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image not availableMarla Austin
8th Grade Language Arts

I am Marla Austin. I teach 8th grade language arts at Clear Creek Amana.

I grew up on a farm in Melrose, Iowa, and attended Albia HIgh School.   I received my teaching degree from the University of Iowa, and later obtained my master’s from Coe College.  I have endorsements in both reading and math.

I have been teaching at CCA for 14 years.  I have taught 4th/5th grade at Amana Elementary and 6th and 8th grade language at CCAMS.  Prior to teaching here, I held teaching positions in Cedar Rapids, Wausau, Wisconsin, Fort Dodge, and Russell, Iowa.  I have taught middle school reading, middle school science, and a variety of elementary grade level classes.  In addition I have taught  elementary gifted classrooms in a magnet school setting.

I live in Amana with my husband, Steve, and my two daughters, Clare and Ellen.  Clare is a junior at CCA, and Ellen is a 7th grader.  


Jody BandyJody Bandy
Assistant Principal

My name is Jody Bandy and I’m the assistant principal at Clear Creek Amana Middle School.   I grew up in Washington, Iowa with a brother, two sisters and my parents.  I graduated in 1982 from high school and then attended Central College in Pella, Iowa.

I graduated in 1986 from Central with an elementary teaching degree.  I also participated in football, baseball, track and rugby through my college career.  In football I played for a national championship and also played some football in Europe.  Upon graduation I began teaching in Humboldt, Iowa.

In Humboldt I taught Jr. Math and computers and was an assistant coach in football, wrestling and baseball.  I was on staff for 4 years and enjoyed the experience.  I then went to Perry, Iowa where I taught fifth grade self-contained classroom and was the head football coach.

I then went back to school at the University of South Dakota working on a degree in Athletic Administration.  While taking classes at the University I served as an elementary PE teacher at a local school and as a graduate assistant with the football team.  Upon leaving South Dakota I came back to Iowa married my wife of 23 years and taught and coached in the Cedar Rapids School system.

I taught math, science and served as a dean of students for the next 9 years at McKinley Middle School.  During this time my wife and I were blessed with two children.  Both children are graduates of CCA and are currently working on degrees at two universities.  Also during this time I taught science and coached in the Iowa City Community Schools District.

I became a part of the CCA family 10 years ago as the Assistant Principal and have coached football both at the middle school and the varsity level.  This will be my 30th year in the education field and am thankful that I am in a great district like CCA!

Melanie BeltzMelanie Beltz
Teacher Associate


Grant Elsbernd

Kim Blanchard

7th Grade Special Education Teacher

Hi, my name is Kim Blanchard and I’m the 7th grade special education teacher!  I have been teaching for 8 years and have been a member of the Clipper family for two years.

I was raised on our family farm outside the Quad Cities, and graduated from Sherrard Community Schools in 2005. After high school, I attended William Penn University where I majored in elementary education with an emphasis in special education and reading.  During my time at William Penn I also played softball.  

My first teaching position was at Twin Cedars of Bussey where I taught 7th-9th grade special education.  While at Twin Cedars I met my husband Chad, and we were married in 2012.  Shortly after getting married we moved to Southwest Iowa where Chad became a principal and I taught 4th grade special education at Glenwood.  After two years in Southwest Iowa we had our daughter Ayla and decided to move to Eastern Iowa so we could be closer to our families.  Upon moving I taught 7th-8th grade special education at North Cedar and Chad became secondary principal at Midland.  Over the past eight years I have also worked to continue my education. I received a masters in Teaching and Learning with Technology from Ashford University and a masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Iowa.  Today, Chad serves as a school improvement consultant at Grant Wood AEA.  

Our family currently lives in Lisbon with our 6 year old black lab, Roxee.  I look forward to helping each student reach their goals and I know we will have a successful school year.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

I look forward to another year at CCA and to working with a new group of students. Go Clippers!

Grant ElsberndNick Boeset


Reagan Boeset Reagan Boeset
6th Grade Science  

Hello!  My name is  Reagan Boeset and this will be my 4th year at the middle school and as a Clipper. Before arriving here at CCA I was a high school science teacher for five years.  Burlington Iowa is where I was born and raised before attending and graduating  from UNI with a degree in Chemistry Education as well as my Master’s in Science Education.  I have two awesome kiddos that keep my busy and on my toes. Beckett is almost 6 and attends North Bend Elementary and Harper is almost 4 and is in preschool this year. My husband Nick is also a Clipper and teaches 7th grade Physical Education. We are an active family who looks forward to attending Clipper events.

I have a passion for all things education and am headed back to school for my administrative degree. I look forward to a busy but exciting year with our biggest 6th grade class yet!

Lori BrechtLori Brecht
Teacher Associate


Mary BurgherMary Burgher
Family & Consumer Sciences

Hi, my name is Mary Burgher. I’m a Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher at both the high school and the middle school.  This is my seventh year teaching in the CCA School District.  I graduated from Amana High School many years ago.  I then graduated from Iowa State University in 1973.  

My first teaching position took me half way around the world to Adelaide, South Austrailia.  I spent 3 ½ years teaching there followed by four months traveling throughout Asia and Europe before returning home to Amana.  I’ve  also enjoyed many years as a Home Economist for Amana Refrigeration.  

My husband Tom and I reside in East Amana along with our two children.  Liesl is currently at senior at Coe College majoring in Elementary Education and will be student teaching this spring.  Fritz is a sophomore at Northwestern University majoring in Journalism and Political Science.  You can catch him marching with the NU marching band - they’ll be at the Iowa game this year.

