeet named Lago. She is in the University is Iowa marching band and is a huge Hawkeye fan. Ms. Emma really enjoys working with her Purple Bloom co-workers. She finds it fulfilling to watch the students at Purple Bloom hit their developmental milestones. She is looking forward to Purple Bloom Summer Day Camp 2020. “I can't wait to hang out with some kids and go on some fun adventures when the weather is nice! I also hope to do some fun art projects and other projects to learn from.” We are so happy to have Ms. Emma at Purple Bloom!

Britta Cavinder
Office/Classroom Assistant

Ms. Britta Cavinder majored in Special Education at Southern Illinois University. Currently enrolled in a Registered Behavior Technician course through FIT.  Before working at Purple Bloom School, Ms. Britta was a general manager at Buffalo Wild Wings among other restaurant and retail leadership roles.  Her favorite parts about working at Purple Bloom are the inclusion Purple Bloom offers, the educational philosophy, family-like feel, support, and the people including staff, parents, and children. Ms. Britta is the mom of an amazing, energetic, and happy 3.5 year old son. He attended Purple Bloom from the time he was 16 months to almost 3 years old until he made his way up the waiting list at the Quad Cities Autism Center where he is working 1-on-1 with a Registered Behavior Technician to learn to communicate. They love to play outside, do sensory activities, engage in messy play, paint, and sing!  Ms. Britta continues her education by attending relevant trainings and conferences.

Sydney Csoka
Classroom Assistant
"Hello! I am Sydney and am a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Iowa studying Therapeutic Recreation on the pre-Child Life track. I am from a small town that’s a suburb of Chicago called Cary, Illinois. I have worked with many different age groups and love working with children! At the University of Iowa, I am involved in club Lacrosse, Child Life Student Association, Therapeutic Recreation Student Association, and Dance Marathon. I am very excited to be working at Purple Bloom and to meet all the kids!"
Teanna Davila
Classroom Assistant

Ms. Teanna is currently studying Criminology, Law, and Justice. She’s not sure what she is going to do with her degree yet but is excited to be in this field. Ms. Teanna has previous experience working in Early Childhood Education.  Her favorite thing about working at Purple Bloom is being with the kids because they make her day so much better!

Lily Ellingson
Classroom Assistant

"Hi, my name is Lily! I am attending the University of Iowa. I am currently in my third year in the Elementary Education program here. I am looking forward to developing my teaching abilities here at Purple Bloom! I enjoy science, history, and being creative. Can't wait to meet everybody in the Purple Bloom family!"

Jessica Estal
Classroom Assistant

Hello, my name is Jessi. I am from Dubuque, IA. I graduated with my bachelors in psychology in 2020, and I am working towards my masters in counseling. In my free time, I like to do anything arts and crafts related - painting, knitting, photography, etc. I enjoy working at Purple Bloom because I love seeing how much the kiddos grow and learn just from one day to the next!

Haley Gajewski
Classroom Assistant

"Hi everyone! My name is Haley and I'm a student at the University of Iowa studying to be a Child Life Specialist. I am so excited about this opportunity to work at Purple Bloom!"

Lana Hall
Food Prep
Grace Kaune
Classroom Assistant
"Hi everyone! My name is Grace and I am a sophomore studying Elementary Education at the University of Iowa. I worked with kids throughout high school at a daycare center in my hometown but took a year off from working for my freshman year of college. After a year without getting to hang out with my daycare kiddos every day, I am so ready to get back in a center doing what I love! I am so excited to be joining the Purple Bloom Staff and can't wait to meet everyone!"
 
 
 
Hannah Krug
Classroom Assistant

"Hi everyone! My name is Hannah Krug and I am currently a senior at The University of Iowa. I’m studying speech and hearing science and psychology with the goal of becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist! I’m super excited for the opportunity to work at Purple Bloom, and I can’t wait to get to know you all!"

Priti K.V.
Classroom Assistant

My name is Priti Vishwakarma. I live in Coralville, Iowa with my husband and 4 years old daughter. I'm originally from India. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree and I even have a diploma in fashion designing. I like to do sewing & stitching different dresses, art & painting in my free time.  I love working at Purple Bloom School and as I love to spend time with kids! 

