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We love Mount Olive Lutheran School because of its Christ centered education and small community feel!

The teachers and staff have helped them thrive as unique individuals academically and spiritually.

Mount Olive prepared me academically and socially for the transition from grade school to high school, college, and ultimately the workforce.

I developed life-long friendships that I still treasure to this day. Because of my experiences and the benefits from Mount Olive, my husband and I decided to give our children this same great education.


Cory Emily - Principal

Mr. Emily attended Concordia University River Forest and majored in elementary education with a minor in mathematics. His first call was serving as a junior high mathematics, science and physical education at Bethany Lutheran School in Parma, Ohio, where he served from 2003 to 2006. In 2006, he accepted a Call to Bethany Lutheran School in Overland Park, Kansas where he served as a junior high teacher for one year and the principal for two years. In 2008, he completed his Master’s degree from Concordia University in educational leadership. In 2009, he accepted the Call to serve here at Mount Olive Lutheran Church and School. He currently serves as principal and junior high teacher.


  Heidi Rains - Preschool Director & Teacher

As a child, Mrs. Rains attended Little Lamb Preschool 3 & 4 year old programs and Mount Olive Lutheran School Kindergarten through 8th grade. She graduated from Grandview University with a degree in elementary education, with emphases in early childhood and reading. While attending Grand View University in Des Moines, she married her husband, Jeff. They have three active boys that give them joy each day. Evan, Nolan, and Dylan are all students at Mount Olive Lutheran School.

Prior to joining the staff at Mount Olive in 2011, Mrs. Rains worked in Des Moines Public Schools teaching kindergarten and first grade.  In 2014, Mrs. Rains completed the colloquy program at Concordia University, St. Paul and became a called teacher.

Her favorite part of teaching at Little Lambs Preschool is that she can share the love of Jesus as our Savior.

  Julie Leyhe - Preschool 3's Teacher

Mrs. Leyhe joined the staff at Mount Olive in 2016. She has worked in the health care field 20+ years and has experience in a child care setting and as a nanny.  She grew up in Minneapolis and  was married in 1998. She and her husband live in Clive with their 3 children Jack, Madeline, and Amelia. 

Mrs. Leyhe graduated  from Anoka Technical College in 1998 and worked in the Fairview Healthcare System for several years prior to moving to Iowa. 

Mrs. Leyhe and her family became members of Mount Olive in 2012 when they relocated to Iowa. She is studying early childhood education with a reading endorsement at both DMACC and Upper Iowa University- Des Moines Campus.

She enjoys traveling with her family, reading, and attending her children's activities. Mrs. Leyhe's favorite part of teaching is watching the excitement as her students learn and experience new things, as well as sharing the love of Jesus with her them. 

Mrs. Leyhe says, "I feel very blessed to be a part of such a strong Christian based school, and am excited to be learning right along with the preschoolers in my class. "

  Kim Powell - Preschool Aid

Mrs. Powell joined the staff at Mount Olive in 2014 as a preschool aide.  Before joining the staff, she ran an in-home daycare for 9 years while she raised her own two little girls (Nadia and Morgynne), who both attend Mount Olive Lutheran School.  Kim attended Drake University where she received a major in Environmental Science and a minor in Environmental Policy.  After volunteering in the school kitchen, it became clear that her gifts in working with children could extend to Mount Olive Lutheran Church and School.  Her husband Aaron works at Mount Olive on the church side as the Director of Worship and Music Ministry and as the school's music and band teacher.  They were married in 2004, and reside in the Union Park neighborhood of Des Moines.  


  Chelsea Adams - Kindergarten Teacher

Miss Adams graduated from Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska with a degree in Elementary      Education, an endorsement in Early Childhood Education, and a Lutheran teacher’s diploma in 2009. She taught first grade at Messiah Lutheran School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for 4 years before joining Mount Olive in 2013.

Miss Adams says that her favorite thing about teaching is partnering with families to raise their children to love and serve God. She also feels blessed to be able to see that moment when something really clicks for a student, especially in the area of reading. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to show her students what a joy reading can be in their lives. Along with a love for reading, Miss Adams enjoys traveling, listening to Christian and country music, and spending time with family and friends, especially her two young godchildren.

