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/ Lead Teacher Room #6

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
Classroom Assistant/Office

Ms. Breanna Davis has her associate degree in Early Childhood Education and is in the process of earning her bachelor’s degree.  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
Bridge Year Teacher #10
“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.

 

Kai Plews
Public Elementary Classroom Teacher #1

Mr. Kai Plews is the lead teacher of Pre-K Room #1 at Purple Bloom. He graduated from the University of South Dakota with a BFA in Photography. He then attended the University of Iowa and graduated with an MA and an MFA in Photography. Mr. Kai is currently certified in all early childhood education required training. He has training in social emotional teaching strategies, child-led play strategies, curriculum development, and pedagogical practices. Before working at Purple Bloom School, Mr. Kai worked with Ms. Rachel in her in-home tot school, In the Hive Playschool. Mr. Kai has a passion for teaching and working with all age groups. One of his favorite aspects of working with preschool aged children is reading books. He is excited to bring a creative and art focused approach to Purple Bloom!

Mr. Kai and his wife, Ms. Rachel, live in Iowa City with their five children: Dex age 10, Veda age 9, Gus age 6, twin 3-year-olds Leo and Asa, and their cat Spyder. Mr. Kai and Ms. Rachel's children attend Purple Bloom School.

Sam Diaz
Co-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.

Saba Khamees
Co-Lead Teacher Classroom #7

Ms. Saba is a lead teacher in a 2-year-old classroom at Purple Bloom.  She studied ESL and is almost finished with her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education.  Before joining Purple Bloom, Ms. Saba owned and operated “Daycare by Saba”, an in-home day care, for 2 years for children aged new born to five years of age.  She and her husband, Abbas, have two children, Tabarak (8) and Hussain (6) who both attend Purple Bloom School Summer Day Camp.    Working at Purple Bloom has inspired Saba to continue her education in early childhood and she continues to attend seminars and conferences.   Her favorite part of the school day is watching the children grow and learn how to speak from a few simple words into full sentences.

 

Rachel Plews
Co-Lead Teacher Classroom #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.

 

 

Jenny Smalley
Co-Lead Teacher Classroom #7
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!”
 
 
 
 
 
Roberta Venneri
Lead Teacher Classroom #4

Ms. Roberta has her MBA + Diploma in Pedagogy. She is a Professor of Management and speaks Italian as a second language. Her favorite part of working at Purple Bloom is working with all the children. Ms. Roberta is married and has two kids, Dorotea (16) and Guido Antonio (13). She loves animals, cats in particular, and very much enjoys educating young children!

Alyssa Adrian
Classroom Assistant Bridge Year

Ms. Alyssa is currently attending the University of Iowa to study Elementary Education. She has previous experience of working with children after nannying for 3 years and working at the Regina Early Childhood Center for 2 years. Ms. Alyssa loves working at Purple Bloom because of the welcoming, respectful, and positive atmosphere

Lisbeth Alcaraz
Classroom Assistant #4
Amie Angus
Elementary Classroom Assistant

Ms. 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. Ms. 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”.

Pedro Arroyo
Elementary Classroom Assistant
"My name is Pedro Luis Arroyo Santos, I’m 24 years old and I’m from Puerto Rico. I have a bachelor's degree in Special Education for Hearing Impaired Students from the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras. I’m very interested in language acquisition and language development. I’m very excited to start this new journey being a Classroom Assistant at Purple Bloom School!
 
 
Tammy Bach
Classroom Assistant

Ms. Tammy Bach has her associate’s degree (Liberal Arts & Science) from Kirkwood Community College and has all of the pre-requisites required for their Nursing Program as well. Before working at Purple Bloom School, Ms. Tammy worked in restaurant management.   Ms. Tammy lives in North Liberty with her fiancé, 2-year-old daughter, 10-year-old son, and their English bulldog, Bella.  Her favorite thing about working at Purple Bloom School is that it feels just like a family. Ms. Tammy studied martial arts, the violin, and loves music and cooking. She continues her Early Childhood Education by attending conferences and training seminars.

Peyton Bennett
Classroom Assistant
"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!"
Max Bohlin
Classroom Assistant

Hi My name is Mr. Max and I am a classroom assistant here at Purple Bloom School and I am originally from Virginia. I am attending Kirkwood Community College for Early Childhood Education. I plan to become an elementary school teacher in the future. I enjoy playing board games and spending time with my cat.

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.

