Meet the Sonshine Preschool Staff

Sally Mills

Sally has been the director of Sonshine Preschool since 2009. She lives in Marshalltown and attends First Baptist Church with her husband, Tim. She has 2 adult children. Sally was previously a secondary teacher and homeschool mom. She earned her Child Development Associate (CDA) credential and is in the process of earning an ECE Diploma. “I love the nurturing, Christian environment that Sonshine Preschool provides. We know that preschool is a big step for children and parents, and we appreciate parents’ trust with enrolling their preschoolers in our program.” Sally’s favorite color is blue and her favorite foods are ice cream and pizza. “Going on a Bear Hunt” is Sally’s favorite children’s book.      

Jodi Norton

Jodi has been a Lead Teacher on the Sonshine Preschool staff since 2011. She teaches the 5-day class for 3-year-olds. Jodi is also part of the Extended Care Staff. She is originally from Conrad and lives in Marshalltown with her husband, Doug, and 2 children. Jodi has a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Education and Counseling. Jodi says, “I enjoy working with 3-year-olds turning 4-years-olds and watching them learn how to interact socially with each other. They are also eager to learn academically and I love teaching on their ‘fun level’. The hugs and love you get are the best bonus of all.” Jodi’s favorite food is Mexican but also loves ice cream and coffee. Her favorite color is lime green and her favorite children’s book is “I’d Choose You” and any Max Lucado children’s books.   

Michele Tweedy

Michele has been on staff at Sonshine Preschool since 2013. She was first a Lead Teacher for the 3-year-olds and is now the Lead Teacher for the 5-day Pre-K 4-5 year-old class. She lives near Gladbrook with her husband, Michael, and has 5 children. Michele is also a part of the Extended Care staff on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. She has been a homeschool mom and taught Sunday School for 2-4 year-olds for over 20 years. Her favorite children’s book is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”. Michele says, “I love the nurturing, Christian atmosphere at Sonshine. It’s a joy helping the children learn & grow.” Her favorite color is burgundy and her favorite food is chocolate. 

Natalie Perez

Natalie joined our staff here at Sonshine Preschool in 2015. She has been a Teacher Assistant and a Lead Teacher for the 3-4 year-old classes and she is now the Lead Teacher for the Jump Start group. She is also part of the Extended Care staff. Natalie and her husband, Gustavo, live in Marshalltown with their 2 sons. She previously worked for MICA Head Start where she helped in the Infant/Toddler room. Natalie’s favorite children’s book is “Going on a Bear Hunt”. Her favorite color is purple and her favorite food is tacos.

 

Jill Brockman

Jill and her husband, Jon, live in the Marshalltown area. Jill has been on staff here at Sonshine Preschool since 2015 but previous taught for the Marshalltown School District. Jill taught elementary-age children for 31 years. She is the Lead Teacher for the 2-day T/TH 3-4 year-old class. Her favorite color is green and her favorite foods are salmon & baked potatoes. Jill says, “I love the energy that children bring to the classroom. And I love that my students teach me something every day!” Her favorite children’s book is “The Little House” by Virginia Lee Burton.

 

Laura Edwards 

Laura joined the Sonshine Preschool Staff in 2018. She is the Lead Teacher for the 3-day MWF 4-5 year-old class. Laura has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Masters in Literacy Education. She previously taught in the South Tama School District but wanted to spend more time with her daughter, Avery, who is attending Sonshine Preschool. Her husband, Clayton, is also a teacher. Laura had a hard time choosing a favorite children’s book but ended up saying that her favorite was “Gus and the Firefly” by P.D. Eastman. Her favorite colors are pink and purple, and her favorite foods are fruits and vegetables! Laura’s favorite thing about working with children is “seeing their eyes light-up when they make a connection.”

