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Emma Clement

ELL Teacher

Hello! My name is Emma Clement and I am very excited to be a part of the Samuelson team this year. This will be my first year at Samuelson and my second year of teaching. Last year, I taught Kindergarten at a charter school in Minneapolis, Prodeo Academy. I grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis and fell in love with Des Moines while attending Drake University for my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. I graduated in Spring of 2017 with endorsements in Reading and ELL. I am very excited to be back in Des Moines.

When I am not at school, I like to spend my time reading, cooking, exercising, and spending time with my friends and family. I also love to travel and experience all that the world has to offer by experiencing, understanding, and appreciating different cultures. My favorite places that I have traveled to have been Croatia, Bosnia, Finland, and Puerto Rico.

Leanne Lewis

Kindergarten Teacher

Hi! My name is Leanne Lewis. This will be my first year teaching Kindergarten at Samuelson and I am very excited about it! I previously taught Kindergarten in England for five years! I love teaching and can’t wait to help each and every one of my students develop a love for learning and to discover new interests. When I am not at school, I love spending time with my husband, taking my dog Soshi for walks, cooking, kayaking, and traveling the world. My favorite place that I have visited so far is Japan. I am looking forward to a fun-filled year!

Aimee Owens

Special Education Consultant

I’m so excited to be a part of the Samuelson team this school year!  After I graduated college in 2002, I taught high school English and ELL at Hoover and in California. I soon realized that my heart was in special education, and went back to get my master’s degree. While I was back in school, I worked as a special education associate at Smouse. For the past 11 years, I taught children with autism at Findley Elementary.  I’m very passionate about serving students with special needs and  I’m really looking forward to this new role supporting students and teachers at Samuelson. In my free time I love to read, take walks with my dog, and travel.

Rachel Venard

4th Grade Teacher

Hello! My name is Rachel Venard-Konchalski.  I am so proud to be part of Samuelson Elementary.  I have been a teacher with Des Moines Public Schools since 2008.  I have been a substitute teacher, ELL teacher, and a 4th grade teacher.  I received my teaching degree from Upper Iowa University in Elementary with Endorsements in English/ Language Arts, ESL/ELL, Reading, Social Studies, and Middle School Education.  I enjoy learning about history, reading, and spending time with my pets.   I am looking forward to another fantastic school year.

Lyndsey Zobrist

2nd Grade Teacher

Hi! My name is Lyndsey Vandello. This is my fifth year teaching, but my first year teaching 2nd grade. Prior to teaching at Samuelson, I taught 6th grade for two years and 4th grade for two years in Ottumwa. I love working with kiddos of all ages and learning just as much from them as they do from me!

I attended the University of Iowa, which means I am a Hawkeye fan! I love to read and watch movies, as well as spend time with friends and family. Of my two brothers and two sisters, I am the oldest. My youngest siblings are 9 and 10, so I travel frequently to see them and we have lots of sleep overs! I recently adopted a four month old puppy who loves to go for walks and cuddle on the couch.

I am so excited for this year at Samuelson! I look forward to working with your students and learning and growing alongside them!

Korey Hauenstein

5th Grade Teacher

Caren Cousins

3rd Grade Teacher

Timothy Earp


Mckenzie Larson

Kindergarten Teacher

Hi! My name is McKenzie Larson. I am so excited to begin teaching kindergarten at Samuelson! This will be my first year teaching- yay! I can’t wait to meet the kindergarten students and start a year full of learning and fun! I just graduated from Iowa State University in May 2019. Outside of school I love to travel, go to sporting events, watch movies and be with friends and family. I am looking forward to a GREAT year!

Shannon Groth

4th Grade Teacher

Hi!  I am Shannon Groth and I have been a part of this dedicated Samuelson staff since 2006.  I have taught in the Des Moines Public School district since 1992.  I graduated from Iowa State University in 1990 with a Bachelors Degree in elementary education.  I received my masters in education from Graceland in 2010.  In my free time I love traveling, reading, and spending time with my family.  Teaching, as a profession, is something I have been doing since 1990 and I can not imagine anything else I would rather be doing.