Brian Burkhardt  Brian Burkhardt  

Brian Burkhardt is the Director of Vocal Music at CCA Schools. A graduate of Wausau West High School (WI) he went on to earn his B.A. from Luther College (Decorah, IA) in vocal and instrumental (trumpet) music education. Mr. Burkhardt went on to graduate study at the University of Iowa where he completed his M.A. in Music with an emphasis in vocal performance and choral conducting.

Mr. Burkhardt began his teaching career at HLV Schools in Victor, IA where he was the K-12 general and vocal music director.  He also directed the yearly musical productions at HLV and CCA.  During the summer months he worked as the Assistant Director of Operations for the American Institute of Music Studies (AIMS) program in Graz, Austria.

Mr. Burkhardt lives in Coralville with his wonderful wife, Kerri, and two terrific children Brandon and Karissa. When he is not busy with Scouting, coaching or watching his children's athletic or dance events, he remains a frequent performer and conductor in the professional music world.

Kathy CampbellKathy Campbell


Stephen Carey Stephen Carey
6th grade studen support

Hello. My name is Steve Carey and I have coached and taught since arriving at CCA in 2006. I grew up in a rural area with my parents and five older brothers and graduated from Paton-Churdan High School after participating in many sports and activities.

I attended St. John’s University in Minnesota and graduated in 1996. I then worked in youth ministry for five years in Minnesota. I moved back to my hometown to teach Social Studies and coach basketball and track for five years as well. I taught Social Studies when I first arrived at CCA and now I am in Student Support. I coach cross country, girl’s basketball, and track and field here at the middle school.

My wife Jen and I were married in 2010 and we live in Iowa City. Our two-year-old daughter, Nora, keeps us on the move. I look forward to another year at CCA. Go Clippers!

Steve ClarkSteve Clark
Industrial Technology


Carolyn CrawfordCarolyn Crawford
Lead Cook

Ben RobisonLara Crow
Teacher Associate



Dan DaviesDan Davies
6-8 Band

Hi everybody.  My name is Dan Davies. I am a 1975 graduate of Mt.Vernon Community School District. Interesting that  now I teach in the same school conference I grew up in (Go-Clippers! Beat the Mustangs). Oh, where was I... Anyway I graduated from college in 1979 and received my degree  in instrumental music from the University of Iowa! GO-HAWKS! (Of course I was a member of the Hawkeye Marching Band!). I taught band in Sumner IA from 1979-1985. Moved to Mpls.MN. Lived there from 1985-1988 ( ran a couple of marathons, did a long term substitution in special education music and also worked as a music sub in several Mpls. school districts). In 1988-1992 I taught 5-12 band in Coon Rapids IA . In 1992 I was hired here at CCA halftime and taught 5-6 band in Amana. I also started my Masters Degree program at UI in Music Therapy at that time. Eventually I became a fulltime MS band director  and discontinued my masters program. This pretty much brings me up to date with my education and teaching.

I play Flugelhorn in the “Eastern Iowa Brass Band” and play trumpet in a rock band called “Olds and the Mobiles”. I love music and am very proud to be a “Clipper”!!!!!!!!!! PS I am also now an “Opa”, which is the German slang word for Grandpa!

Lonnie DaytonLonnie Dayton
special education

Hello, my name is Lonnie Dayton. I teach 6th grade Special Education here at CCAMS.  I am starting my 3rd year year at the middle school after teaching at CCAHS for 7 years.  I grew up in the small town of Richmond, Iowa which is near Kalona, and graduated from Mid-Prairie High School in 1992. After taking some classes at Coe College, I completed the coursework in Elementary Education to earn a BA from the University of Iowa in 1997. After some substitute teaching and other endeavors, I returned to education at Morningside College to receive my Instructional Strategist I 5-12 Endorsement.

My sons, Joshua and Elijah live with me in North Liberty.  They are going into 7th and 3rd grades this year, respectively. Joshua goes to CCAMS and Elijah goes to North Bend Elementary.  They enjoy swimming, going to the Children’s Museum and sometimes going along for a few holes of disc golf.  

Ben RobisonStacie DeVore


Grant ElsberndGrant Elsbernd
Middle School Counselor

Hello, My name is Grant Elsbernd and I have been the 6th-9th grade School Counselor at Clear Creek Amana since 2012.  I grew up on a dairy farm near Calmar, Iowa and graduated from South Winneshiek high school in 2004.  I then attended Coe College where I received my Bachelor's degree in Sociology and Communications in 2008. I then attended UNI and completed my Master's degree in School Counseling in 2010. I began my educational career as a K-12 Counselor in the West Bend-Mallard School district in 2010 and became a clipper in 2012!

In addition to school counseling I am also an assistant speech coach at the high school.  

Please note that I split time between the high school and the middle school.  This year I will usually start my day at the high school and make it over to the middle school by about 10:00 am.  Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.  

Pat FlahertyPat Flaherty
5th & 6th grade Instumental Music

Hello, all, my name is Patrick Flaherty and I am the Elementary Band Director at CCA and teach lessons at the Middle School for 7th grade. I have been a Band Director since 1977 (it is too scary to count up all those years so I don’t!) and still enjoy making and teaching music.

I grew up on a farm outside Fairfax, IA and went to school in Fairfax and Cedar Rapids. I graduated from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon with a Music Ed. Degree and have been teaching music ever since. My first 2 jobs were 5-12 band jobs, I subbed for 7 years in the C.R. area and have been at CCA since 1990.