Her personal mission statement is found in the words of the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20

  Lori McNeeley - Kindergarten Associate

Mrs. McNeeley was baptized, confirmed and married in St. John's Lutheran Church in Hubbard, Iowa. She attended UNI and earned a BA in elementary education.

She has three daughters: Amber, Alyssa and Courtney. They all were baptized and confirmed and attended preschool through eighth grade at Mount Olive. During that time Lori volunteered in the kitchen as cook and server and also in various classrooms. When Alyssa and Courtney were in 8th grade, Lori became the kindergarten teacher associate. Since then she has served in many other capacities within the school as substitute teacher, the before and aftercare program, classroom associate, and works with various children throughout all the grades.

She enjoys her job immensely being able to enrich the children's education and their spiritual lives.

First Grade

  Kendra Limback - First Grade Teacher

Mrs. Limback is a wife, mother, and first grade teacher. Her husband Shawn is an internal auditor at Principal Financial Group.  They have two sons who attend Mount Olive.

Mrs. Limback graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 2000.  She has been a reading resource teacher and a first grade teacher for the past 15 years.  Mrs. Limback obtained her Master’s Degree from Morningside College in Teacher Leadership in 2015.

Mrs. Limback says, "I adore first graders. They naturally carry so much joy for learning and life!  My favorite part is watching so many of them move into learning readiness and begin to transition into independent readers and writers."

When she's not at school, Mrs. Limback enjoys reading, writing, running, and cooking.  She enjoys visiting destinations around Des Moines with her family.  You might find them at the zoo, a pool, a library, or an Iowa Cubs game.

Mrs. Limback and her family live in West Des Moines. They attend Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. When Shawn and Kendra were married, they had Romans 8:35-39 read at the wedding. It is a passage that they return to frequently.  We can conquer because of Jesus!  She says, "I feel blessed to be part of the Mount Olive Family.  I’m enjoy sharing the love of Jesus with the children and serving as a teacher."

Second Grade

  Sue Barlow - Second Grade Teacher

Ms. Barlow grew up in northwest Iowa on a farm near Schaller, IA. She attended Wayne State College and graduated in 1988. Her first teaching jobs took her to rural Nebraska where she taught in one room and two room schools near Atkinson, NE, mostly teaching grades 5-8. In 2002 she started teaching at Concordia Lutheran School in Storm Lake, IA. Ms. Barlow taught grades 3-4 and 2-3. Her next teaching journey brought her to Des Moines in 2009, where she teaches 2nd grade. 

In her spare time, she likes to cook and sew, watch college basketball, do water aerobics, and read. Ms. Barlow also enjoys keeping in touch with longtime friends and former students.

Third Grade

  Julie Dueker - 3rd Grade Teacher

Julie Dueker was blessed to be born into a Christian home, with her dad serving as pastor and mom as church and school musician at Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Sheboygan, WI, where she grew up. 

Julie is a graduate of the elementary education program with a specialization in music from Concordia University in Chicago, IL. Her first call was to Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Davenport, IA, where she taught third grade for five years. She received her M.S. in Education with a specialization in Language Arts from Western University in Macomb, IL.

During those five years at Trinity, she met and married her best friend, Craig Dueker, who works for Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa. Craig and Julie have three children, Ryan, Josh, and Zach. Ryan in his final year of the photography program at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, IA. Josh is a sophomore in the exercise science program at Northwestern College in Orange City, IA. Zach is a junior at Des Moines Christian School.

While staying at home to raise her sons, Julie taught piano and guitar lessons. When her children were in elementary school, God called Julie back to teaching. She taught fourth grade at Iowa Christian Academy for nine years. 

Throughout her years of teaching, Julie has taught her students Christian and patriotic songs and recitations, often performing at local nursing homes and local programs honoring America’s heroes. In the spring of 2016 she founded Young Patriots Club, a local Christian ministry of freedom-loving kids whose mission is to honor God and uplift American heroes. She’s starting her third year of YPC, directing the club of Kindergarteners through high school students.

Julie is in the process of publishing her first book, Because of You, Old Glory Flies, a gift book of poems filled with love and gratitude for America’s military and veterans. She hopes to bring the hope of Christ to all who read it.

