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We love Mount Olive Lutheran School because of its Christ centered education and small community feel!

The teachers and staff have helped them thrive as unique individuals academically and spiritually.

Mount Olive prepared me academically and socially for the transition from grade school to high school, college, and ultimately the workforce.

I developed life-long friendships that I still treasure to this day. Because of my experiences and the benefits from Mount Olive, my husband and I decided to give our children this same great education.

Principal

Cory Emily - Principal

Mr. Emily attended Concordia University River Forest and majored in elementary education with a minor in mathematics. His first call was serving as a junior high mathematics, science and physical education at Bethany Lutheran School in Parma, Ohio, where he served from 2003 to 2006. In 2006, he accepted a Call to Bethany Lutheran School in Overland Park, Kansas where he served as a junior high teacher for one year and the principal for two years. In 2008, he completed his Master’s degree from Concordia University in educational leadership. In 2009, he accepted the Call to serve here at Mount Olive Lutheran Church and School.


Preschool

Heidi Rains - Preschool Director & Teacher
As a child, Mrs. Rains attended Little Lamb Preschool 3 & 4 year old programs and Mount Olive Lutheran School Kindergarten through 8th grade. She graduated from Grandview University with a degree in elementary education, with emphases in early childhood and reading. While attending Grand View University in Des Moines, she married her husband, Jeff. They have three active boys that give them joy each day. Evan, Nolan, and Dylan are all students at Mount Olive Lutheran School.

Prior to joining the staff at Mount Olive in 2011, Mrs. Rains worked in Des Moines Public Schools teaching kindergarten and first grade.  In 2014, Mrs. Rains completed the colloquy program at Concordia University, St. Paul and became a called teacher. 

Her favorite part of teaching at Little Lambs Preschool is that she can share the love of Jesus as our Savior.

Julie Leyhe - Preschool 3's Teacher

Mrs. Leyhe joined the staff at Mount Olive in 2016. She has worked in the health care field 20+ years and has experience in a child care setting and as a nanny.  She grew up in Minneapolis and  was married in 1998. She and her husband live in Clive with their 3 children Jack, Madeline, and Amelia. 

Mrs. Leyhe graduated  from Anoka Technical College in 1998 and worked in the Fairview Healthcare System for several years prior to moving to Iowa. 

Mrs. Leyhe and her family became members of Mount Olive in 2012 when they relocated to Iowa. She is studying early childhood education with a reading endorsement at both DMACC and Upper Iowa University- Des Moines Campus.

She enjoys traveling with her family, reading, and attending her children's activities. Mrs. Leyhe's favorite part of teaching is watching the excitement as her students learn and experience new things, as well as sharing the love of Jesus with her them. 

Mrs. Leyhe says, "I feel very blessed to be a part of such a strong Christian based school, and am excited to be learning right along with the preschoolers in my class. "

Kim Powell - Preschool Aid

Mrs. Powell joined the staff at Mount Olive for the 2014-2015 school year as a preschool aide.  Before joining the staff, she ran an in-home daycare for 9 years while she raised her own two little girls (Nadia and Morgynne), who both attend Mount Olive Lutheran School.  Kim attended Drake University where she received a major in Environmental Science and a minor in Environmental Policy.  After volunteering in the school kitchen, it became clear that her gifts in working with children could extend to Mount Olive Lutheran Church and School.  Her husband Aaron works at Mount Olive on the church side as the Director of Worship and Music Ministry.  They were married in 2004, and reside in the Union Park neighborhood of Des Moines.  
 
Mrs. Powell serves Mount Olive in other capacities, she helps with the aftercare program for the preschoolers as well as the school office on afternoons when her teaching schedule is complete. 

Kindergarten

Chelsea Adams - Kindergarten Teacher
adams Miss Adams graduated from Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska with a degree in Elementary Education, an endorsement in Early Childhood Education, and a Lutheran teacher’s diploma in 2009. She taught first grade at Messiah Lutheran School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for 4 years before joining Mount Olive in 2013.

