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 and her husband, Irakli, have four children, three whom all attend Purple Bloom School and one who is employed at 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.

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.

 

Jenny Smalley
Lead Teacher Educational Mentor
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!”
 
 
 
 
 
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!"

Anahi Paredes
Lead Teacher #5

“Hello, my name is Anahi Paredes. I am from Iowa City. I currently go to Kirkwood Community College for Early Childhood Education and I plan on transferring to Iowa State to finish my degree. I have worked at a daycare before for about 2 years and I love working with kids they make me smile and I love seeing them develop! “

Rachel Plews
Lead Teacher #2 Pre-K

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 #1

"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!" 

 
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.”

Amie 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”.

Sarah Baldawi
Classroom Assistant
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.

Maeve Cooney
Classroom Assistant
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!"

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!"

Lexi Hackman
Classroom Assistant

"Hello, my name is Lexi Hackman and I am a Classroom Assistant at Purple Bloom School.  I live in Coralville and attend High School at Clear Creek Amana where I will be a Junior this coming fall.  I enjoy being around children and feel that I bring a kind and helpful approach when working with kids.  I am respectful with a positive attitude and am always willing to help.  My hobbies include playing basketball at CCA HS along with club basketball at Iowa Prep.  Additionally, I enjoy hanging out with family and friends."

Lana Hall
Food Prep
Yahaira Hernandez
Classroom Assistant

 “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!”

Cailey Hiam
Classroom Assistant
“Hi Families! My name is Cailey Hiam and I am currently a Junior at the University of Iowa. I am studying Elementary Education and
getting a Reading endorsement. I am involved on campus in Dance Marathon, my sorority, Delta Gamma, and Salt Co. I have leadership positions as a committee member in Dance Marathon and as a Vice President of my sorority, Delta Gamma. My biggest goal as a teacher is to make each and every one of my students feel seen, known, and loved, and to give them the confidence to be the best students and people possible. I am so excited for my future in teaching, and I can’t wait to work with your children!”
Emma Hickey
Classroom Assistant
“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.”
Amber Janssen
Classroom Assistant

"My name is amber Janssen!   I have a 9 year old daughter ,she’s my world  we enjoy being outside and finding new adventures ! Love cooking and baking ! As well as drawing and crafts in spare time!  I’m from Tiffin Iowa  ! my favorite color is orange!"

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!"

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!"

Mariah McKenna
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!"

Lexi Neal
Classroom Assistant

“Hello! My name is Lexi Neal and I’m so excited to be working at Purple Bloom! I am currently a senior at the University of Iowa studying Speech-Language Pathology. I have a passion for working with kids and having a positive impact on their lives! I look forward to meeting 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!"

Rachel Porter-Adams
Interim Lead Teacher #6
Kennedy Schmidgall
Classroom Assistant

Hi! My name is Kennedy Schmidgall. My hometown is Morton, Illinois, a small town outside of Peoria, Illinois. I am currently a student at the University of Iowa majoring in Therapeutic Recreation and Child Life. A few of my favorite things to do are spending time with family/friends, being outside, doing crafts and shopping. I consider myself to be very outgoing, respectful, and caring. I look forward to meeting all of you! 

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, I’m Piper Schoon! I’m currently a senior at Liberty High and I’m planning to attend Kirkwood next year for Early Childhood Education. I have already taken a few classes in this area and am super excited to learn and experience more. I love to do art in my free time. I’m so excited to be working here!

Stephanie Simpson
Associate Teacher #8
Isabella Tiu
Classroom Assistant

"My name is Isabella Tiu, I am a junior at the University of Iowa studying speech and hearing science to be a pediatric speech pathologist. I am from Grayslake Illinois."

Brittany Ullrich
Classroom Assistant

"Hello! My name is Brittany Ullrich, a new classroom assistant at Purple Bloom School. I am so excited to have this opportunity and get involved in this amazing community full of learners. A little bit about myself: I am a senior at the University of Iowa getting my B.A. in elementary education. I am from Northbrook, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and hope to move back to the suburbs and get an elementary teaching job in the near future. I am a part time nanny, gymnastics coach, and have spent time in numerous local elementary schools working towards my degree. I love to travel, shop and spend time with friends and family. I am also a big foodie and love trying out new local restaurants. My favorite trip I have taken would have to be to Italy with my family a few summers ago. I am really looking forward to this experience here at Purple Bloom, and already have enjoyed the time I have spent here. I am looking forward to the growth and exploration that comes along with this opportunity, and the chance to make a positive impact in this community."

Megan Uden
Classroom Assistant

"Hi everyone! My name is Megan Uden and I just graduated from Liberty High School. I was involved in many activities such as volleyball, basketball, tennis, band, choir, show choir, and National Honor Society. I will be attending the University of Iowa in the fall and majoring in music education/performance and/or business. I’m planning to join the Hawkeye Marching Band and pep band! I love working and playing with kids and I am very excited to work at Purple Bloom School! I can’t wait to meet all of you!"

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!
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! "

Saba Khamees
Sydney Ross
Classroom Assistant
Amanda Miller
Classroom Assistant

Click on each staff photo to see their mask photo!