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Our Staff

Sprouts (Prep) Teachers


Rachel Weitzel

2-Day & 3-Day PreK Teacher

Mrs. Weitzel has been in Christian education for 16 years, and is a graduate of Pensacola Christian College. She feels so blessed to have the opportunity to teach the "littles" at Strong Roots! Teaching is her passion and her ministry.  She loves teaching children about shapes, colors, letters, and numbers....but most importantly...about Jesus! What a privilege it is to be called to plant faith seeds for the Lord each and every day. She and her husband Josh live in Indianola with their five children and three dogs! Her favorite past times include watching her kids participate in different sporting events, spending time with friends and family, playing games, and camping. She looks forward to serving the Lord, families, and students at Strong Roots Christian!


Kaycee Hoffman

2-Day & 3-Day PreK Associate

Mrs. Hoffman grew up in southwest Iowa as a farm girl and went to college at Iowa State University, majoring in art & design and advertising. She met her husband there and they now have four kids, who’ve attended Christian schools, been taught at home by her and attended public school for high school. For the last seven years she has been an aid for 3-5 year olds at a Christian school and also an art aid and librarian. She is excited to be a part of the Strong Roots family and help it grow while helping others grow their faith.

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Gretchen Kaldenberg

5-Day PreK Teacher

Mrs. Kaldenberg has served the Lord through Christian education for twenty years teaching a variety of grade levels, including pre-K and 2nd through 8th grade in multi-grade combinations. She loves teaching children the truth of God's Word and then seeing students apply it to different areas of their lives, no matter what age they are! Mrs. Kaldenberg and her husband reside south of Indianola in Medora and have one grown daughter. When she is not teaching, she loves to spend time with family and friends. Her favorite part of life is to study the Bible where she gets to be the student and continue to grow and be rooted in God’s Word. She chose to be a part of Strong Roots because she believes in those very words, t​​hat we should have “strong roots." Her desire is for students to have those strong roots not only in the​ ​Bible, but​ ​other areas that stem from that: academics, character, worldview, morals, values, and critical thinking skills.


Christy Alvarez

5-Day PreK Associate

Miss Alvarez, known to students as "Miss Christy", was raised in a Christian home in the Palm Springs area of Southern California. She graduated from Cathedral City High School in 1998. Shortly thereafter she attended her local community college to obtain her early childhood education credits. During this time, she had her first child and was actively involved in church functions. She began work at a local resort where she was able to put her talents to use as the resort’s activities development coordinator, creating a stimulating and creative atmosphere for each child who attended their kids camp program. Miss Christy ran the kids camp program for several years until changing positions, working for a local preschool where her daughter was attending classes. It was approximately 10-years ago when Miss Christy decided to move to Iowa for a better way of life for herself, and her now 3 children. She has continued her passion of working with children by taking a position in childcare at the YMCA, she then branched into a kid’s camp and youth sports coordinator. She enrolled her children in a local Christian school, where she soon began to work at their before and after school program. Christy loves the Christian school environment and promoting Christian values. She has dedicated most of her adult life working with children and their families, she is extremely excited and feels blessed to be part of developing a caring community where students, faculty and staff encourage one another with a Godly focus. She looks forward to what God has planned for the students and families of Strong Roots Christian School as well as herself.

Grade Level Teachers


Heather Veach

Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. Veach just completed her 25th year of teaching, all in Kindergarten or 1st Grade. She earned her teaching degree at Faith Baptist Bible College and feels it has been the greatest blessing to be able to serve her students and families through Christian education. She resides on the southeast side of Des Moines with her husband, John, and their daughter, Zoe, and they attend Ankeny Baptist Church. For fun Ms. Veach enjoys reading, thrift shopping, and organizing her home and classroom. She also loves spending time with her husband, grilling, watching Chiefs football, and playing board games.  Their goal is to open up a board game cafe/coffee shop someday in the unspecified future. She is excited about the opportunity to teach at Strong Roots Christian School and looks forward to teaching Kinders the basics of reading, writing, and math, but also teaching them about Jesus and how the Bible is essential to everything else we learn in life. 


Beth Kirkpatrick

1st Grade Teacher

Ms. Kirkpatrick graduated from Simpson College in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education and endorsement in early childhood and reading. She spent her first three years out of college subbing and then taught for nine years here in Indianola. Some of her favorite things in life include her family, friends, crocheting, and reading. She lives in Indianola, and is the second oldest of 13 siblings. Being a part of such a large family paved the way for ​her love of​ ​teaching. ​She is excited to be a part of SRC because ​she ​strongly value​s​ a Christian education and believe​s​ in teaching young children the simple truths of the Gospel. ​She​ love​s​​ ​working alongside the parents to help their kiddos grow in their relationship with Christ. ​Ms Kirkpatrick is excited to be a part of SRC!


Mackenzie Graham

2nd Grade Teacher

Mrs. Graham grew up locally in Indianola and graduated from Indianola High School in 2012. In 2017, she graduated from Grand View University with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She and her husband, Darrin, have been married for five years and have a two-year old daughter, Evangeline. Mrs. Graham began the first three years of her teaching career as a 3rd grade teacher, where she came to love teaching at a Christian school. She loves how she can be 100% herself because she gets to both teach and talk about Jesus! She is excited and feeling very blessed to be a part of Strong Roots Christian School. She looks expectantly to what God will do in the lives of our students, their families, and in the world!