Erika Martin
Classroom Assistant

"Hi families! My name is Erika Martin! I was born and raised in Iowa. I am currently a student at the University of Iowa. I am majoring in Elementary Education, and getting in endorsement in Reading and Language. I have had many experiences working with students and within childcare programs. Working with children and watching them learn, play, and self-discover is such a special thing. I find it so important to give every student the emotional, mental, physical, and academic support that they need. Every student and child deserves to feel loved and supported. I am very excited to be a part of the Purple Bloom staff and to get to know the students, families, and staff members!"

Grace Martin
Classroom Assistant

My name is Grace Martin and I am a student at the University of Iowa with plans of becoming a school counselor. In my free time I love to be with my friends, family, and pets. I have about 10 years of experience working with kids as a babysitter and nanny. I am also involved with and passionate about the Safe Families for Children organization. I absolutely love working at Purple Bloom and am excited to get to know everyone!

Mariah Mckenna
Classroom Assistant
Amanda Miller
Classroom Assistant
Lexi Morales
Classroom Assistant

"Hello everyone! My name is Lexi and I am majoring in Psychology with a certificate in Resilience and Trauma-Informed Perspectives at the University of Iowa. I've spent the last few years nannying in different homes as well as being my families go-to babysitter. I just love working with children! I hope to guide, support, and protect children as they grow while never missing a chance to remind them of their worth. I wish to inspire children as much as they inspire me! I am honored to be apart of the Purple Bloom family and I can't wait to meet you all!"

Ellie Piech
Classroom Assistant

"Hi! My name is Ellie Piech and I’m a sophomore at the University of Iowa studying Elementary Education with a Reading Endorsement. I’m from Geneva, Illinois which is a western suburb of Chicago! I have always had a passion for working with children as I grew up with a large family with lots of cousins and have experience with babysitting. I am so excited to be working at Purple Bloom School because I adore being around children and working with them! Someone who is an inspiration to me is my mom, she’s a second grade teacher and I hope to one day have just as strong of a positive influence on young children as she does! I am so excited for my future and teaching and am very thankful to be here at Purple Bloom School!"

Kelsey Rhinehart
Classroom Assistant
Rachel Porter-Adams
Classroom Assistant
Sydney Ross
Classroom Assistant
Natalie Scholl
Classroom Assistant

"Hi! My name is Natalie and I am currently a student at the University of Iowa! I hope to someday become an occupational therapist. I have grown up working with kids and really hope to continue that in the future. In my free time, I enjoy being active outside, reading, and cooking! I am super excited to be at Purple Bloom and hope to help contribute to a fun learning environment!"

Piper Schoon
Classroom Assistant

Hi! My name is Piper Schoon, and I have lived in North Liberty my whole life. I am currently working towards a degree in Early Childhood Education by taking Kirkwood classes online. I love coming to work at Purple Bloom everyday because I get to see all of the kids and watch them grow. I love working with the younger kids because it’s so amazing to see them just explode with development, but I also love seeing the older children get excited about everyday life and new experiences. In my free time I like to do art, and my favorite mediums are acrylic paint and markers.

Maddie Soldwisch
Classroom Assistant
"Hi Everyone! My name is Maddie Soldwisch and I just moved to Iowa City from a small town in northern Minnesota called Park Rapids. I was born in Iowa City and lived here for 13 years before my family moved to Minnesota. I am a huge Hawkeye fan and moved back to Iowa for school. I m a freshman at the University of Iowa and majoring in Pre-Med. I am so excited to join Purple Bloom Staff and work with all the amazing kiddos! We are so happy to have Ms. Maddie join us in room #5!
Hanna Welsch
Classroom Assistant
Hi!
My name is Hanna Welsh and I am currently a sophomore at The University of Iowa! I graduated from Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids, IA. I have been babysitting since I was in 8th grade and my job back home was at a daycare! I am comfortable with all ages and love kids! In my free time I enjoy watching Netflix, hanging with friends, and thrift shopping. I'm currently undecided in my major but I plan on going into the Elementary Education major in hopes of becoming an elementary school teacher!
Gabie Vogel
Classroom Assistant

My name is Gabie Vogel, and I'm from Illinois. I'm currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work at the University of Iowa. I love seeing children grow and adapt to the world around them. I like how Purple Bloom encourages supports at every level: we need to meet children's basic and emotional needs as well as developmental and academic. In my free time, I like to write, listen to podcasts, and spend time with my cats, Thistle and Chubbs.

