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! 

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.

 

 

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.

Jasmine Strader
Lead Teacher #5
“I was born and raised in North Carolina, after graduation I relocated to Jamaica, Alaska native villages and Hana HI remote communities. This allowed me to gain increased training in childcare and childhood education techniques from a variety of sources that I have continued to use. I have specialized training and experience in children with disabilities both physical and mental, with heightened areas behaviors issues and Autism. I attended college in Arizona where I received my B.S. in Healthcare Administration and I am currently pursuing a master in sociology and special education at the same school. My partner Theresa, four children and I, relocated to Iowa in May. My children are Layla 14, Jonas 12, Ana 9 and William 7. I enjoy reading, hiking, swimming and traveling. I have over 15 years of experience in working with children.” -Ms. Jasmine
 
 
 
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.

 

Jasmine Che
Lead Teacher #6

“I am about to graduate from the University of Iowa with a degree in psychology, where I have taken classes such as educational psychology and childhood psychopathology. I have spent the past few years working in the childcare environment, starting as a part time assistant and moving my way into a full time role. I strongly believe in creating a classroom that fosters kindness and cooperation! During my free time I am usually dancing, and used to teach swing dance classes! I also love hanging out with my cats- Presley and Lilo.”

Sam Diaz
Lead Teacher Classroom #3
“Hi there! My name is Samantha Diaz and I will be the new co-lead teacher for #3, the Blooming Butterflies Infant room! My husband and I have 3 children, ages 7 years, 6 years. and 18 months. We are originally from California, but in 2018 we took our journey to Iowa and we couldn’t be happier. My passion for teaching began as a mother. My 3 sons really opened my eyes to the rewarding life of working with children. I find joy in witnessing a child learn something new, knowing I was a main influence in their doing so. The impact I make in their lives makes for an even bigger and completely gratifying impact in my own life. Purple Bloom is such a wonderful place and I love being a part of such a welcoming community. I look forward to many more years here!”
 
 
Iris Grossman
Lead Teacher Classroom #8 Pre-K

Ms. Iris earned her degree from the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music at Deakin University in Australia. Before working at Purple Bloom School, Ms. Iris worked at her family’s music center, Tone New Music Center, for 15 years teaching private piano lessons for ages 3-4 years. She also taught private vocal lessons. Ms. Iris was born into an artistic family, her dad owns his own painting studio, her mom the music studio, her brother is an art and guitar teacher, and her sister sings!  Ms. Iris lives in Iowa City with her husband and enjoys spending time at home and is a “gamer girl”.   Her favorite thing about working at Purple Bloom is the peaceful atmosphere.

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!" 

 
Jenny Smalley
Lead Teacher
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!”
 
 
 
 
 
Lisbeth Alcaraz
Co-Lead Classroom #4

Ms. Lisbeth has been working with Purple Bloom for almost 2 years!

Elsy Solis
Co-Lead Classroom #4

Ms. Elsy has been working with Purple Bloom for over 2 years!

Amie Angus
Summer Camp Lead #10

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 Brown
Summer Camp Lead #9

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.

Dorotea Cundari
Classroom Assistant
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!

Lora Hesseltine
Classroom Assistant
Ms. Lora Hesseltine has a B.A. in Psychology. Before working at Purple Bloom School, she was a stay-at-home mom. She currently resides in North Liberty with her son, Ben and many pets, including Walter, Abby, Sam, Stuart, Stanley, Rosie, Jeff, Maggie, and Yuliya. Ms. Lora has recently expanded her family, when her partner and his three children moved in with them. It's a full house! Ms. Lora finds joy and happiness working with children and continues her Early Childhood Education by attending conferences and training seminars.
Sam Galvin
Classroom Assistant
"Hi, my name is Sam I am from Bettendorf, Iowa! I am currently a junior at the University of Iowa studying Therapeutic Rec on the pre-child life sub-track. I transferred to Iowa in the middle of the last school year from the University of Northern Iowa where I was also on the swim team! I have tons of experience coaching kiddos on swim team and teaching swim lessons. I can't wait to start working at purple bloom and to get to know everyone!!"
Grace Kaune
Classroom Assistant Room #3
"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!"
 
 
 
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!"

Samantha McPhee
Classroom Assistant

Hi, my name is Sam and I am currently attending the University of Iowa as a communications major. I love spending some time with the little ones and watching them grow and learn! A fun fact about me is that I have seven siblings and it’s chaos all time when we are all together! I am excited to get to know everyone.

