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Meet Our Staff & Faculty

Sprouts (Prep) Teachers

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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!

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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.

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Becca Saal

5-Day PreK Associate

Mrs. Saal is from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a degree in Kinesiology. She earned her Masters in Sports Management from Northern Illinois University. Her first job was as an assistant volleyball coach and assistant strength coach at Simpson College in 2007. She met her husband, Preston Saal, at this time. She has coached collegiate volleyball and strength and conditioning for the past 15 years, the majority of it at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Ms. Becca and her family recently moved back to Indianola from Wisconsin. Her three daughters, Ruby, Ezra, and Willa, will be attending Strong Roots. Ms. Becca enjoys sports and exercising, being outdoors and spending time wiht her family. Ms. Becca is most excited to help teach hands-on activities at Strong Roots and show the students how we can use oour God given talents and abilities to serve him. 

Grade Level Teachers

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Heather Veach

Kindergarten

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. 

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Beth Kirkpatrick

Kindergarten

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!

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Cloudy Gonzalez

1st Grade

Mrs. Gonzalez grew up in a small town in Kansas and moved to Iowa to get her Elementary Education degree. While in college she met her husband then graduated and had three kids. She has taught 2-year-old preschool, 3-5-year-old preschool, Development Kindergarten, and Kindergarten. Life changed suddenly when her husband passed away so she went into substitute teaching in a both public and private preschool through 6th grade and specials for the past 5 years. She was married again in 2020 to a man named Alvaro and gained a stepdaughter. They now have 4 teenagers (2 Seniors and 2 Sophomores). Although Mrs. Gonzalez has been working part-time as a sub, God has been leading her and providing a way for her to join SRCS and return to full-time Christian teaching. She is looking forward to teaching first grade and all that God has in store for the coming year.

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Linsey Muller

2nd Grade

Mrs. Muller was born and raised in central Iowa, growing up in Carlisle. She graduated from Simpson College with her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, with endorsement areas of reading early childhood, and social studies, and minor in psychology. She has spent the last several years devoted to raising her four children and serving her family and community. From the title of mom, to coach, to doula, teaching has remained at the heart of her work. She looks forward to this opportunity at Strong Roots and feels very aligned to be teaching in an environment where she can teach about Biblical truth and God's love and truly teach the whole child. Mrs. Muller continues to call Warren County home and lives on an acreage with her husband and four children. You can find them riding bikes, at the ball fields, or at home learning about all things homesteading! Mrs. Muller and her family are looking forward to this new chapter and season of growth that God is leading them through. They are so excited to join Strong Roots Christian School and know God has great things in store.

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Anthony Chilton

6th & 7th Grade Teacher

Coming soon!

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Jennifer Gay

8th & 9th Grade Teacher

Mrs. Gay was raised in southern Iowa in Wayne County. She attended Graceland University to receive her Bachelor's in teaching and then Morningside College to receive her Master's. She has been a teacher for 15 years and has enjoyed teaching many different grade levels. She gave her life to Christ 22 years ago and has served in many areas of the church including: worship team, teaching Sunday School and Wednesday nights, leading Youth Group, and attending summer camps with her students. She is married to Brad Gay and has two sons, Keaton and Zech. Mrs. Gay is excited to follow God's leading to teach at SRCS and move to the Indianola area.

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Kari Borlaug

4th & 5th Grade Teacher

Mrs. Borlaug is honored and blessed that God has chosen her to serve you and the community at Strong Roots. She literally grew up in the Midwest with her father as a Pastor and explored many of the surrounding states, but she is a declared Husker fan! She has her reading, social studies, and instructional strategist (fancy way of saying special Ed) endorsements, along with her BA in youth and family ministry. She's been teaching for twenty years in the public school system, and during that time she always wanted to combine her two passions: faith and the teaching of God's love to all His people. She's a wife and mother with whom God has blessed her two daughters and one son. Her husband of twenty four years is also a teacher. The five mentioned above reside in Indianola with Ozzy, their teddy bear dog. Many blessings to everyone.

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Amber Pederson

3rd 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!

Specials Teachers

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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.

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Mary Caskey

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Ryan Foust

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Heather Moreland

Music Teacher

Mary Caskey, an Indianola local, has only recently returned to her hometown after six years serving in France with Greater Europe Mission. Her greatest enjoyment comes from creating, whether it is art, music, baking bread, making delicious food, or gardening. Mary regularly serves at Indianola Community Church on the worship team with drums, guitar, and singing. Her interactions with students in the classroom are not only influenced by her experience raising her own two children, but also through many years working in Christian camps and volunteering as a youth group leader. She is currently pursuing higher education in the area of childhood trauma and counseling as well. She looks forward to sharing her unique experiences and love for music with the students at Strong Roots. 

Band Teacher

Heather Moreland has returned to her hometown to teach band at Strong Roots Christian School! She has a music degree from Simpson College, where she majored in flute. She also earned a Masters in Arts in Teaching from Kaplan University. She became a Christian after attending church with her grandfather in the early 2000s.  Soon after, she felt called by the Lord to quit her work in accounting and pursue music education.  She founded her homeschool band in 2003 and accepted a position teaching instrumental music and worship team at Ankeny Christian Academy from 2005 to 2014. In addition to running her own music studio, she performs with the Greater Des Moines Community Band (flute and piccolo), and with the Greater Des Moines Adult Flute Choir. She is excited to bring her love of God and music to the students of Strong Roots!

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.

Support Staff

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Christy Alvarez

Floating 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 kid's camp program. Miss Christy ran the kid's 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 Indianola Wellness Campus, 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 development a caring community where students 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.

Kristin Woolverton

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Office Assistant

Mrs. Woolverton grew up south of Indianola and moved to Texas after she was married. She moved back to Iowa in 2012 and began serving as the Administrative Assistant for Redeemer Church in Winterset. She has two children that she has homeschooled for four years. both children will be attending Strong Roots Christian School this year! Kristin loves to spend time on the land God created. She enjoys growing vegetables and flowers, and taking care of her many childkens. She is excited to meet al the students and see how the grow in Christ throughout the school year.

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Danielle Skellenger

Aftercare Associate

Mrs. Skellenger has been a resident of Indianola for 23 years. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Buena Vista University. Mrs. Skellenger currently works full time at Wells Fargo as a lead fraud rep and will be joining the Strong Roots after school care as part time. She has a passion for kids as she will be rejoining Thrive church on Wednesday nights this school year as a 3-5th grade helper with Pastor Ed Grant and currently also serves as Assistant Director for Iowa Kids’ camp. When she is not working you can find her spending time with her husband, watching football- go Pack go, or hanging out with her niece and nephew. She is super excited to be a part of the Strong Roots Community!

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