The things Julie loves most are Jesus, her family and friends, teaching children, sharing her faith, music, reading, tennis, popcorn, and dark chocolate.



Fourth Grade

  Mary Dunlap - Fourth Grade Teacher

Mrs. Dunlap received her elementary degree from Iowa State University. She taught at Indianola Middle School for 5 years. After her oldest son, Luke, was born, she and her husband decided it was time for her to be a stay-at-home mom. She kept active in the teaching field by working at Sylvan, substituting, volunteering in the classroom, teaching summer school, tutoring, and taking classes. She has been back in the classroom, teaching fourth grade at Mount Olive Lutheran School since 2013.

Her two youngest children, Drew and Eli, also attend Mount Olive. Her two oldest son, Luke, is attending college at The University of Northern Iowa, and her daughter Julie, attends high school at Dowling Catholic.

She enjoys scrapbooking and watching her kids play soccer.

Third & Fourth Grade Religion

  Ann Bass - Third & Fourth Grade Religion Teacher

I'm so excited and blessed that I'm joining your staff this year.  Three years ago, I would never thought I would be in a classroom teaching again... let alone sharing my love for my Savior!  40 years ago, I started in third and fourth grade... this week I re-enter those grades again.  Oh, God works in mysterious ways!

  • Graduated from Concordia Teachers College, Seward, Nebraska…. Looooong ago!
  • Trinity Lutheran School & Church, Reese, Michigan- taught all subjects, various grades(3-6),  5-8 bands and choir, Adult Choir, Brass Choir, lead musician and organist of 1000 member congregation. (11 yrs).
  • Moved back to hometown, Spirit Lake, Iowa. Taught in the Spirit Lake School System. Middle School (5-8)  Band, Chorus, Jazz and Marching Bands. (11 yrs)   Substitute Organist and Adult Choir & Brass Choir Director at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Spirit Lake, IA.
  • Elementary and Middle School principal at Anthon Oto- Maple Valley Elementary and Middle School, Anthon, IA (4 yrs).
  • Elementary Principal at Dallas Center- Grimes School District, Grimes, IA (13 yrs).
  • Retired in May 2015 after 39 years in education.
  • Currently a member of Shepherd of The Valley Lutheran Church, WDM, IA.
  • My husband, Jim, entered heaven in March 2017.  We were blessed with 37 years of marriage with Christ at the center.  We did not have any children, but were blessed with hundreds of children from my classrooms, musical groups, and schools.
  • God continues to lead me each step in my life.  I trust in HIS plans because of His love for me. So…. here I am, teaching in the classroom again! So excited and blessed. God is good!


Junior High

  Christine Ryerson - Junior High Teacher

Since retiring from 35 years of teaching in the LuVerne, Ames and Des Moines school systems Mrs. Reyerson had the pleasure of substitute teaching at Mount Olive. Currently Mrs. Reyerson works half-time as the Jr. High reading and language arts teacher. She enjoys getting to know the students and seeing them on a more consistent basis, as well as watching them as they grow in their academics and faith. 
Mrs. Reyerson graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a  BA in Elementary Education and Special Education and a Masters in Education. Since moving to the Des Moines area she has been a member of Mount Olive and has enjoyed being part of Sunday school, VBS and Bible studies.
Mrs. Reyerson has been married to her husband, Mike, for 39 years and they have three adult children: Gregory, Joel and Stephanie.  Gregory lives in Manhattan, Joel and Laura and their dog, Henry, live in Phoenix and Stephanie and Steven and their dog Stella live in Brooklyn.  Mrs. Reyerson and Mike enjoy visiting them and look forward to when they visit Des Moines. 
Mrs. Reyerson likes to start each day with this Bible vers, Lamentations 3:22-23 "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness." It was also Gregory's confirmation verse. 

Junior High Weblink


  Tona Speltz - Junior High Teacher

Mrs. Speltz graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a degree in elementary education with an emphasis in middle school math and science. She taught first grade for one year in Minnesota before moving to the Des Moines area. She joined the Mount Olive Lutheran School staff in 2011, teaching physical education part time and then became the middle school math and science teacher in 2012. In 2014 she completed the colloquy program through Concordia, St. Paul and officially became a called teacher at Mount Olive.  