Jess Prusak
Classroom Assistant

"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!"

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! 

Maddie Soldwisch
Classroom Assistant #5
"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!
Jenna Uden
Classroom Assistant

Ms. Jenna is a junior at Liberty High School. She is involved in volleyball, track, show choir, jazz choir, and band. In her free time Jenna enjoys spending time with family and friends and getting outside. She loves working at Purple Bloom School and it brings a smile to her face each and every day!

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!
Natalie Scholl
Classroom Assistant
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!

Kassia Scott
Substitute

Ms. Kassia is a substitute at Purple Bloom. 

Maddy Ring
Classroom Assistant

"Hello families! I am Maddy Ring and I am a classroom assistant. I am currently a senior at Liberty high and will be going to the University of Iowa next year and majoring in business and Marketing. I love working with the kiddos and making sure they feel heard, understand, respected, and there needs meet! Can’t wait to create an amazing bond with every kid at Purple Bloom!"

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!"

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.”
Madelaine Altenhofen
Classroom Assistant
Melissa Young
Classroom Assistant

“My name is Melissa and I was born and grew up in the Iowa City area. I have 4 amazing children. Ages 26,21,20 and 7. My 3 oldest kids are all college students or finished a masters program. So proud! Holden attends Purple Bloom and loves it! I worked in the Iowa City school district in special education and with behavior disorder students at the junior high level for 10 years. The last 7 years I have been a stay at home mom with Holden! Working at Purple Bloom is the perfect opportunity for me to still be close to Holden while enjoying snuggling little ones! I also teach yoga and fitness classes part time! At two local studios! Yoga is such a perfect way to balance life!”

Elli Genkinger
Classroom Assistant

Hello! My name is Elli Genkinger. I grew up babysitting and working at my mom’s in-home daycare, so I’ve been around children most of my life. I love watching kids explore the world around them and grow. I will be attending the University of Minnesota in the fall pursuing a degree in Political or Environmental science. A fun fact about me is that Ms. Katie used to nanny for my sister and I when we were kids, so I’ve known her for almost my whole life! I’m excited to connect with the kids and staff at Purple Bloom!

Emma Genkinger
Classroom Assistant
Sammi Bachrach
Classroom Assistant

"Hi families! My name is Sammi, and I am a graduate student at The University of Iowa getting my master's degree in Child Life. I received my bachelor's degree in Therapeutic Recreation with a certificate in Disability Studies. During my time at Iowa, I have volunteered with Dance Marathon, Ronald McDonald House, Special Olympics, Red Shamrock, Courage League Sports, and many other organizations that support children and families. I also work at the Stead Family Children's Hospital and have been babysitting and working in childcare since I was 12 years old. I truly believe in the power of play and cannot wait to make a difference at Purple Bloom."

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!"

JaLea Horning
Classroom Assistant

"Hi everyone! My name is JaLea Horning and I am from Marion, Iowa. I recently graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Communication Studies as well as a certificate in leadership. In my free time I love hanging out with friends and family, being outside, and watching Iowa Football. A few fun facts about me are that I grew up on a farm and I love cats! I am super excited to start at Purple Bloom and can't wait to meet everyone!"

Lana Hall
Food Prep
Rachel Porter-Adams
Classroom Assistant
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."

June Maley
Classroom Assistant
Sam Klein
Classroom Assistant

“Hi! My name is Sam Klein and I am a senior at Liberty High School. I am involved in many activities such as Difference Makers, National Honor Society, basketball, and diving as well as being a volunteer at Sensory Kids. I am originally from Phoenix, Arizona and moved to Coralville before my sophomore year. I’m so honored to be apart of the Purple Bloom family and excited to meet you all!”

Amelia Clearly
Classroom Assistant

"Hi! My name is Amelia and I’ll be a senior in high school at Liberty High School this fall. I love to read and write, and I’m heavily involved in Liberty’s journalism program. I’m also a competitive dancer at Nolte Academy and have been dancing my whole life. Other things I love include: hiking, swimming, being outside, traveling, spending time with my family and friends, and being around kids. I’m so excited to work at Purple Bloom!”

Maeve Cooney
Classroom Assistant
Haley Whitesel
Elementary Classroom Assistant

Click on each staff photo to see their mask photo!