Robert Burnett


P: 242-8422 | E:


I am honored and humbled to have been given the privilege of serving the Downtown School. I was born and raised in this great city and it’s where my wife and I have chosen to raise our two children. I’ve loved seeing our city grow and change into what it is today and am proud to now have a small role in shaping its next population and leaders.

What you are getting in me is a positive and energetic leader focused on continuous improvement and reflection in a supportive environment. I face each day with the zeal it deserves and will attempt to illuminate the positive aspects of our roles so loud that it will be difficult to hear anything else.

My teaching experience was based on differentiating and individualizing education so that all learners would be successful. My experience leading an IB school the previous 3 years have only deepened my desire to develop curriculum that meets the needs of all students and nurture lifelong, productive, and engaged learners prepared to meet the changing needs of our shared future. I have been pleasantly surprised how well the foundational concepts of IB and PBL correlate. I look forward to learning and leading under the Project Based Learning framework and will do everything in my power to strengthen and illuminate its importance.

I look forward to forming positive and productive relationships with all of you to continue the great things happening at DTS.

Please click here if you would like to learn more about my background.

Tracey Donovan

Dean of Students & 9/10 Year Old Teacher



I was born in Sparta, Wisconsin and lived in Wisconsin with my eight brothers and sisters until I was in eighth grade.  My family relocated to Sioux City where I graduated from high school.  I attended the University of Iowa and received a B.S. in Elementary Education.  I am certified to teach kindergarten through sixth grade with an endorsement in mathematics.  I have been teaching at the Downtown School since 1995.

My husband, Don Severs, and I have two wonderful sons and a beautiful daughter.  My stepson, Quinn, is seventeen and is making decisions about his next phase in! He attends Johnston High School where he is eleventh grade.

Our other two children are students here at the Downtown School!  Our son, Tate, is nine and a member of Mrs. Burg’s Learning Group. He keeps us very busy! His hilarious comments keep us laughing!  Macy is our budding artist. She loves to classes at the Des Moines Art Center.  She is seven years old and she calls Mrs. Buckner’s classroom home during the school day. Her bright blue eyes and big hugs melt our hearts!  We couldn’t imagine our lives without them!