Meet the Sonshine Preschool Staff
                               
                          Lead Teachers                                                                                       Assistant Teachers 
Back Row: Jodi Norton, Michele Tweedy, Jill Brockman, Natalie Pererz                   Anna Kodis, Kaylee Witzenburg, Aimee Lehman, Brandi Giannetto
Front Row: Laura Edwards, Sally Mills-director, Desiray Christen                                            Julie Mannan, Sally Mills-director, Nicole Goodwin
Jill Brockman
Jill and her husband, Jon, live in the Marshalltown area. Jill has been on staff here at Sonshine Preschool since 2015 but previous taught for the Marshalltown School District. Jill taught elementary-age children for 31 years and has her Masters in Education. She is the Lead Teacher for the 2-day T/TH 3-4 year-old class. Her favorite color is green and her favorite foods are salmon & baked potatoes. Jill says, “I love the energy that children bring to the classroom. And I love that my students teach me something every day!” Her favorite children’s book is “The Little House” by Virginia Lee Burton.

 

Jodi Norton

Jodi has been a Lead Teacher on the Sonshine Preschool staff since 2011. She teaches the 5-day class for 3-year-olds. Jodi is also part of the Extended Care Staff. She is originally from Conrad and lives in Marshalltown with her husband, Doug, and 2 children. Jodi has a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Education and Counseling. Jodi says, “I enjoy working with 3-year-olds turning 4-years-olds and watching them learn how to interact socially with each other. They are also eager to learn academically and I love teaching on their ‘fun level’. The hugs and love you get are the best bonus of all.” Jodi’s favorite food is Mexican but also loves ice cream and coffee. Her favorite color is lime green and her favorite children’s book is “I’d Choose You” and any Max Lucado children’s books.   

Michele Tweedy

Michele has been on staff at Sonshine Preschool since 2013. She was first a Lead Teacher for the 3-year-olds and is now the Lead Teacher for the 5-day Pre-K 4-5 year-old class. She lives near Gladbrook with her husband, Michael, and has 5 children. Michele is also a part of the Extended Care staff on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. She has been a homeschool mom and taught Sunday School for 2-4 year-olds for over 20 years. Her favorite children’s book is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”. Michele says, “I love the nurturing, Christian atmosphere at Sonshine. It’s a joy helping the children learn & grow.” Her favorite color is burgundy and her favorite food is chocolate. 

Laura Edwards 

Laura joined the Sonshine Preschool Staff in 2018. She is the Lead Teacher for the 3-day MWF 4-5 year-old class. Laura has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Masters in Literacy Education. She previously taught in the South Tama School District but wanted to spend more time with her daughter, Avery, who is attending Sonshine Preschool. Her husband, Clayton, is also a teacher. Laura had a hard time choosing a favorite children’s book but ended up saying that her favorite was “Gus and the Firefly” by P.D. Eastman. Her favorite colors are pink and purple, and her favorite foods are fruits and vegetables! Laura’s favorite thing about working with children is “seeing their eyes light-up when they make a connection.”

Desiray Christen

Desiray joined the Sonshine Preschool Staff in 2018. She is the Lead Teacher for the 3-day MWF 3-4 year-old class. She lives in Marshalltown with her husband, John, and their 5 children. Before she had children, Desiray taught preschool for 3 years and while raising her 5 children, she continued to sub at various schools. Her youngest 2 children attended Sonshine many years ago. Desiray says that she “loves working with preschoolers and seeing them learn new things every day. I love to see their progress throughout the year and how much they grow academically, socially, emotionally and spiritually.” Her favorite color is purple, and her favorite foods are Taco pizza, anything from Chick-Fil-A, and Heath blizzards. Desiray’s favorite children’s book is “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”.

Julie Mannan

Julie is the Assistant Teacher for the Jump Start group. She has been a part of the Sonshine Preschool staff since 2006. She was born in the Marshalltown area and she lives with her husband, David. They have 2 adult children. Julie graduated from nursing school and worked as an OB nurse for 16 years before coming on staff at Sonshine Preschool. She says, “I have always enjoyed interacting with children so it was a perfect fit for my family and I.” Her favorite children’s books are “Pete the Cat” books; her favorite food is chicken fajitas and favorite color is fuchsia.