Working on the family farm has been a good balance for me and I now live in the same house I grew up in! Our family consists of my wife of 25 years Lisa, sons Daniel (17), Dylan (15), daughter Kate (11) and tail-ender Jesse(5). We all enjoy music in different ways but it seems to be an important part of our family life.

I am in lots of buildings during a normal week but you can reach me easiest by email: As you can see by my kids ages, I will be doing this for quite a while and am proud to be able to continue my teaching career here at CCA. Go Clippers!!

no picture availableKyle Forness

Hi, my name is Kyle Forness, and I am a 6th grade science teacher at CCA. This will be my first year as a teacher and a Clipper! I am from Waterloo, Iowa where I attended Waterloo Columbus High School. I have been involved with athletics in the the Iowa school system for the past eight years. This path brought me to obtain a career in teaching in which I received my endorsement from Upper Iowa University in Science. I am soon to be married on August 8th 2015 to Caitlin Wessels, and together we have an Olde English Bulldog named Mia.

I think every student has the ability to be successful, but their path will always be different. As a teacher, I believe I need to continue to try and dedicate myself to having every student be successful by finding that path. I played four sports in high school and wrestled in college at Buena Vista University. I have helped with several athletic programs in the past and plan to participate with even more programs in the future. I am a huge Boston Red Sox fan and had the chance to attend the World Series in St. Louis in 2013.

I feel privileged to be a part of a great school and staff at CCA. I plan on being a small part in the great future for our students for years to come. I want every student to come out of my class saying they’ve enjoyed it in someway.  I can’t wait to meet everyone at CCA!

Kyle Forness


Brad FoxBrad Fox
Be added to Mr. Fox’s distribution list

Hello CCA,

My name is Brad Fox and I’m the principal at Clear Creek Amana Middle School. I grew up in Colfax, Iowa with my two younger brothers and my parents. My dad was a 30 year plus teacher and coach at Colfax-Mingo. I graduated in 1986 from Colfax-Mingo.

After high school I attended Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa where I played on the golf team. In 1988 I graduated from Indian Hills and transferred to Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. I once again was on the golf team at HSU graduating in 1990 with a BSE in Special Education and Physical Education.

I started my teaching career at Center Point/Urbana as a high school special education teacher in 1991. I also coached varsity baseball and golf at CPU along with junior high basketball. In 1996 I was fortunate enough to land a teaching position at Clear Creek Amana. During my time at CCA I have been the middle school at-risk coordinator, assistant principal, and for the last 10 years the middle school principal. I also have coached football, basketball, and golf at CCA.

I live outside of Amana with my wife Heather and our three children; Cameron (10th grader), Riley (6th grader), and Carson (4th grader). Heather is the librarian at Amana Elementary. We added a new member to our family this past summer when we adopted a Shih Tzu/Yorkie puppy named Moose. In my free time I enjoy time with family, playing golf, coaching youth sports, and following the Clippers and Hawkeyes!

I truly believe Clear Creek Amana is the best school district in Iowa and I’m proud to work here and have my children attend CCA! Go Clippers!

Brad Fox Contact Information


Office Number: 319 545-4490

Cell Number: 319 330-6316

no picture availableJen Fuller
6th grade Reading/Writing

I joined the CCAMS two years ago after being at the Oxford Elementary for 13 years.  There I taught Reading Recovery/Title I for 8 years, and then switched to 5th grade. I love teaching all areas, but have my endorsement in Reading and really understand how to get kids to be better readers in the time I have them.  

I grew up mainly in Illinois, where I graduated from a small town in 1990, and then went on to Central College and graduated in 1994. I also have coached volleyball at the college, HS and MS levels, and track at the MS & HS levels after participating in both in my MS, HS and college days.  I played and earned MVP awards 3 of my 4 years at Central College in Pella, Iowa on the volleyball team and was named “Most Valuable Newcomer” my freshman year in track.

My family consists of my husband of 20 years, Tom, two daughters McKenzie and Taylor, and a son Ty.  All four of them keep me very busy, but when I’m not doing some sort of running around after them, I love to run, play volleyball, garden and read! I am known as passionate and honest, so if you need an opinion, you can come ask me.


Theresa GraffTheresa Graff

Beth HahnBeth Hahn
Student Support/STEM

Hello, I’m Beth (Struzynski) Hahn, and I am in the position of student support here at Clear Creek Amana Middle School. I am a native to this area and this school district. I grew up on a farm north of Oxford, Iowa and graduated from Clear Creek Amana in 2006. I then attended the University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, IA) and graduated in the fall of 2009 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Elementary and Middle Level Education with a minor in Mathematics Education. I was hired at CCA in 2010 as a math teacher, teaching 6th and 7th grade math in the past, as well as a STEM exploratory course.  I will be starting my sixth year of teaching.

I got married 4 years ago to Ryan Hahn, another former CCA grad. Ryan is an agronomist at Stutsman’s in Hills, IA. Ryan and I now have the honor to claim the title of “parents” as we welcomed our first child James to the world this last April (4-6-15).  James is awesome!  He makes us laugh everyday and is the most spoiled kid thanks to his grandparents and family/friends.  We live in an old farmhouse outside of North Liberty with our dog Lucy.  I spend what little free time I have now with family and friends.  I enjoy cooking/grilling, gardening, shopping, and playing Euchre.

I feel very blessed to have been able to attend Clear Creek Amana as a student, and now, to be able to work with such great staff, students, and community members.  It’s amazing to see how much we’ve grown as a district in ten years.  I’m excited to see what the future has in store for us! Go Clippers!