Desiray Christen

Desiray joined the Sonshine Preschool Staff in 2018. She is the Lead Teacher for the 3-day MWF 3-4 year-old class. She lives in Marshalltown with her husband, John, and their 5 children. Before she had children, Desiray taught preschool for 3 years and while raising her 5 children, she continued to sub at various schools. Her youngest 2 children attended Sonshine many years ago. Desiray says that she “loves working with preschoolers and seeing them learn new things every day. I love to see their progress throughout the year and how much they grow academically, socially, emotionally and spiritually.” Her favorite color is purple, and her favorite foods are Taco pizza, anything from Chick-Fil-A, and Heath blizzards. Desiray’s favorite children’s book is “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”.

Julie Mannan

Julie is the Assistant Teacher for the Jump Start group. She has been a part of the Sonshine Preschool staff since 2006. She was born in the Marshalltown area and she lives with her husband, David. They have 2 adult children. Julie graduated from nursing school and worked as an OB nurse for 16 years before coming on staff at Sonshine Preschool. She says, “I have always enjoyed interacting with children so it was a perfect fit for my family and I.” Her favorite children’s books are “Pete the Cat” books; her favorite food is chicken fajitas and favorite color is fuchsia.

Daniela Ramirez

Daniela has been a member of Sonshine Preschool staff since 2012. She is the Assistant Teacher for the 5-day Pre-K 4-5 year-old class. Daniela is also the staff member of our Extended Care staff. She worked at MICA with childcare/preschool before joining our staff. Daniela is bi-lingual and lives in Marshalltown with her husband, Edwin, and 2 daughters. Her favorite children’s book is “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” or “Pete the Cat” books. Daniela’s favorite color is baby blue and her favorite food is snow crabs. Daniela says, “I love going on field trips and getting to know the families of the preschoolers.”

Shelly Smith

Shelly joined our staff in 2015 and is the Assistant Teacher for the MWF 3-day and the T/TH 2-day 3-4 year-old classes. She is also part of the staff for our Extended Care programs. She lives in Marshalltown with her husband, Scott, and they have 7 children. Shelly’s favorite children’s book is “Guess How Much I Love You”. Shelly worked as a lab tech for 14 years before staying home full time with her children. She says, “Motherhood has been my biggest teacher working with children. I also have worked with children of all ages, including Sunday School, hosting Bible clubs, volunteering at Good News Clubs, church nursery & youth groups.” Shelly’s favorite color is navy blue and her favorite foods are fruits and vegetables.

Loren Rosekopf

Loren joined the Sonshine Preschool staff in 2017. She will Co-teach with Michele for the 5-day 4-5 year-old class, leading on Tuesdays & Thursdays. Loren has worked with children her whole adult life from mission trips, homeschooling and church children’s ministries to working at summer camps. Loren’s husband, Jake, is the Youth Pastor at FBC, and they live in Marshalltown with their 3 sons. Loren’s favorite children’s book is “Tickler Monster” by Josie Bissett. Loren says, “I love the moment you see them understand a new concept for the first time. Their faces light up! It’s fun to watch them make a connection!” Her favorite color is green and her favorite food is guacamole.

Kat Good

Kat has been a member of the Sonshine Preschool staff since 2018. She is the Teacher Assistant for the 3-day MWF 3-4 year-old class. She has a degree from Indian Hills Community College and has worked at the Marshalltown hospital as a Radiology/CT Tech for 12 years. She has also volunteered with the church youth and nursery. Kat lives near Marshalltown with her husband, Benjamin, and their 2 kids, who are also attending Sonshine Preschool. Her favorite thing about working with children is that “they’re so honest! And they’re quick to love and forgive.” Kat’s favorite foods are soft chocolate chip cookies and coffee while her favorite color is green. Her favorite children’s book is “If You Give a Dog a Donut.”

Brandi Giannetto

Brandi has been a part of our staff since 2018. She is the Teacher Assistant in the 5-day 3-4 year-old class. Brandi worked as a Teacher Assistant here at Sonshine Preschool in 2004-2006 before moving to Ames where she worked with families and children at the WIC program. Her educational background includes an AA in Human Services. Brandi “loves watching children grow, learn and change throughout the year.” She lives in Marshalltown with her husband, Jay, and 5 children. Her favorite children’s book is “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” which she likes to sing with it. Favorite color is yellow and favorite foods are pasta, coffee & cheesecake.