Kelsey Wood
Classroom Assistant

"Hi! My name is Kelsey Wood. I am from Bettendorf, IA about an hour away from here, I graduated from Pleasant Valley High School. I am now a junior at The University of Iowa, studying Psychology with a Human Relations minor. I love art, watching sports and spending time with family and friends! I have had experience with children since 14 years old, working at my first daycare at the age of 16. I am a caring and hardworking individual and I’m excited to be working here! "

Chloe Roller
Classroom Assistant

My name is Chloe Roller. I’m relatively new to work in early childhood education. I’m currently a college student taking classes to get my bachelors in education with a minor in music. I’ve studied behavior management, curriculum, child development, and psychology. I’m currently working on getting more of my general education classes out of the way. My dream is to create a classroom environment that feels safe, is creative, and incorporate music for self expression. I love children’s capacity for curiosity and learning. This world is novel and knew and one can only hope to be a good model and strong presence of empathy and compassion. I think Purple Bloom School is fantastic because they are committed to the children in their care. I look forward to seeing how it grows. In my free time I love to get creative! I play the Bassoon and sing! I paint, work on digital art, and crochet. In between work, school, and personal recreation, I like to go visit my family and friends or relax at home with my husband and cat.

Devon Borokoff
Classroom Assitant

Hello. My name is Devon. I’m originally from Las Vegas, Nevada. I’ve been in Iowa for 6 years. I’ve worked in daycares, and run children’s fitness classes. I am also a Special Education Paraeducator at a local elementary school. I studied Elementary Education and Art when in college. I love sense of wonder children possess. I’m looking forward to play based education at Purple Bloom. In my free time I enjoy hiking with my dog, kayaking, and oil painting.

Alex Freund
Classroom Assistant

Hi my name is Alex! I am from Mchenry, Illinois. I have been babysitting for over 6 years and have worked at a daycare for over 2! I am studying Health and Human Physiology at the University of Iowa. The thing that I love most about children is being able to watch them grow and to see their personalities shine through! I love Purple Bloom because everyone is so friendly. In my free time I like to hang out with friends and exercise!

Claire Maifield
Classroom Assistant

My name is Claire Maifield and I am currently a student at the University of Iowa working towards my BA in Math and MA in education. I graduated from Ames High School in 2020 and also coached figure skating for a few years prior to moving to Iowa City. I have always loved working creatively with kids and I am so grateful for this opportunity to continue doing so. I can't wait to meet all of you!

Skylar Hensen-Drumm
Classroom Assistant

Hi! I am Skylar. I grew up in Iowa, Washington state, and Japan. I am currently a student at the University of Iowa majoring in Elementary Education. I am so excited to start working and spend time with the kids.

Kiya Ma
Classroom Assistant

Hello, my name is Kiya. I am a MA student majoring in Multilingual Education in University of Iowa. I was born in Guangzhou, China, went to middle school and high school in Hong Kong, then went to college in the Mainland. In 2018, I spent one year in the U.S. as an exchange student. In 2019, I went to National University of Singapore for summer school. Then last year I came to Iowa for my master's degree. In my past experiences, most of my working time and internships were at school getting along with high school students and I am passionate in learning and exploring new fields. During my free time, I spend a lot of time reading books in English, Mandarin, and Japanese since I am definitely a culture learner. I have been watching all kinds of movies which are more than seven hundred so far, especially for documentaries. In addition, traveling and going out are my other favorite parts. No matter as a scholar or a tourist, I have been to more than five countries and so many different cities all over the world, which also inspires me to try new things and learn about people from different communities and backgrounds.

Elsy Solis
Classroom Assistant

Ms. Elsy has been with Purple Bloom School for 2.5 years. 

Iman Albaldawi
Classroom Assistant

Click on each staff photo to see their mask photo!