Please feel free to contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns,

Beth Hahn

image not availableHolly Halstead
7th Grade Math

Hello! My name is Holly Halstead, and I am teaching 7th grade math!  I am new to CCA this year and am so excited to be a Clipper! I grew up in Hudson, IA with my parents and two younger sisters.  I graduated from Hudson High School in 2011. After high school, I attended Wartburg and recently graduated this past May. I played basketball all four years and was a two-year captain. I truly value the relationship between extracurricular activities and academics. I am very passionate about working with students. I enjoy inspiring students to achieve their goals and develop lifelong skills that will help them be successful in life. In my free time, I love spending time with family, exercising, basketball and art.

I look forward to a great year! Feel free to contact me anytime! Go Clippers!


image not availableLisa Herring
special ed associate

My name is Lisa Herring, and I have been a special ed aide/associate for the Clear Creek Amana school district for 20 years. I have been an aide at every level, and enjoy my job. I live in Tiffin with my 4 children, our dog Sparkles and our cat Sunshine. My oldest son Shane will be in 6th grade this year at CCAMS. My son Noah will be at fifth grader at Tiffin Elementary. My daughter Kiya will be a third grader, also at Tiffin Elementary. My youngest daughter , Loralee (Lola), will start Kindergarten this year at the new elementary.

I grew up in the Oxford/Tiffin area, and attended Clear Creek schools before the merge with Amana. I look forward to a new adventure at CCAMS this year.

image not availableAmanda Hesseltine

8th grade science

Hi, my name is Amanda Hesseltine and I teach 8th grade science! I grew up in Algonquin, Illinois and attended Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. Several high school teachers and a study abroad term in Latin America inspired me to become a teacher. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology secondary education, and then I taught high school biology and general science for five years in the Quad Cities. After getting married, I spent a year in Ankeny long-term subbing. Then my husband and I had the opportunity to move back to Eastern Iowa and we are so thrilled to be back!

We now live in Iowa City with our golden retriever mix named Jackie. I enjoy being outdoors hiking, biking and running. I also enjoy traveling, trying new things and experiencing different cultures. My goal is to inspire my students to develop their skills and scientific knowledge. I hope to develop future leaders that will make a lasting positive impact on society. I am so excited to join the Clipper family!

image not availableMatt Hoch

8th grade science


Hello. My name is Matt Hoch. I will be one of the two 8th grade math teachers for this upcoming school year. This will be my first year of teaching and I am very grateful to have an opportunity to work in a school district that has a strong sense of community. I am a passionate math educator who learned the value of education at my alma mater, Harlan Community High School.

After graduating from high school in 2010, I moved south to Columbia, Missouri. I attended the University of Missouri as a student-athlete where I juggled both academic and athletic demands. During my time at Missouri, I excelled in the classroom and on the football team and was an active member in the Columbia community. I attended Missouri for five years as I was redshirted athletically in my first year of schooling. While at the University of Missouri, I attained my Bachelor’s in Middle School Math and Science Education. Following this degree, I decided to complete my Master’s in Education with a focus in Counseling Psychology.  I finished this degree this past July.  

In addition to teaching in the classroom, I will also be coaching on the football staff this fall. I am currently working as an assistant football coach where I work directly with the defensive lineman. In my spare time, I love spending time with my new wife, Mary, watching movies, going fishing, and attending sporting events. I am looking forward to a great year as a Clipper as I begin my journey as a teacher and a coach.

If you have any questions or concerns about anything, feel free to contact me.

Jessica HuchJessica Huch

6th grade Reading

book recommendation blog:

I’m Jess Huch, and I teach 6th grade reading and writing (under the class name of language) at Clear Creek Amana Middle School. I have taught in the Clear Creek Amana district since 2000, right after I graduated from UNI. For the first ten years at CCAMS I taught both reading and language arts. When the middle school moved over to Tiffin for the 2009-10 school year, I began focusing on reading only. In 2014, I was happy to be back to teaching reading and writing, as well as Read 180, for 6th grade.

I know that I am a bit biased, but I believe that the ability to read and write well is the most important accomplishment our students can achieve. I also know, through personal experience, that every kid can do these things. I look forward to being the bridge to success in these areas for my students.

Shortly after the end of my first year I got married, and my husband Pete went back to school to the University of Iowa to become a teacher. He is now the English 9 and English 10 teacher at the high school.  In 2006, our daughter Grace was born. She is a fixture at the CCA football and softball games. She is an avid swimmer, so I spend a lot of time at the pool. She also loves to be on stage and has been in the last five high school musicals.  Following in her foot steps, is our daughter Parker. PJ (Parker Jane) was born in 2013. I am excited to have two of my very own Clippers!  I spend a lot of my free time chasing after both of them, but when I get the chance, I read a lot of books and love to learn about and try out technology. We  live in High Amana.

image not availableJosh Kaarsjens
7th Grade Math


My name is Josh Karsjens and this is my 2nd year at CCA! This will be my 10th year of teaching and I’m really excited about this school year. I graduated from Wartburg in 2006, I played football and competed on the track team as a field event specialist. I taught for three years at North Tama, and then five years at Linn-Mar.

My wife, Alycia, works for the U or I Emergency Room as a social worker. We married in 2010 and now have two girls, ages 3 and 1. We enjoy family time very much. I especially love my summers home with the girls!

I enjoy being active. I coach both Jr. High football and track here at CCA. During the school year I spend most mornings in the High School weight room. On the weekends I will run the occasional 5k with my wife. I push a double jogger with the girls and try not to be last! When I’m not active I enjoy movies, video games, Netflix, and naps!

image not availableDanielle Krumme

6th Grade Math

Hello CCA, my name is Danielle Krumme and this will be my 2nd year as a Clipper.  Last year, I was given the opportunity to serve students as a 6th grade math teacher.  This year I will be given the great opportunity to serve teachers and students as an instructional coach for the district.  I will be located at the Middle school, so please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can help in any way.  