When she’s not teaching she enjoys reading, digital scrapbooking, watching sports (particularly the Iowa State Cyclones and the Minnesota Vikings) and playing with her four children, who also attend Mount Olive.

Junior High Weblink


  Tia Pugh - Art Teacher

Tia graduated from Concordia University, St. Paul with a degree in Parish Education & Administration. She served as a Director of Christian Education in Fairbanks, Alaska for 9 years and has lived in the Des Moines area since 2012. She is passionate about sharing the love of Jesus with students and teaching them how to develop their creativity and artistic skills. Her art classes focus on students as artists and the classroom as the art studio. 

Music & Band

  Aaron Powell - Music Teacher

Aaron Powell holds his Master’s of Music Performance in classical guitar from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (2003) and his Bachelor’s of Music Education from Simpson College (1999) where he also earned his K-12 Music Endorsement.  With the exception of his two years at UMKC, he has taught music to students in Kindergarten through the college-level music major each year since 1999.

Mr. Powell began his time at Mount Olive as the Director of Worship and Music in July of 2015 where he directs the Adult Choir and is the Worship Team Leader.  Aaron also works with Pastoral/Lay Leadership, Organists and volunteer musicians to assist in creating the spiritually (and musically) inviting worship services for the congregation and guests of Mount Olive Lutheran Church and School.

In the Fall of 2016, he accepted the opportunity to become part of the teaching staff, where the additional responsibilities of K-6 General Music, Director of Bands, and ensembles such as Youth Handbells and K-4 Choir are a part of his duties.  Mr. Powell is most looking forward to sharing his love of the cycle of music-making with the students of Mount Olive.  Interestingly enough one can find a parallel to the Holy Trinity in this process:  Discovering or Finding the Music, Learning and Preparing the Music, and Sharing /Performing the Music.  

His main instrument is the classical guitar, where he maintains an active private lesson studio and performance schedule.  Mr. Powell lives in the Union Park neighborhood of Des Moines with his wife Kim and daughters Nadia and Morgynne.  When it comes to Bible verses, there are many, but Psalm 150 sums it up best for Mr. Powell.


  Noemi Guerra - Spanish Teacher, Jr. High Religion

Mrs. Guerra was born and raised in Panama City, Panama, South America. She is the daughter of Panamanian missionaries Rev. Luciano Vega-Ayala and Dr. Brenda de Vega-Ayala. The Vega-Ayala family came to the US as missionaries in the year 2000. Noemi married Rev. Lincon Guerra in 2001 and they have 3 children: Joash, Lincon Aaron, and Lizzie Noemi. Mrs. Guerra has served as Sunday School teacher and coordinator, music director, and  church treasurer in Texas and North Carolina. She graduated from the Deaconess program at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. She is currently serving as a deaconess church planter at Pastor del Valle Lutheran Church in West Des Moines, where she leads the outreach program, music, children, and junior high ministries.

She joined Mount Olive Lutheran School as Spanish teacher in 2014. In 2016 she took on the responsibility of teaching religion to Mount Olive's junior high students.


Support Staff

  Lauren Prunty - Administrative Assistant, School Nurse

Mrs. Prunty attended Grand View University and received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree in 1997. She worked for a few years at Blank Children's Hospital in Oncology and then began working at a local Pediatric Clinic in 2001. In 2005 when her first child, Sam was born she went part time to stay home and take care of her children. Sam, Katy and Matthew all attend Mount Olive.

She started working at Mount Olive in 2015 and feels so blessed to be at school with her children. In her spare time she enjoys reading, running and watching the kids in their activities.

Her husband, Lawrence Prunty enjoys coaching boys basketball for Mount Olive and works full time at Unity Point in IT.   


Bob Zirkelbach - Business Manager

Bob Zirkelbach is ordained with the Presbyterian Church and has been a minister for 28 years. He has been married to his wife, Sandee, for 40 years. Together they have 4 children and 5 grandchildren.

Bob joined Mount Olive as business manager in May of 2015.  


  Evelyn Oltmanns - Before & Aftercare Program, Lunch Program Coordinator

More information coming soon!