Miss Adams says that her favorite thing about teaching is partnering with families to raise their children to love and serve God. She also feels blessed to be able to see that moment when something really clicks for a student, especially in the area of reading. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to show her students what a joy reading can be in their lives. Along with a love for reading, Miss Adams enjoys traveling, listening to Christian and country music, and spending time with family and friends, especially her two young godchildren.

Her personal mission statement is found in the words of the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20

Lori McNeeley - Kindergarten Aid
hrains Mrs. McNeeley was baptized, confirmed and married in St. John's Lutheran Church in Hubbard, Iowa. She attended UNI and earned a BA in elementary education.

She has three daughters: Amber, Alyssa and Courtney. They all were baptized and confirmed and attended preschool through eighth grade at Mount Olive. During that time Lori volunteered in the kitchen as cook and server and also in various classrooms. When Alyssa and Courtney were in 8th grade, Lori became the kindergarten teacher associate. She worked in that classroom for four years, then substituted for a year before becoming the associate in the 1st and 2nd grade room. Then she switched back to Kindergarten associate. She also has served in many other capacities within the school as substitute teacher, and working with various children throughout all the grades.

She enjoys her job immensely being able to enrich the children's education and their spiritual lives.


First Grade

Kendra Limback - First Grade Teacher
limbackMrs. Limback is a wife, mother, and first grade teacher. Her husband Shawn is an internal auditor at Principal Financial Group.  They have two sons.

Mrs. Limback graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 2000.  She has been a reading resource teacher and a first grade teacher for the past 15 years.  Mrs. Limback obtained her Master’s Degree from Morningside College in Teacher Leadership in 2015.

Mrs. Limback says, "I adore first graders. They naturally carry so much joy for learning and life!  My favorite part is watching so many of them move into learning readiness and begin to transition into independent readers and writers."

When she's not at school, Mrs. Limback enjoys reading, writing, running, and cooking.  She enjoys visiting destinations around Des Moines with her family.  You might find them at the zoo, a pool, a library, or an Iowa Cubs game.

Mrs. Limback and her family live in West Des Moines. They attend Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. When Shawn and Kendra were married, they had Romans 8:35-39 read at the wedding. It is a passage that they return to frequently.  We can conqueror because of Jesus!  She says, "I feel blessed to be joining the Mount Olive Family.  I’m looking forward to sharing the love of Jesus with the children and serving as a teacher."


Second Grade

Sue Barlow - Second Grade Teacher
sbarlow

Ms. Barlow grew up in northwest Iowa on a farm near Schaller, IA. She attended Wayne State College and graduated in 1988. Her first teaching jobs took her to rural Nebraska where she taught in one room and two room schools near Atkinson, NE, mostly teaching grades 5-8. In 2002 she started teaching at Concordia Lutheran School in Storm Lake, IA.  Ms. Barlow taught grades 3-4 and 2-3. Her next teaching journey brought her to Des Moines in 2009, where she teaches 2nd grade. In her spare time, she likes to cook and sew, watch college basketball, do water aerobics, and read. Ms. Barlow also enjoys keeping in touch with longtime friends and former students.


Third Grade

Mackenzie Doraska - 3rd Grade Teacher

Mrs. Doraska received her early childhood education degree from Concordia St. Paul, MN. As a first year teacher, she is excited to be joining the Mount Olive staff. The summer of 2016 has been a big one for Mrs. Doraska as she married her high school sweetheart and moved to Des Moines after living in Minnesota all her life. In her spare time, she loves to bake, swim, and spend as much time outside as possible.  


Fourth Grade

Mary Dunlap - Fourth Grade Teacher
dunlapMrs. Dunlap received her elementary degree from Iowa State University. She taught at Indianola Middle School for 5 years. After her oldest son, Luke, was born, she and her husband decided it was time for her to be a stay-at-home mom. She kept active in the teaching field by working at Sylvan, substituting, volunteering in the classroom, teaching summer school, tutoring, and taking classes. She is very excited to be back in the classroom, teaching fourth grade at Mount Olive Lutheran School. Her two youngest children, Drew and Eli, also attend Mount Olive. Her two oldest children, Luke and Julie, attend high school at Dowling Catholic. She enjoys scrapbooking and watching her kids play soccer.