Before coming to CCA, I lived in Kansas working as a teacher in an Elementary and then a 6th grade Academy.  I graduated from Washburn University with an undergrad in Elementary Education accompanying an emphasis in Middle School Math.  Later on, I graduated from Emporia State University with a graduate degree in School Administration and a graduate degree in Curriculum and Instruction.  After getting married last Summer I moved to Cedar Rapids for my husband’s job with Hertz Construction Rental. This Spring, we bought our first home in the same area.  We love living near Clear Creek Amana and getting involved with the community.  We can not wait to see what the future holds.  

In our spare time my husband Jack and I enjoy traveling, being outdoors and spending time with family and friends.  If it’s warm outside you can usually find us on the lake enjoying our wave-runners or playing softball on a summer league.  It may not be quite as competitive as my college softball days, but we love getting to know others and having a good time.  I am thrilled to start this new journey as an instructional coach serving the CCAMS community of students and staff.  Please feel free to email me if you have any questions, I look forward to meeting you all.
Danielle Krumme
319 545-4490

image not availableJackson Litterer

6th Grade Math

Hi, I’m Jackson Litterer, and I am a 6th grade math teacher at CCA. This is my first year of being a Clipper, and I could not be more excited about the opportunity. I am originally from Waverly and graduated from Waverly-Shell Rock in 2011. My dad is currently the Athletic Director at W-SR and is in his 29th year of being in the education system. Education has always been a high priority in my family, and being a teacher has been my dream since I was young.

I am a big believer in students being involved throughout their academic careers as I was a 4-sport high school athlete and also sang in the school choir. I graduated this past May from Wartburg College with my BA in Elementary Education and endorsed in Middle School Math and Science. While attending Wartburg, I played football for two years and baseball all fours years.

I have been a volunteer football coach at Waverly-Shell Rock the past two seasons and I just finished coaching sophomore baseball at W-SR. I also have been a baseball, wrestling and basketball official for the IAHSAA and IGHSAU for the last 5 years. Any other time I am free, I love to help with youth athletics, go on runs, listen to music, play disc golf, and live an active, healthy lifestyle. I am a BIG CCA Clipper, Wartburg College, Iowa State Cyclone, Minnesota Vikings, and Chicago Cubs fan.

I feel very fortunate to have received the opportunity to be a part of the CCA School District, especially right out of college. I have no further intentions other than to be a Clipper for a long, long time and help lead our students to be smart, strong members of society.

Feel free to contact when any questions or concerns arise. Go Clippers!

Mike McCueMelody Livengood
Teacher Associate

image not availableTom Milligan
Teacher Associate


This is my 3rd year working for CCA as a classroom Associate. Although at this time I don’t know exactly what my assignment will be I look forward to working at the Middle School. My first 2 years were spent at Amana Elementary working mostly with K-1 as well as one on one special ed.

My career has been spent in the theater world working in Iowa professionally for over 40 years as an actor, director, scenic designer and producer. My wife Deb Kennedy and I still continue to work in that field with one of our favorite projects always being producing Dinner Theater at The Ox Yoke Inn in Amana each winter. Stay tuned for details.

I also look forward to being the new director and tech guy for the 2 productions at the high school this coming year. My theater career is filled with working with kids as well as educational driven projects with historical references.

I’m originally from Des Moines, moved to the area in 2008 and now live in West Amana. I have 2 fully grown kids with a son who has followed me into the theater as a sound tech and designer working out of New York.

As I have told all at CCA who I have worked with, this is all new to me but I’m willing to do anything and everything to get the job done. All you need to do is just push me in the right direction and say go. I look forward to meeting and working with you when the new year begins.  Remember……..push.

image not availableJen Panther
Media Specialist/Technology

Hello, my name is Jen Panther.  I am very happy to be a part of the CCA family since 2010.  I started my career with CCA as a paraeducator at the Middle School.  I was then blessed to be the Media Specialist at Clear Creek Elementary for two years.  In 2013 I made the move back to the middle school to support the library and its growth, as well as assist in getting the middle school ready for the 1:1 Initiative that we took on this year.  I was also asked to help our students with 21st Century skills in Technology.  The scope of my teaching will change a bit for this year, since I will be evenly split between 6th, 7th, and 8th grade.  My schedule will change every 60 days but I also look forward to continuing to serve the Middle School Library.

I have only been teaching since 2010 after staying home with my two daughters until they both started school.  Before that, I worked for the HON Company in Muscatine.  I received a Bachelor of International Business degree in 1997 and worked in that field until 2003.  In 2007 I returned to the University of Iowa to obtain my Education degree, with additional endorsements in Reading and Social Studies.  I graduated from the University of Nebraska at Kearney with a Teacher Librarian/Media Specialist degree in May of 2013.  

My husband Ed and I live in North Liberty with our two daughters, Emma and Jillian, both students at Regina.  We are active in our neighborhood, our church and our daughters activities. My brother, Jason, also lives with us.  He is unable to live on his own due to a traumatic brain injury when he was 20.   We also have a wonderful Beagle/Fox Hound mix named Gable.  We enjoy being outside, mainly hiking and recently running.  We attend all Hawkeye home games and I am also an avid Penn State fan.  My other interests include reading, blogging (when I have time), entertaining, traveling, cooking, and visiting my parents in Florida (Fort Myers) during the chilly Iowa winters.  
CCAMS Library Blog

Molly WaitMolly Ray
6-8 Art


Heya, I’m Molly Ray. I have been at CCAMS for 4 years and I am originally from Montezuma Iowa. I attended Northwest Missouri State University for my BS in Art Education K-12, I also have my Talented and Gifted Endorsement from University of Iowa. I love teaching art and stay up to date in my profession by volunteering for the Art Educators of Iowa, part of the National Art Education Association. I have an Art Club that I work with after school that keeps me busy! I live in Tiffin, with my Husband Kary, and our 3 children. I enjoy spending time with my family and animals, I love to read, exercise, and garden.

