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Great Teachers Inspire

Our tutors and staff in Johnston & Des Moines consist of passionate educators who love inspiring children to succeed. Warm, caring and great at relating to kids, our tutors in Johnston & Des Moines know how to engage and motivate each child in a personal way—building confidence and smiles, as well as skills and better scores. We selectively choose tutors who know local curriculum and can link Sylvan lessons to what’s being taught in school.

Get to know our tutors and staff in Johnston & Des Moines!

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April Samp

Co-Owner

April Samp is the proud Co-Owner of all four Sylvan Learning of Iowa Centers. April is a graduate of Iowa State University and invested many years into the communities where she lived by covering and investigating meaningful stories as a journalist and News Director. April worked in TV News/Marketing and Advertising for 25 years at stations like WOI-TV, KGAN/KFXA, KWQC and WHO in Iowa, KCTV and WDAF in Kansas City, WAVY/WVBT in Virginia and KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City. April’s love of education and everything it does for a person started very early. Both of her parents were educators. April and her son Cale live in Waukee and cheer loudly for the Cyclones and play golf whenever possible!

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Jody Simpson

Regional Director

Jody has been with Sylvan for over 20 years. Jody conducts conferences, assists families with their needs and ensures that our center is always upholding the Sylvan Pledge! She loves to build relationships with families and create life long partnerships. In her spare time (ha!) she volunteers at Van Meter schools, plays with her three kids, dog and husband!

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Katie Ruby

Executive Director

As Executive Director of the Sylvan Learning Center, Katie leads the center and community partnerships with initial family and community consultations,  manages the overall customer experience, and ensures high-quality operations are executed. Katie’s international education in both business and hospitality has allowed her to travel to several corners of the world. Through this international experience, she found a passion for helping children in their education while volunteering for several youth causes throughout her studies abroad. When Katie is not at Sylvan you’ll find her enjoying time with family and friends.

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Bree Koester

Director of Educational Growth and Development

Bree oversees the educational integrity of our programs, and manages and trains our team of tutors in Johnston. She studied Education at the University of Iowa and is a Certified Leadership Coach. She has four kids ages 8 to 17 & is working towards her Masters in Organizational Leadership at Grand View University. When Bree isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her kayaking with her husband, biking, disc golfing or traveling.

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Courtney Coakley

Director of Education

Courtney has been a substitute teacher in Urbandale, Johnston, Kansas City, and Clarksville, TN, & was also a preschool teacher on an army base in Missouri. She is excited to be back at Sylvan after a few years away. While Courtney has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in reading & math tutoring. She studied Elementary Education at Iowa State – Go Cyclones! When Courtney isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her spending time with her son, Easton.

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Abegail Hulgan

Program Manager

Abegail began with Sylvan of Johnston as an Administrative Assistant and is now the Community Outreach Program Manager. Her role consists of organizing and managing Sylvan’s after school programs in the area. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor’s in English and a Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Philanthropy. Outside of Sylvan she is an avid reader and often enjoys exploring her creativity through writing.

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Celeste McQuistan

Executive Assistant

Celeste, also known as CC! Is the Executive Assistant at Sylvan Learning Center of Johnston and Community Partnerships. CC assists the Directors with high functioning administrative work such as student and family scheduling and important customer services responsibilities. She also helps facilitate and organize community partnerships, keeping track of community programming, and officiating communications between Sylvan and community partners. She has recently graduated from Iowa State University and spends most of her time outside of Sylvan reading, writing, telling stories, and cheering for the Cyclones!

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Bob Geurink

Certified Teacher

Bob has been working at Sylvan for five years! He has taught in Iowa high schools for over 30 years, as an English teacher, the last 21 at Dallas Center-Grimes. He lives in Norwalk with his wife, Brenda, and their two youngest children 15,17 yrs. old). He also has two adult children.

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Jennifer Schafer

Certified Teacher

Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She’s owned a daycare, preschool, and is a published author. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with friends and family, listen to music, cook, and watch paranormal shows!

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Paige Hohensee

Sylvan Certified Tutor

Paige graduated from Iowa State University. Her favorite part about being a teacher at Sylvan is when tough lessons click for students and watching their confidence grow. When Paige isn’t at Sylvan you can find her spending time her her dogs, traveling, baking, or doing yoga!

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Jonette McQuide

Certified Teacher

Jonette is a substitute teacher in Grimes, IA who enjoys working with awesome kids. While Jonette has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in finding ways to corporate her love for science in tutoring both reading and math. She studied Elementary and Middle level Education at Illinois State University. When Jonette isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her on some outdoor adventure with her son and Golden Retriever or snuggled on the couch with a good book or favorite movie during the cold winter months.

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Elizabeth Van Camp

Sylvan Certified Tutor

Elizabeth is a tutor in Johnston, IA. While Elizabeth has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in Elementary math and reading tutoring. She is currently studying at Upper Iowa University. When Elizabeth isn’t at Sylvan, you can find her spending time with her two cats (Easter & Quinley), planning her next trip, and spending time with friends and family!

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Trinity Borland

Certified Teacher

Trinity is a tutor in Johnston, IA with a gift for working with kids. While Trinity has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in math tutoring. She studied at Wartburg College. When Trinity isn’t as Sylvan, you’ll find her gardening, playing games, or fixing up her house.

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Amy Sickels

Certified Teacher

Amy Sickels has been a teacher for 24 years. She taught for 18 years at Oviatt Elementary in Norwalk, IA., working in kindergarten and 1st grade. She is currently teaching at King Elementary in Des Moines, IA. as a K-5 reading and math Interventionist. She lives in Indianola, IA. with her husband Mark and 3 boys, Cael, Bryce and Grady. Her biggest reward in this profession is seeing the students faces when they start to make growth and build confidence.

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Melissa Brannon

Certified Teacher

Melissa is a training consultant in Des Moines, IA. While Melissa has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in reading tutoring. She studied at William Penn University. When Melissa isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her watching her son play baseball, reading, writing, or playing with her dog, Coco!

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Maya Jackson

Certified Teacher

Maya is a grad student at Iowa State University who has previously worked as a substitute teacher. While Maya has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in math tutoring. She studied at Central College in Pella, IA. When Maya isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her enjoying the outdoors, spending time with friends, or reading books.

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Grace Rubio

Certified Teacher

Grace is an in center instructor and an Ace it! instructor in Johnston, IA with a gift for working with kids. While Grace has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in reading tutoring. When Grace isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her reading, attending to her fish tanks, and writing.

Start your child on the path to academic success today

Give us a call at (515) 398-9845 or fill out the form to discuss your child’s learning goals.

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Call us today: (888) 338-2283

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(888) 338-2283