Support Staff

Amy Kissell

TLC Coach

P: 515-242-7589 | E:


My name is Amy Kissell, and I am the Instructional Coach at Scavo!  I have 18 years of teaching and coaching experience, all with DMPS.  I am looking forward to supporting and encouraging teachers as they grow and take risks in order to help increase student engagement and achievement.

I attended both the University of Iowa and Iowa State University as an undergraduate and received my Masters in Education from Viterbo University.  I continue to learn today through classes, books and experts in the field.

I reside in the city of Des Moines with my husband, Joel.  We have four dynamic children (all enrolled in Des Moines Public Schools) who keep us very busy:  Cooper, Maia, Max and Finn.


Carmon Rasmussen

School Counselor

P: 515-242-7589 | E:


I am so EXCITED to be part of the Scavo team! My path to Scavo has had many different twists and turns, but I'm confident that I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this point in my career.


How did I become a School Counselor…Well, interestingly enough, I didn't have a great experience with my own Guidance Counselor in high school. I remember setting up a meeting to talk about going to college. I wanted to learn more about Child Psychology. However, I got the message that "I wouldn't make it through college, and I probably should just get a job." WHAT?! I left that meeting very confused. I knew I wasn't an outstanding or perfect student, but I was ok. I got mostly B's, C's, and a few A's sprinkled in here or there. I failed one semester of Algebra, but not because I wasn't doing my best. I just wasn't sure what I was going to do.


I didn't decide to become a School Counselor at that point, I just knew I was going to go to college and graduate, despite what my counselor had said. So I did. I competed one year at Kirkwood Community College, then transferred to Iowa State University. During my undergraduate at ISU I was hired as a resident counselor, then a program manager at Beloit Children's Home in Ames, IA. It was hard to work full-time and go to school full-time, but the experience was invaluable. I graduated with my Bachelors in Liberal Studies in 1997.


Following graduation, I was hired to work with adolescents as a Substance Abuse Counselor at Youth & Shelter Services in Ames. I worked with adolescents and their families to begin the recovery process. My old high school principal heard about the work I was doing and called me. He had received a grant and wanted me to apply and interview for the position of Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention Specialist (big title, right). I did it, but didn't think I would be offered the position, nor did I really think I wanted to move back to my hometown. He offered me the position before I was back home in Ames. I thought about it, and decided to take a chance.


It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I loved working in a school. It was the first time that I was able to work with a student and actually know them more than a couple months. It was amazing to watch them grow, learn, and change. It is an experience that I will always be grateful for. However, it was a grant position. Grant positions end and the district did not have the funds to hire me as part of their general staff. So, they hired me on a part-time basis to work in their Alternative High School.


I knew I couldn't work part-time forever. I also knew that if I wanted to continue to work within a school, I couldn't depend on grant funding. I had to go back to school. I was nervous. I really didn't earn the best grades. I think I still questioned my academic abilities, but thankfully, a friend gave me the confidence to apply to the University of Northern Iowa. I applied for their School Counseling program and was accepted. I'm pretty sure that I cried the day I opened that letter. I was so happy!


I worked part-time at the Alternative High School, provided in-home counseling for families with another agency, and worked at Barnes and Noble during my graduate program. It was a lot of work, but it paid off. I graduated from UNI in 2006 with my graduate degree. Now I had to find a job!


I only wanted to work for one district, Des Moines Public Schools. I had one interview. I waited about 5 weeks, and I was offered a position with Des Moines Public Schools. Since then, I have worked at Hoyt Middle School and Garton Elementary School. Now, I couldn't be more excited to make the transition and be part of the Scavo team as your School Counselor.

Claire Lamb


P: 515-202-3884 | E:


After growing up in South Georgia, attending University of Alabama for undergraduate and graduate degrees of Social Work, and practicing in the Atlanta area for three years, I have recently relocated to Des Moines, Iowa. I have a true passion for assisting other in overcoming stressors and life experiences in order to be the best person they can be. I specialize in working with adolescents and young adults, specifically those who have experienced some sort of trauma. I am trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and am working towards full certification which will be completed in September 2016. I believe in a mind body healing approach and frequently incorporate expressive art therapy interventions, yoga, and mindfulness into the healing process in conjunction with evidenced based models such as EMDR, TF-CBT, and CBT. I am confident in my skill set to work with trauma, anxiety, depression and other mood disorders, school and life stressors, substance abuse, and phase of life issues. I have experience with comprehensive mental health assessment, trauma assessments, and individual and group therapy.

Ginger Blanchard


P: 515-242-7825 | E:


I received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of Iowa in 1984 and have been a school nurse with Des Moines Public Schools since 2005. As the school nurse at Scavo, my goal is to partner with students, parents, staff, and community resources to foster the overall well-being, academic success and health of the students. I enjoy facilitating a prenatal support group for pregnant students, collaborating with the FCS teacher in Personal Health and Development classes, teaching students CPR to fulfill their requirement for graduation, and serving on the Student Support Team.


Jeni Courtney


P: 515-242-7589 | E:


I graduated from UNI and have been working for the Des Moines Public Schools  SUCCESS program since 2000.

Jenny Ross

SPED Consultant

P: 515-242-7589 | E:


My name is Jenny Ross. I enjoy working with students and families and feel privileged to be part of the Scavo team.

When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and playing volleyball.

My motto - Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Jill Hartung

School Counselor

P: 515-242-7589 | E:


I graduated from Simpson College with a degree in Art Education and Arts Administration. I began my teaching and coaching career at CAL Community School in Latimer, Iowa. From CAL, I returned to school to complete my masters in counseling at Drake University where I also worked for the education department. I went on to coach and be a counselor at Sigourney Community schools, and then the Saydel school district. I have been a counselor with the Des Moines Public Schools for since 1996. I am here to help students with their academic and social-emotional growth as well as their future plans in school and beyond.


ACT information for all students.

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Mary O’Hearn

Success Case Manager

P: 515-242-7752 | E: mary.o'


I graduated from Iowa State University and have worked for Des Moines Public Schools since 1994.


Natalie Anderson

Social Worker

P: 515-242-7589 | E:

Ned Chiodo


P: 515-242-7863 | E:

Paula Rochon

SPED Associate

P: 515-242-7589 | E:

Qynne Kelly


P: 515-242-7589 | E:


My name is Qynne Kelly and I support/teach ELL students here at SCAVO. I have been an ELL Instructional Coach for two years with Des Moines Public and continue in this role this year with Central Campus, STEP, and Des Moines Alternative. Prior to coming to Des Moines, I was a German and ELL teacher in Waterloo, Iowa.

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in German Education from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville, a Master’s Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the University of Northern Iowa and have one year remaining until I receive my Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Iowa State University.

I have travelled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and North America and have even lived in Berlin, Germany as well as New York City. I am an avid runner, a soccer fan (Team USA and Bayern Munich), and I adore my two rescue miniature dachshunds named Booker and Ginger. I am ecstatic to be at SCAVO and proud to be a new member of this family!

Samantha Harms

Teddy Bear Town Director

P: 515-242-6591 | E:

Shawn Sanford


P: 515-242-7589 | E:

Tamara Cross

Success Case Manager

P: 515-242-7389 | E:


I graduated from University of Northern Iowa in 1995. I have been working for the SUCCESS program since 1999.