Ben RobisonElizabeth Rhodes

7th Grade Language Arts

Hi, I am Elizabeth Rhodes and I am looking forward to beginning a fourth year of teaching 7th grade Language Arts at CCA Middle School!  I grew up near Kalona, Iowa and attended Mid-Prairie Schools and then graduated from IMS in 2005. After high school, I attended Goshen College in Goshen, IN where I earned my BA in English and Secondary Education. I completed my student teaching in High Ability 7th grade and 8th grade Honors Language Arts classes at Goshen Middle School. After completing a temporary teaching position with 8th grade LA in Elkhart, IN, I moved back home and began subbing at CCAMS and officially joined the school family in 2012.

My husband Steven and I were married in 2011 and we now live near Wellman. Steven works as a Spanish interpreter for the Iowa court system.  In my free time, I enjoy exercise, music, art, garden, travel, and time spent with family and friends. And of course, I love to read and write!

I want to help each student be successful this year. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.


Ben RobisonShelia Roe
Teacher Associate



Ben RobisonBen Robison
Middle School Health and PE

Greetings. I’m Ben Robison, and I have been teaching at Clear Creek Amana since 2012. I originally hail from the booming metropolis of New Virginia, Iowa and attended Interstate 35 High School. I am a 2010 graduate of Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, where I majored in Physical Education. While at Simpson, I was a Cross Country and Track & Field Athlete for the Storm until I sustained career-ending injuries during my Sophomore year. At that time, I found my love for teaching and coaching. While coaching at the college level, I earned my Masters Degree from Drake University in 2012, and I hold certifications from USA Track & Field and the USTFCCCA.

Along with teaching, I coach Boys’ Cross Country and Track & Field at CCA High School. I also serve the Iowa Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance as the Association’s 2015-2016 President.  

Jill SanteeJill Santee
7th Grade Language Arts

Hello, I’m Jill Santee, the 7th grade reading teacher at the Clear Creek Amana Middle School. I am originally from the small town of Bode, IA where I graduated from Twin River Valley High School in 2001.  After my high school graduation, I continued my education at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa where I graduated in 2003 with an Associates of Arts Degree.  From there I then transferred to the University of Northern Iowa where  I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Elementary Education in 2007.  I was fortunate to become a member of the Clear Creek Amana staff directly out of college eight years ago.

I live in Coralville with my husband, Jason and daughter Piper and will be welcoming a new baby in December.  In my free time I enjoy reading, traveling and spending time with family.

Please feel free to contact me.

Jessica SauerJessica Sauer
6th grade Social Studies Teacher

Hello!  I am beginning my 15th year teaching 6th grade at CCA.  I have taught Reading, Writing, Social Studies, and a little bit of Math, but have been teaching only Social Studies for the last many years!  I grew up in Wisconsin and went to college at Carleton College in Minnesota where I was a Chemistry major with an Educational Studies concentration.  I was in the Peace Corps and taught English, Geography, Math, and Physical Science in Namibia for two years before moving to Iowa and getting my K-6 teaching certification.  I’m currently at work on a Master’s Degree with an added endorsement in 5-12 Literacy.  I agree with Mrs. Huch that reading and writing are some of the most important skills we can help students develop and I am excited to continue to add more reading and writing into my Social Studies class.  In addition to teaching, I lead the middle school Student Council and direct the school play.  I love reading, photography, and travel and try to get a lot of all of them in over the summer!  I lead a group of students to Washington DC every two years and also do a good amount of traveling without students.  This summer I went to England and spent a week at a teacher seminar in Cambridge with the topic “Why History Matters”.  I started a blog this summer for one of my classes and have as a goal about one post per week once school starts.  Link is below.

I’m looking forward to a great year!  Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.



image not availableStephen Smith
Special Education Teacher
Grades 6-8


Hello! I am Steve Smith, a special education teacher at the middle school.  My role on the special education team is teaching academics as well as social skills and life skills to small groups of students outside of the general education classroom.

I am currently entering my 13th year of teaching and have spent 9 years with the Clear Creek-Amana School District. I have served students with a variety of needs in different classroom settings at the elementary and middle school level.  In the past, I have also coached football and basketball.

I have spent most of my life in Iowa. I graduated high school in Washington, Iowa. Four years later, I earned my Bachelor's degree at Luther College where I also played football and basketball.  I have also earned a Master’s degree through Morningside College in special education. I continue to take classes through the University of Iowa.

My wife, Andrea, is also a special education teacher for the Iowa City School District. Together we have 3 children, Sawyer (7), Veda (5), and Truman (1).  We live in North Liberty and plan to raise our children in the CCA School District.  

I enjoy going to Iowa games, playing music, being active, and spending time with my family and friends.

My philosophies in education include valuing relationships, developing and growing students’ passions, and focusing on student learning. I believe technology is our student’s “pencil.”  And I feel that my students’ success is my success.

Feel free to contact me!

