Support Teachers

Karen Birchmier

TLC Instructional Coach/Literacy and Math Interventionist

P: (515) 242-8430 | E: karen.birchmier@dmschools.org

Class Description

TLC Instructional Coach/Literacy and Math Interventionist

Biography

I have had the privilege of working with Des Moines Public Schools for 26 years.  I graduated from Iowa State University with my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Early Childhood Development in 1989 (go Cyclones). I received my Master’s Degree in Education from Viterbo University in LaCrosse, Wisconsin in 2006 (and my Reading Endorsement from Viterbo as well).  I have taught kindergarten, second, and third grade as a classroom teacher. This year I am an Instructional Coach as well as a K-5 Literacy and Math Interventionist, which has been exciting working with all age levels and teachers.  I have been married for 23 years, have 2 daughters, one going to ISU, and the other is a junior in high school at SEP.  We enjoy doing anything outside, love to travel, and we are involved in music from show choir to musicals. I am so lucky to have a job that challenges me on a daily basis.  Please email me if you ever have any questions about your child's education!

 

Amy Cain

2nd Grade

P: (515) 242-8430 | E: amy.cain@dmschools.org

Class Description

2nd Grade

Biography

I have been a 2nd grade teacher at Perkins since the 2004-2005 school year.   I received a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies at the University of Iowa.  After working in publishing in both California and Chicago, I returned home to Des Moines with a desire to teach.  I received my Masters of Science in Education at Drake University.  I can truly say that I love what I do.  I get great satisfaction from watching my students work hard and reach their goals.  I love spending time with my son, Ollie,  reading, art, and speaking French.

 

Zac Christensen

2nd Grade

P: (515) 242-8430 | E: zachry.christensen@dmschools.org

Class Description

2nd Grade

Biography

I have been teaching in Des Moines ever since I graduated from Simpson College 15 years ago. I started teaching 1st grade at Perkins and then spent three years working in the district curriculum office before returning here to teach 4th grade in 2006. Since then, I have been a math teacher, the math leader and an instructional coach. This is my first year teaching 2nd Grade. In addition to teaching 2nd grade, I spend part of my day as an instructional coach, working with teachers in our building. In my free time, I coach football and enjoy spending time with my wife, our two kids, and our two dogs. I am a huge sports fan and especially like it when the family attends ISU sporting events. Go Cyclones!

Cindy Manning

K-5 Literacy and Math Interventionist

P: (515) 242-8430 | E: cindy.manning@dmschools.org

Class Description

K-5 Literacy and Math Interventionist

Biography

I am a K-5 Literacy and Math Interventionist here at Perkins.   I am also a trained Reading Recovery teacher, completing my training through Drake University in 2000.  I received my Bachelor of Education degree from Upper Iowa University, including Early Childhood and Reading endorsements, in 1997.  I began teaching in the Des Moines district at Edmunds Academy of Fine Arts from 1997 through 2002.  After having my second child, I stayed home with my two daughters and ran an “in-home” daycare for 3 years.  I returned to the district in 2005, where I began teaching at Perkins.  I thoroughly enjoy my position as an Interventionist teacher here at Perkins.  It is very rewarding watching my students progress and achieve their goals.   My personal life includes my husband, Stan, and our two daughters, Emily and Erica.  We live in Grimes.  In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, attending my daughters’ sporting and music events, reading and boating.

 

Laura Nicodemus

K-5 Reading and Math Interventionist

P: (515) 242-8430 | E: laura.nicodemus@dmschools.org

Class Description

K-5 Reading and Math Interventionist

Biography

I started my teaching career in Richmond, Virginia in 1997 where I taught first grade. In 1999, my family moved to Des Moines. I have been teaching for DMPS ever since. I taught first, second, and third grade at Mitchell Elementary School on the south side of town. I transferred to Perkins in 2006 after Mitchell School was closed.  I taught third grade at Perkins for 9 years.  I am now a reading/math interventionist.  I love supporting PERKINS STUDENTS!!  I am Iowa State Alumni, and received my Masters degree from Morningside College. I absolutely love teaching at Perkins, walking my dog, baking, and golfing with my family.