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Morgan Mohler

Special Education Associate

Taylor Thompson


Megan Davidson

2nd Grade Teacher

Hello! My name is Megan Davidson and this is my third year teaching here at Samuelson. I graduated from the University of Iowa in 2007, and worked in the insurance field prior to following my passion of teaching.  In 2015 I earned my Masters of Science in Teaching degree from Drake University with endorsement in ELL and reading. Being a teacher has been an amazing career change for me, and I feel so fortunate to work with all of the wonderful students and staff at Samuelson.

I also recently got married in September and enjoy spending time with my husband. We both love to read, watch movies and cheer on the Iowa Hawkeyes together! Having grown up in Urbandale, I am lucky to have my parents here in town and love spending time with my family. In my free time, I also enjoy hot yoga, cooking and doing crafts.

Mark Battista

4th Grade Teacher

Hello! My name is Mark Battista.  I’ve been a teacher at DMPS since 2007 teaching both 4th and 5th grade.  I have received a bachelor and master’s degree from Drake University.  I reside in Urbandale with my fiancé, Erica and our dog, Bocce.  In my free time I enjoy golfing, playing hockey, and cheering for my Minnesota sports teams.

William Morris

2nd Grade Teacher

Hello Sam Fam!  I’m William Morris and I have had the pleasure of teaching at Samuelson for 4 years now.  The staff and students here would make anyone proud to be a Husky Pup! When I ‘m not teaching, I am hanging out with my family.  My wife Jana is a teacher for Des Moines as well.  Together we have two middle schoolers, Erin and Ryan.  When I’m not at Samuelson teaching, you can find me at my kid’s extracurricular activities, traveling, playing with Daisy our golden doodle, or catching a baseball game, GO RED SOX!

Follow our classroom website for updates: Husky Pups Weebly

Penelope Quesada

Music Teacher
Hello! My name is Penelope Quesada and this is my first year at Samuelson and my 18th year teaching music. I am so excited to meet all of you during this school year. I love seeing students enjoying learning and making music. We are going to have so much fun! Besides my Music degrees (Music Education and Flute Performance) I am also certified to teach technology, robotics and STEAM. I am new to Des Moines and looking forward to enjoy many of the amenities that this beautiful city offers. I have two children, my son Thomas is studying at Purdue University and my daughter Andrea at University of Louisville. And, I have a cat named Lilac. Lilac gets to be my spoiled kitty.
Looking forward to a fantastic year at Samuelson!

Jill Klunder

Special Education Associate

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.

Bayley Anshutz

Multilingual Learners Teacher
My name is Bayley Anshutz. This is my 9th year at Samuelson. I taught kindergarten for six years, reading and math intervention for two years, and now I am excited to be a teacher of multilingual learners! I received my bachelors degree from Iowa State University (Go Cyclones!).
When I am not at school, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our 2 year old son. We love to try new restaurants, spend time outside, walk our dog, and travel. I look forward to another year of teaching AND learning with the students at Samuelson!

Denine Larson

1st Grade Teacher

Hi! My name is Denine Larson. I have been a part of Samuelson since 2018 and am thrilled to be teaching first grade. My prior experience at Samuelson has been as a reading interventionist. I graduated from Fort Hays State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. I received my Master’s of Science Degree at Emporia State University as a Reading Specialist/Master Teacher in 2008 and Licensure for Building Level Administrator in 2016. In addition, I earned National Board Certification in Literacy in 2004 and renewed again in 2014. I have a passion for learning and work hard to instill a love of learning in my students.

I am married and have two daughters living in the Kansas City area. My husband and I moved to Des Moines in 2018 from KC where I was a Reading Specialist for 13 years. Previously I taught 2nd and 3rd grade for 7 years. We love to explore all that Des Moines has to offer, especially the outdoors. I also enjoy traveling, reading, Zumba,, spending time with family and friends, and teaching my students at Samuelson. Establishing relationships with students and families is a priority to me and I look forward to making connections as we have a wonderful school year!