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Amber Pedersen

3rd & 4th Grade Teacher

Mrs. Pedersen grew up in small-town Colorado near grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins which is where she attended church with family, heard the gospel, and accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior. After high school, she attended Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny and graduated in 2001 with a degree in elementary education and a middle school endorsement. She then taught for 12 years at a Christian school where she taught a wide range of grade levels; 7th and 8th grade, 4th grade, Physical Education, and 3- and 4-year old preschool. She was then married to her husband, David, and made the decision to move to the Indianola area. She briefly had employment in the finance world, but her heart led her back to teaching in a Christian school and she taught 4th and 5th grade locally the past 9 years. During that time, she and her husband welcomed their two children, Charlie and Grace. As a family they enjoy living in the country where they raise a few chickens, ride four wheelers, and love to sit by the fire on a cool evening. Mrs. Pedersen is excited to join the Strong Roots Christian team!


Monica Dickinson

5th - 8th Grade Teacher

Miss Dickinson, or as her students know her, Miss D, grew up here in the middle of Iowa and graduated from Pella Christian. She then attended Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, NE where she played on the collegiate basketball team and threw discus and javelin for the track team, as well as getting her degree in elementary education with a minor in coaching. She is entering her 15th year of Christian education. She has a wide range of experience with teaching everything from Transitional Kindergarten to 6th grade. She has loved each and every age group as they are each special in their own way. Most weekends you will find her either out on her boat soaking up some sun or sitting around the campfire with some of her younger siblings. She also loves to go four wheeling on the trails in Wisconsin, riding her fat tire bike, roller blading, or sitting down with a good book. She is so excited to be joining the Strong Roots Christian team and excited to see all the wonderful things God has in store for the school! 

Specials Teachers


Lori Williams

Art Teacher

Mrs. Williams always enjoyed playing school as a child with an old piece of wood as a chalkboard to instruct her imagined students. Fast forward through many years, and she attended Iowa State to pursue her desire to study interior design. However, the Lord had a more perfect way for her and had been preparing her with events in her life. She soon understood that although she loved art, her future lay in teaching, loving, and telling little ones of Christ's amazing love. After being a substitute teacher for a few years, her teaching path began with teaching at a church preschool. Her teaching days continued with teaching 1st and 2nd grade at a Christian school, doing what He wanted her to do, teaching, loving and telling little ones about Him and His perfect love. Now at this chapter in her life and becoming "Oma," or as her grandson calls hers "Owi," her path has changed again as she now wants to be a teacher for her grandsons and be an example of Christ's love to them. She loves teaching just a couple days a week so she can be Oma. Through the years after she stopped teaching full-time, events led her to begin teaching art .. and she loves it! Her other favorite activities are reading, animals, and her family .. but, her grandsons are hands-down her unsurpassed, quintessential, paramount favorite! She looks forward to serving Strong Roots Christian as an art teacher.


Ruthie Duey

Music Teacher

Miss Ruthie teaches music at Strong Roots Christian School. She grew up in Indianola and graduated from Indianola High School in 2021. She has a lot of experience leading worship at her church, performing, and writing songs. Miss Ruthie plays guitar and piano. She also loves to sing as well. She is super excited to be a part of the Strong Roots community, and looks forward to teaching kids about music and Jesus!

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Ryan Foust

Physical Education Teacher

Mr. Foust teaches Physical Education and has worked with students at Thrive Church in Indianola for nearly 20 years. He received his bachelor’s degree from Vennard College and Master of Arts from Trinity Theological Seminary.  He also worked in the public-school setting for 10 years at Wilder, Whittier, and Emerson.  When he is not working with students, you can find him coaching one of his two sons’ sports teams, spending time with his wife of 20 years, catching a run on the trail, or volunteering at several different non-profits.  He loves to travel, and truly loves the ocean. He loves the Hawkeyes and sometimes the Cubs and being outside in the summer.



Deb Lord


Mrs. Lord was raised in the southwestern Iowa town of Shenandoah but has lived in Central Iowa for over 40 years.  She attended Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs after high school and is a Certified Medical Assistant.  After serving in that capacity in Omaha, she moved into administrative and management roles and has worked in a variety of business and educational environments including higher education, transportation, recruitment and staffing.  For over 25 years she has been a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries and is involved in children's and adult ministries in her church. She and her husband Bob live in Indianola and have had a hand in raising 16 children.  Their nest is currently empty so now they enjoy their 16 (and counting) grandchildren. Her involvement in Christian Education began as a member of the coordinating team which established the first Christian school in Warren County and she served many years on the board of that school.  She is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve in this new work of God and loves being a part of the team involved in Strong Roots Christian School,


Karrie Tate

Office Assistant

Mrs. Tate grew up in the Reading area of Pennsylvania. She graduated with a Bachelor's in Music Education from Mansfield University and a Master's in Music History from Westchester University (both located in Pennsylvania).  She has taught music in various settings for over 40 years. She had taught in public and private schools in the Philadelphia area before moving to Iowa. She taught flute and piano with Simpson College, accompanied for DMMO and in the greater Des Moines and also plays piano and flute at her church. Currently she maintains a private music studio at home. She and her husband, Mike, raised two daughters who have now flown the nest. Now, she’s excited and thrilled to be a part of the Strong Roots Christian School community— definitely a blessing and welcoming environment!

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