Dorotea Cundari
Volunteer
Claude Clark
Volunteer
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!

Branae Echt
Classroom Assistant
Ms. Branae went to cosmetology school in Florida. In Iowa throughout her cosmetics career, she has taken continuing education focusing on management and product knowledge through the Aveda Institute. Before working at Purple Bloom School, Ms. Branae worked in a green house.   She enjoys working at Purple Bloom School because of the connections she gets to make and the feeling of community. She is by nature an introvert and Purple Bloom has helped her build relationships with so many people. Ms. Branae has a strong love for children and enjoys helping them grow! She recently married her Wife Sydney. Together their small family consists of their daughter, Madeline, and their bearded dragon, Sen. Ms. Branae was born and raised in Southern California. She enjoys collecting houseplants, reading and nature! Ms. Branane has continued to develop her knowledge of early childhood education through trainings, conferences, and workshops.
 
Ally Fein
Classroom Assistant

“Hi families! My name is Ally Fein and I am so excited to be working with your adorable children. I am a sophomore at the University of Iowa studying social work. I have a huge passion for helping others and making an impact on the lives of children. I’m looking forward to this school year with you all! Wishing everyone the best, stay healthy 🙂

Emma Genkinger
Classroom Assistant
Jennifer Gerrard
Classroom Assistant

Ms. Jennifer Gerard is currently studying to earn her degree in business and is exploring the idea of getting my degree in child psychology.  Before joining Purple Bloom School, Ms. Jennifer was an assistant dance teacher and early childhood teacher.  She grew up with two older brothers and her loving parents.  She now has 5 nieces and nephews!  Her favorite quote is, 'A person's a person, no matter how small.', by Dr. Seuss.  She believes firmly in letting a kid be a kid, and that is through play-based learning. “Children figuring things and problems out themselves will lead them to becoming the person the future will see, and having kids that Purple Bloom School is teaching their students, I know that the future will be filled with bright young minds, with caring hearts.”   Ms. Jennifer continues her early childhood knowledge though attending trainings and conferences.

Jessica Goble
Elementary Classroom Assistant
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!!"
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.
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!”
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!"
 
 
 
Bri Keys
Classroom Assistant
“Hi, my name is Brianna Keys. I was born in Chicago, Illinois but moved to Ottumwa, Iowa when I was 10 years old. I am studying Early Childhood Education at Indian Hills Community College working towards my Associates. My mom has been doing in-home care for around 6 years and that is where most of my experience comes from. I also volunteered at the preschool across from my high school my junior and senior year. I have 6 sisters and I love watching true crime movies/shows.”
 
 
Jessica Lopez
Classroom Assistant
Mimi Madhusudan
Classroom Assistant #7
"Hi Everyone, I am Mimi and I've worked with kids for the last two years. I am originally from India and have been living in Iowa for a decade. I love music and nature. I love to cook for my family and friends. I like to work around children and feel they are the best stress busters! I am very happy to be part of the Purple Bloom Family! - Ms. Mimi
 
 
Abbie Moore
Classroom Assistant

Abbie grew up in Iowa City and has one semester left at the University of Iowa before completing her Industrial Engineering degree. After school she is joining the Air Force and attending pilot training. Abbie is currently pursuing her 200 hour yoga teacher training along with a trauma informed yoga teacher training course. She values continued education and emotional intelligence above all else. Abbie has worked in child care as a helper at an in-home day care, a full time babysitter, and she actively tutors mathematics in the local area. Abbie is very excited to be part of the Purple Bloom School team where intentional living is at the forefront!

Billie Mottet
Classroom Assistant

Ms. Billie is currently studying Education at the University of Iowa. She is originally from Urbandale, IA and has three sisters. Ms. Billie’s favorite part of working at Purple Bloom School is building relationships with children and watching them grow every day.  

Daphne Nelson
Classroom Asssitant Classroom #2
Curtis Sanders
Classroom Assistant

"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!" 

 
Kassia Scott
Substitute
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!
Elsy Solis
Classroom Assistant #4
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!"

Jasmine VanDusen
Classroom Assistant

“Hello everyone ! My name is Jasmine. I am a freshman at Kirkwood Community College and am studying Computer Programming. I have one child and he is 6 months old. I have previously worked in early childhood care. I’ve always enjoyed working with kids and can’t wait to get back to it! I am excited to be joining the Purple Bloom staff.”

Laurie Moore
Classroom Assistant
Erika Martin
Classroom Assistant