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
DHS On Site Supervisor

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 #11

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.

 

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!"

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.

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. 

Erin McCray
Lead Teacher #8

"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!"

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!"

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!”
 
 
 
 
 
Maddie Soldwisch
Lead Teacher
"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!
Curtis Sanders
After School Program Lead

"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!" 

 
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.”
Elsy Solis
Associate Teacher

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

Claire Maifield
Camp Counselor

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!

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.”

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.

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!"

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!"
 
 
 
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! 

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!

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!"

Kelsey Rhinehart
Classroom Assistant
Rachel Porter-Adams
Classroom Assistant
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.

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! "

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.

Iman Albaldawi
Classroom Assistant
Indya Hodges
Classroom Assistant
Esraa Abdelhrman
Classroom Assistant
Jolene Erlbacher
Classroom Assistant
Leah McGrane
Classroom Assistant

"I am new to Iowa, I just moved to live closer to my family! I grew up in Maryland, but have lived in two other states during my life. I graduated high school with the class of 2022!"

Teagan Kruse
Classroom Assistant

"I grew up in a Fort Madison, IA and later transferred to a small town called Danville, IA. I have plenty of experience with children throughout my whole life as I have a younger brother. I recently graduated with an associates degree from SCC and will transfer to Kirkwood to join there diagnostic imaging program. I enjoy working with kids and being with friends and family. I can’t wait to start gaining new friends at Purple Bloom and helping kiddos!"

Madelaine Altenhofen
Classroom Assistant
Caitlyn Coselman
Classroom Assistant

"I grew up in Davenport but moved back to my hometown (Cedar Rapids) 6 years ago. I have been babysitting since 2014 and take care of my family members too. I am on a break from school but hoping to start up again soon to become a teacher. In my free time I like to hangout with my boyfriend, hike, and paint."

Click on each staff photo to see their mask photo!