Junior High

Tonya Snodgrass - Junior High Teacher
Miss Snodgrass graduated from Faith Baptist Bible College in 2013 with a degree in Secondary English Education. Before coming to Mount Olive, Miss Snodgrass spent the last few years working as substitute teacher and a staff at Johnston’s before and after school program. In her free time, Miss Snodgrass enjoys reading, running, weight lifting, and eating ice cream. She also spends many fall weekends at Jack Trice cheering on the Cyclones.

Junior High Weblink

Tona Speltz - Junior High Teacher
hrainsMrs. Speltz graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a degree in elementary education with an emphasis in middle school math and science. She taught first grade for one year in Minnesota before moving to the Des Moines area. She joined the Mount Olive Lutheran School staff in 2011, teaching physical education part time and then became the middle school math and science teacher in 2012. In 2014 she completed the colloquy program through Concordia, St. Paul and officially became a called teacher at Mount Olive.  When she’s not teaching she enjoys reading, digital scrapbooking, watching sports (particularly the Iowa State Cyclones and the Minnesota Vikings) and playing with her four children, who also attend Mount Olive.

Junior High Weblink


Art Teacher

Kathy Brammeier - Art Teacher

Kathy (Stange) Brammeier graduated from Concordia University, Seward, Nebraska with a K-9 language arts endorsement. Through the years she has received her early childhood and her reading endorsement. She taught at St. John Lutheran School in North Tonawanda, NY for 25 years. Here at Mount Olive she taught kindergarten for 14 years. After spending one year in retirement she came back to teach first grade for a year. She is now teaching art. Kathy is married to Pastor James Brammeier. In her spare time she enjoys reading, gardening, traveling and listening to classical music.


Music Teacher

Aaron Powell - Music Teacher

Aaron Powell holds his Master’s of Music Performance in classical guitar from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (2003) and his Bachelor’s of Music Education from Simpson College (1999) where he also earned his K-12 Music Endorsement.  With the exception of his two years at UMKC, he has taught music to students in Kindergarten through the college-level music major each year since 1999.

Mr. Powell began his time at Mount Olive as the Director of Worship and Music in July of 2015 where he directs the Adult Choir and is the Worship Team Leader.  Aaron also works with Pastoral/Lay Leadership, Organists and volunteer musicians to assist in creating the spiritually (and musically) inviting worship services for the congregation and guests of Mount Olive Lutheran Church and School.

In the Fall of 2016, he accepted the opportunity to become part of the teaching staff, where the additional responsibilities of K-6 General Music, Director of Bands, and ensembles such as Youth Handbells and K-4 Choir will be part of his duties.  Mr. Powell is most looking forward to sharing his love of the cycle of music-making with the students of Mount Olive.  Interestingly enough one can find a parallel to the Holy Trinity in this process:  Discovering or Finding the Music, Learning and Preparing the Music, and Sharing /Performing the Music.  

His main instrument is the classical guitar, where he maintains an active private lesson studio and performance schedule.  Mr. Powell lives in the Union Park neighborhood of Des Moines with his wife Kim and daughters Nadia and Morgynne.  When it comes to Bible verses, there are many, but Psalm 150 sums it up best for Mr. Powell.


Spanish Teacher

Noemi Guerra - Spanish Teacher

Mrs. Guerra was born and raised in Panama City, Panama, South America. She is the daughter of the panamanian missionaries Rev. Luciano Vega-Ayala and Dr. Brenda de Vega-Ayala. The Vega-Ayala family came to the US as missionaries in the year 2000. Noemi married Rev. Lincon Guerra in 2001 and they have 3 children: Joash, Lincon Aaron and Lizzie Noemi. Mrs. Guerra served as a Sunday School teacher at St. Paul Lutheran Church from 2000-2001 in Houston, Texas. She then served as music director and treasurer at Christ for All Nations Church in North Carolina from 2001-2004. After that she served as Sunday School coordinator and music coordinator at CFC Lutheran in Houston, TX from 2004-2012. She graduated from the Deaconess program at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. She is currently serving as a deaconess church planter at Pastor del Valle Lutheran Church in West Des Moines, where she leads the outreach program, music, children and junior high ministries. She joined Mount Olive Lutheran School as Spanish teacher in 2013.