Nicole Goodwin

Nicole has been part of the Sonshine Preschool Staff since 2015. She has taken on a variety of positions such Teacher Assistant for 3-4 year-olds and Lead Teacher for 4-5 year-olds. She is currently the Teacher Assistant for the 5-day 3-4 year-old class. Nicole has a 4-year college degree in Psychology and most of her previous jobs have been working with children. “I really enjoy having conversations with children. Starting about the age of four, you can have logical, real conversations with them – about their likes & dislikes, their lives and their families. Once you touch on a subject, they are really interested in, their face lights up, they get all excited & they have to tell you everything about it!” Nicole has several favorite colors including purple, gray & teal (also pink & blue!). She likes sweetened coffee drinks such as Dunkaccinos & chocolate chip frappes. Nicole like all books by a couple of favorites are The Last Unicorn & The Forbidden Door.

Natalie Perez

Natalie joined our staff here at Sonshine Preschool in 2015. She has been a Teacher Assistant and a Lead Teacher for the 3-4 year-old classes and she is now the Lead Teacher for the Jump Start group. She is also part of the Extended Care staff. Natalie and her husband, Gustavo, live in Marshalltown with their 2 sons. She previously worked for MICA Head Start where she helped in the Infant/Toddler room. Natalie’s favorite children’s book is “Going on a Bear Hunt”. Her favorite color is purple and her favorite food is tacos.

 

Brandi Giannetto

Brandi has been a part of our staff since 2018. She is the Teacher Assistant in the 5-day 3-4 year-old class. Brandi worked as a Teacher Assistant here at Sonshine Preschool in 2004-2006 before moving to Ames where she worked with families and children at the WIC program. Her educational background includes an AA in Human Services. Brandi “loves watching children grow, learn and change throughout the year.” She lives in Marshalltown with her husband, Jay, and 5 children. Her favorite children’s book is “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” which she likes to sing with it. Favorite color is yellow and favorite foods are pasta, coffee & cheesecake.

Anna Kodis

Anna joined our Sonshine Preschool Staff in 2019. She is the Teacher Assistant for the 2-day 3-4 year-old class and is part of the Extended Care staff. Anna attended ISU for 2 years where she met her husband. Then she completed her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky while her husband was attending seminary. Anna and her husband, Jeff, live in Marshalltown. They have 5 children and Anna enjoyed being a full-time mom while they were little. “I really enjoy seeing little kids light up when they learn something new or get to show you something they can do all by themselves like the big kids. I really appreciate being part of Christian-based curriculum, also.” Anna favorite color is green, she likes anything Italian and her favorite children’s book is any Elephant & Piggle book but especially “We are in A Book.”

Aimee Lehman

Aimee has been a part of our staff at Sonshine Preschool since January of 2019. She is the Teacher Assistant for the 3-day 4-5 year-old class and is part of the Extended Care staff. Aimee found a love for children while growing up with a mother who had an in-home daycare, as well as babysitting as a teenager. Aimee & her husband, Tim, live on a farm near Union. Aimee is a mom to 4 children, who she homeschooled and now has 6 grandchildren. She has coordinated and served in her church nursery for many years. She does not have just one favorite children’s book but has always enjoyed Eric Carle books & Dr. Seuss. Her favorite colors are generally neutral colors with burgundy & teal blue accents. Aimee has always liked pizza but has expanded into Mexican, Chinese & others. And she loves coffee! “I love working with and being around children. It is wonderful to see them excited over learning new things.”

Kaylee Witzenburg

Kaylee officially joined our Sonshine Staff in 2019. She has been a summer assistant & sub for Sonshine since she was 16 years-old. She has grown up in a large family & helped homeschool her siblings. Kaylee is also the director of the nursery at her church. Her favorite colors are purple, blue & gray. Tacos & anything Mexican are her favorite foods. “Journey” by Aaron Becker is Kaylee’s favorite children’s book. “The best thing about working with children is seeing them learn new things. I love their enthusiasm for life, their humor in the funny things that they say, & seeing life from their innocent perspectives.”