Steve Smith

image not availableBecca Strasser
Special Education

Hello! My name is Becca Strasser. I am the 8th grade Special Education teacher. I started my college career at Kirkwood Community College and received my Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts. I then transferred to University of Northern and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education with Mathematics(K-8) and I received my Reading Endorsement from Morningside College. I am currently taking classes at Morningside College to receive my Instructional Strategist I K-8 Endorsement.

After graduating college I was a substitute teacher then landed a full-time job as a Teacher Associate at Clear Creek Amana Middle School. I am excited to be starting my 2nd year of teaching at CCAMS as a Special Education teacher. I can’t wait to provide all students with support and resources that they need in order to be successful learners in and outside of the classroom.

I grew up in Williamsburg with my parents, 1 sister, and 4 brothers. I have 6 nephews so to be 7 nephews and 3 nieces.  In my free time I like to sew, hangout with  family and friends, coach, and use my Cricut to make crafts. I would like to get back into coaching activities once I’m done with attending Morningside College.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.


Ben RobisonNicole Swanson
Teacher Associate

Hello Everyone,

My name is Nicole Swanson, and this will be my third year as a Special Ed Associate within the CCA district. I grew up in South Chicago, but moved to Iowa City after high school to attend the University of Iowa, where I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology & Audiology and a minor in American Sign Language in 2011. I have since decided to pursue my master’s degree in School Counseling at the secondary level, and am looking forward to reaching that goal this year!

My husband, Eric and I got married in June 2014 and currently live in Oxford. My husband owns a local landscape and hardscape company and is a competitive bass fisherman, so free time is often limited, but we absolutely love traveling and the outdoors and spend much of our time camping, hiking, fishing, etc. We also have two dogs, Maggie and Layla (we adopted Layla this summer) who like to join us on our adventures! We love spending time with friends and family, and travel to Chicago often to visit my family. I also like to destress by doing Zumba, photography, and cooking.

Working as a Special Ed associate is challenging, yet very rewarding, and there is never a dull moment! As this summer comes to an end, I look forward to what the new school year will bring.

Joe TaylorJoe Taylor
7th grade Social Studies

Hello, my name is Joe Taylor, and I am very excited to be teaching here at CCAMS! I grew up in the small town of Riceville, which is in Northeast Iowa. Through high school, I was a multi-sport athlete and active in both speech and choir. I graduated in 1999 and moved on to Winona State University to study business and finance.

 I took a short break during my sophomore year, while I joined the United Stated Army Reserves. In 2003 I was called to serve in Operation Iraq Freedom where I served 18 months in Baquabah. Upon returning from Iraq, I had a major change of heart, and I changed majors to Education, History, and Coaching. (Thank you GI Bill!)

I graduated in 2008 (I guess that I was on the 9 year plan) and married my wonderful wife Renae shortly after. We then moved to Alaska, where I took my first teaching job. After 2 wonderful years in AK, we decided that it was time to move back to the Midwest. I am on my 5th year of teaching, as I have taught 6th, 3rd, 5th and now 7th grade! I am looking forward to a wonderful year of teaching and coaching here at CCAMS!

Angela TjadenAngela Tjaden
8th Grade Social Studies

Originally from Cedar Rapids, my husband and I moved to the Amana Colonies in 1999. Prior to entering the teaching field I worked for the Amana Heritage Society as program director for 8 years. When my daughter was born, I decided to pursue a teaching degree. As she enters 8th grade, this year will be my 9th at CCA.

I have a BA in History with a minor in Anthropology from the University of Northern Iowa and a BS in Secondary Education from Mount Mercy College. It would be an understatement to say I love history, from the house I live in (built in 1865 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places), to the community I call home, to my hobby of genealogy, history is a large part of my life.

Though I study the past, I strive to use technology and media to further knowledge and understanding and to engage students in learning. Other interests of mine include gardening, playing disc golf, and watching almost any British drama on PBS.

Lauri TowLauri Tow

I started with the CCA district in 1992 as a cook in the Amana Building. A job I loved! About 8-9 years later one of the secretaries in the office was retiring, it was suggested to me that I might apply for the job. Little did I know at the time, it would turn out be my dream job! Added bonus was I only had a 2 minute drive to work!

When the Middle School moved from the Amana site to Tiffin, my drive suddenly turned into a 15 mile drive complete with deer! It's still my dream job and I'm happy to report, two less deer are on the highways!

My husband Larry and I have lived in Amana for 43 years. We have two daughters, both whom are CCA graduates. We also have two beautiful grandchildren that I don't get to see as often as I would like!

I'm very proud to be a part of the CCA family! I truly love the people I work with, the students and their families. There hasn't been a day that has gone by that I haven't learned something new!

In my spare time I love to cook, go camping in remote areas and travel with my husband to see our grandchildren.


Margaret TrumpoldMargaret Trumpold

Hello, my name is Margaret Trumpold. I am the 6th grade Physical Education teacher at CCAMS. I received my B.A. from Coe College in Physical Education. I come from a family of educators and look forward to sharing my love of physical activity with students at Clear Creek Amana Middle School.

My husband Lynn and I live in Middle Amana where we raised four CCA and U of Iowa graduates. Erica & Mark Zimmerman, William & friend Jessica Burdick, Jeff & Ammie Trumpold (CCE Elementary) and Emilie (Norway Elementary). We are very proud grandparents of Ella Grace Zimmerman 2yrs. and James Franklin Trumpold 3 mo.

I am also the head coach for the Williamsburg High School Girls Swim Team shared with CCA & Keota. I enjoy spending time with my family, most of all my grandchildren and watching the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Jessica Von AhsenJessica Von Ahsen
6-8 special education teacher

Hello, my name is Jessica Von Ahsen.  I am the sixth through eighth grade special education teacher, with my main focus being to work with students that need social and behavioral support.  This is my twelfth year at Clear Creek Amana and I absolutely love the work I do.

