I learned about the Downtown School when I was a high school student at Colfax-Mingo. Since then it was my dream to become a “Downtown School” teacher. When I first heard about this school, I thought it was a dream and in the years I have been teaching here, I can’t imagine teaching in a better place.
My history with the Downtown School goes back to 2006, when I was fortunate enough to be chosen to do my pre-teaching at the Downtown School. I then received my undergrad from Simpson College in 2008 with my degree in Elementary Education, Liberal Arts, and a minor in Psychology. I received concentrations in reading and special education.
Since being hired with the Downtown School, in 2008, my journey here has gone in various directions. I have worked with the 7/8 team, the 9/10 team and I currently work as our K-5 special education teacher. I am also part of our build leadership team and our building technology specialist.
In addition to all of my professional roles at the Downtown School and with DMPS, I am a UNI Panther. I completed my masters in administration the summer of 2018 with University of Northern Iowa as a part of their Urban Education Principalship Network. My new learning has been a gift in preparing me for future roles in our district.
I am grateful for my professional career with Des Moines Public Schools and the Downtown School. It continues to be a dream! I truly can’t imagine a better place to be!
My Mission: Support a school culture that focuses on cultivating the skills needed for every child to fulfill their future dreams.
Please visit my links below to see the other district work I am involved in.
Or feel free to browse through my journey with UNI.
Hello, I’m Elizabeth Angier but I prefer “Beth”. I am a Registered Nurse, and hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology.
I am most passionate about my family, photography and people. I have three children. My older children live out of state, one in Georgia, the other in Canada. My youngest daughter will attend Callanan and lives here in Des Moines. My eldest son is a pilot for Delta Airlines, and also a pilot for the Army guard flying the Blackhawk Helicopter. My youngest son owns a dance studio in Canada which has approximately 950 students. I have 4 grandchildren, 2 boys, 2 girls ranging in the ages of 17 to 3. My 82 year old mother resides with me and has since the tragic passing of my father.
My camera follows me everywhere. I have spent countless hours shooting everything from a magnificent sunrise, the architecture of an open window in a collapsing barn or the many beautiful faces of which my family members often present. I also enjoy helping others. In the past, I have spent many years working with the homeless, both adults and children crawling into abandon buildings, walking the wooded areas, and working food vans, providing whatever attention was needed. I have volunteered with my church working various shelters, and food banks.
Hello! I am Dawn Coppinger the new Professional School Counselor at the Downtown School. Previously, I was a substitute teacher for multiple preschools, Van Meter Schools, and West Des Moines Public Schools. I was also a school counselor at Mann Elementary and did my counseling internship at Merrill Middle School. Prior to that, I was a special education teacher at Merrill Middle School, Windsor Elementary, and Meredith Middle School. I was teaching for Des Moines Schools as I acquired my counseling degree from Iowa State University. I grew up in Hull, Iowa, and moved to Des Moines after I graduated from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with an Elementary Education degree and Special Education degree with emphasis on Behavioral disorders and Learning disabilities.
I live on an acreage by Waukee with my 4 awesome kids–2 boys and 2 girls– my husband, family dog, chickens, ducks and other friendly animals. My children attend school at Van Meter Elementary and High School. If there is any time left in my schedule, I enjoy reading, doing crafts and sewing with my girls, cooking, and anything in the snow or water (which we do as a family). I also love watching my kids participate in football, volleyball, soccer, basketball and track. I am really looking forward to this brand new year here!
If you have any questions or concerns about your child, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Debra Croft is a University of Northern Iowa graduate, and holds a Master of Education in Collaborative Learning and Teaching for K-12 Educators from Graceland University. She has been teaching for 38 years, primarily as an interventionist. Her passions are family, educating children and exercise!
I have been part of the Downtown School since 1999! My job in the library started in 2007. It’s the perfect job for me because I LOVE to read! Both of my daughters went to the Downtown School. They still enjoy coming back to visit their teachers from the Downtown School. I have lived in 5 different states. New Mexico, Mississippi, North Carolina, California and Iowa! I got my BFA from the University of California and my MFA from the University of North Carolina. Our family enjoys going to museums, spending time outside, reading, traveling and eating!
Van Waardhuizen, Deb
Hi! My name is Deb VanWaardhuizen (it stands for “keeper of the house” in Dutch). Most of the students refer to me as Ms. Deb or Mrs. V, but you can call me Deb. You can find me at the front desk upon entering the school. I started in the district in August 2000 at Park Ave Elementary then moved to the Downtown School in July ’08. Working in offices has been my main role, formerly with a Methodist Church and Simpson College. When not at school you can find me camping, attending auctions, crocheting by the woodstove, or just relaxing on our 14 acres 30 miles SE of Des Moines. I’m a “farm wife” and we’ve raised pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, llamas, donkeys, horses, chickens, ducks, cats, and dogs …. Did I miss anything?? Oh yes, the grandchildren – have 7 ranging in age from 2 to 19 – and we enjoy spoiling everyone, then sending home! They all like to ride/drive our 8 antique AC tractors that my husband Robert collects and parades. I’m a former 4-H member/leader and currently the Marion County Supt. for Dogs. We “train” kids to teach their dogs obedience and agility. If you have any questions about the school, let me know and I’ll certainly try to answer them or I will find out who can.