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Alonzo Hall

Custodial Staff

Michelle Knox

Music Teacher

Lisa Weatherall

2nd Grade Teacher

My name is Lisa Weatherall and I love teaching second grade!  I attended Iowa State University to earn my bachelor’s degree in education and later attended Graceland University for my master’s degree in Education.  I began my career in Des Moines Public Schools at Moore Elementary where I taught special education for 4 years before becoming a second grade teacher.  I taught at Woodlawn for a year before we switched to the Samuelson Building.  I enjoy working in the Beaverdale neighborhood and I love the diversity of our students.  My husband Jim and I have three teenage children, who keep us very busy. We spend most of our free time involved in their athletic or school activities.

Pamela Hartung

Gifted & Talented Consultant

Mark Battista

4th Grade Teacher

Patricia Williamson

3rd Grade Teacher

Hello, my name is Patricia Williamson and I am beginning my 32nd year of teaching elementary school with 23 years being in the Woodlawn/ Samuelson neighborhood.  I take great pride in knowing that I have played a part in making Samuelson Elementary the best elementary school in Des Moines. I truly love my job and have put a great deal of my time into educating the children in this network.  I am a graduate of Iowa State University and have stayed connected to the University by collaborating with them to incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math opportunities (STEM) into my classroom. I have one daughter who is finishing her final year in the Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program at Des Moines University. She was a former soccer player at ISU as well.  I am an active member in my church at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines. I enjoy flower gardening, yard work, reading, long walks and family.  I believe relationships are very important to establish and hope I can build a lasting relationship with your child and with your family this school year that will last my lifetime.

Kimberly Hofbauer

Kindergarten Teacher

My name is Kim Hofbauer.  I am proud to be a 1st grade teacher here at Samuelson.  I have been teaching first graders for over 20 years.  It’s been a joyous career that I truly love.  I hope to inspire my students to find excitement as they begin their journey of learning. I have 2 boys, Christian and Elijah. Christian is a senior at Iowa and Elijah is a sophmore at Waukee High School.  I enjoy cooking, bargain shopping, farmer’s markets, reading biographies and walking my dog, Marley.  I look forward to making positive connections with my students and their families.

Emma Mrvoljak

ELL Teacher

Hello! My name is Emma Mrvoljak 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.

Denine Larson


Hi! My name is Denine Larson.  I am so excited to be a part of Samuelson Elementary as a Reading Interventionist.  I graduated from Fort Hays State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education.  I received my Master’s Degree at Emporia State University as a Master Teacher/Reading Specialist in 2008 and Licensure for Building Level Administrator in 2014.  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 attending the University of Kansas.  My husband and I moved to Des Moines this August from Kansas City where I have been a Reading Specialist for the past 13 years.  Previously I taught 2nd and 3rd grade for 7 years.  We look forward to exploring all Des Moines has to offer.  Establishing relationships with students and families is a priority to me and I await the opportunity to connect with the Samuelson community!

Anna Miller

Social Worker