I grew up in Williamsburg, Iowa and graduated from high school there.  After graduating from Williamsburg, I went on to attend Coe College where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in elementary education.  After graduating from Coe, I took a job as an associate for Grantwood AEA in a special education off-site behavior program.  It was during this year, that I discovered I wanted to further my education in special education.  I got my master’s degree in special education from Morningside College, and began teaching at Clear Creek Amana in 2004.  

I currently live outside of Williamsburg on a farm with my husband Derek Von Ahsen.  We have three wonderful children, Jackson is ten, Cole is six, and Olivia is three. They keep us on our toes, but we enjoy every minute of them.  

I look forward to another year at CCA and to working with a new group of students. Go Clippers!

Feel free to contact me with any questions,

Jessica Von Ahsen

Karl VogelKarl Vogel
7th grade Science

Hi, My name is Karl Vogel. I was born and raised in Jesup, IA where I attended high school, played football, basketball, track, and baseball. I graduated in 2004, and then attended Wartburg College. While in Waverly, I played football for two years and ran track for 4, competing in the decathlon for 3 years, while there I studied Biology and Secondary education.

I graduated from Wartburg in 2008, and taught 7th grade in Monticello, IA for 2 years. In 2010 I got married and my wife got into Grad school at UCF, in Orlando, so we moved south. I taught 8th grade for two years in Eustis, FL and after my wife completed her degree we decided to come home. Heidi and I now live in North Liberty an are happy to be back.

Kathy Wehrle Kathy Wehrle

Jody WengerdJody Wengerd
Teacher Associate

I am Jody Wengerd, I work with 6th, 7th, and 8th grade as a Para-Educator with the Read 180 Reading program. My job also includes work in the  Special Education Dept. and working in the school office. I started working in the CCA district in 1998.

I grew up in the mountains of Western Maryland. Our family moved to Iowa in July of 1995. I now consider Iowa my home. My family consists of three daughters in their 20’s who are graduates of CCA, and one beautiful grandson born July 2014. I presently reside in North Liberty. In my extra time I enjoy the exercise of riding bikes and try to daily walk. Sewing is a hobby that I use in constructing costumes for local theatre companies in the Iowa City area.

image not availableBri Wilkerson
health aide


Brenda WillisBrenda Willis
8th grade Math

Wow - I’m Brenda WIllis and I am starting my 10th year at CCA and 17th overall - does that mean I’m old because I’m not!  I am from Brooklyn, IA and went to school at Iowa State University.  I starting my career at Johnston, IA before moving to St Louis where I taught for 6 years.  While in Missouri, I finished my instructional technology degree at Mizzou.  I have 3 Clippers of my own, Ally (7th), Drew (5th) and Tana (1st).  My husband builds hospitals and is currently at Mercy in Cedar Rapids.

In my free time, I love being with my family.  We love to ski in the winter and sit on the beach during the summer.  The rest of the year we spend cheering on the Cardinals and playing as much baseball/softball that we can!  

I love teaching math and making math fun for everyone.  I am looking forward to a year that is filled with lots of learning, energy and laughter (and a Cardinals World Series win)!

image not availableBlake Wilson
6th grade math


Hi! I’m Blake Wilson, and I am a 6th grade math teacher at CCA. This is my first year being a Clipper, and I am very grateful for the opportunity. I am originally from Bettendorf, and graduated from Pleasant Valley High School in 2011. My father was a 5th grade teacher at Pleasant View Elementary School In Pleasant Valley for 34 years. He recently retired from teaching. Education was not my plan coming out of high school, but it changed my life once I attended college.

After high school I enrolled at Wartburg College, where I played baseball as a starting catcher for 4 years. This past May I graduated with a BA in Elementary Education and endorsements in middle school math and science. My original major was biology, but tutoring and mentoring Waterloo middle school at-risk students during my sophomore year of college inspired me to become an educator. After this experience I changed my major to Education and have loved every minute of it.

I have been an assistant varsity baseball coach at Pleasant Valley the previous two summers. Any other free time I may have I love being outdoors playing a wide variety of sports including disc golf, baseball, basketball, and football. I enjoy sharing my passion of athletics and experience with those younger than me. I am a fan of the following school/professional sports teams: Wartburg College, Atlanta Braves, St Louis Rams, Dallas Mavericks, and of course the Clippers.

I am very appreciative for the opportunity to be a part of the CCA School District. I am excited about being a Clipper and making Tiffin, Iowa my permanent home. I cannot express how much I am looking forward to guiding our students to become future leaders of society.

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me. Go Clippers!



Sandi ZimmermanSandi Zimmerman
8th grade 21st Century Writing

I am Sandi Zimmerman and I teach 8th grade Language Arts.  I live in Tiffin with my husband Don.  We have 4 kiddos;  Lindsay, an 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Prairie Point Middle School, Alex and Abbie are students at the University of Northern Iowa, and Cortney is finishing up the nursing program at Kirkwood.  My mom, Carma Septer, lives nearby and is my greatest role model! We have 3 grandkids; Preston, 12, Olivia, 9, and Mason, 4.  My family is my greatest passion in life.

The favorite part of my job is the interactions I have with my students and staff.  I have made memories that will last my lifetime.  As a staff, we are always striving for a caring, compassionate yet vigorous curriculum.  Clear Creek Amana Middle School is a great place to be.  I look forward to another great year at CCAMS!