Preschool Staff

Staff 18_19lr

Meredith Drive Preschool Staff
Front row:  Tara Hartman, Heidi Puckett, Lori Belknap, Cherie Rissman
Back row:  Patti Brinkmeyer, Dawn Flint, Cimberly Hansen, Jill Boom, Michelle Applegate, Sarah Schall



Lori has been our preschool director since 2000. She lives in Johnston with her husband Scott. They have two grown daughters, Leah (son-in-law Michael) and Anna, who both attended Meredith Drive Preschool in the mid 1990's! Lori has a degree from Drake University in Early Childhood/Elementary Education with a reading endorsement. She received the National Administrator Credential from the National Child Care Association in 2005. Lori was a stay at home mom when her girls were young and before that, director of the Johnston Public Library. Lori and Scott are active members of Meredith Drive Church. She enjoys music, reading, cycling, therapy dog training with her dog Lucy, and spending extended time relaxing and playing at Clear Lake with family and friends in the summer. Lori loves all parts of her job, but especially interacting with the children along with her dog Lucy and reading, praying and talking about God with our preschoolers.  One of her favorite children's books is The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown.

Lori Belknap  





Cherie has been a lead teacher for 4's/Pre-K since 2001 and she is also one of our assistant directors. Cherie lives in Urbandale with her husband Jon. They have two grown children Rob and Jessie, who began their early childhood years at Meredith Drive! Jon and Cherie are active members at Grace Lutheran Church in Des Moines. Cherie has an Elementary Education degree from Upper Iowa University with endorsements in early childhood and reading. Cherie has a passion for literacy development in young children and loves reading and acquiring new children's picture books. Her favorite hobbies include pizza/movie night with her family, bike riding, golfing, reading and baking. Listen Buddy and Tip Toe Joe are two of Cherie's favorite children's books.

Cheri Rissman  
Heidi Puckett



Heidi has been a lead teacher since 2007.  She lives in Urbandale with her husband Denny. She has 4 grown children - Kelsey, Grant, Emily and Hank, 2 son-in-laws Logan and Alex, and 5 grandchildren - Briar, Kingston, Madison, Giovanni and Zayden. She has a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Kansas and has a Unified Early Childhood endorsement. Heidi has worked at Daycare for Exceptional Children, provided in-home childcare for 10 years, and worked for several years in the Urbandale school district. Heidi and Denny are members of Meredith Drive. Her hobbies include painting, reading, exercising, and spending time with her dogs, Roxie and Roo. One of Heidi’s favorite children’s books is The Kissing Hand.



Boom_Jill_smJill Boom


Jill has been an associate teacher for 2½’s since 2013.  Jill lives in Johnston with her husband Chris and daughter Sienna (who attended Meredith Drive Preschool!) She grew up in Urbandale and has a degree in Elementary Education from Iowa State University. In addition to teaching preschool, Jill works as a substitute teacher at Horizon Elementary in Johnston.  In her free time, Jill enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering with the PTO, traveling, practicing yoga, and cuddling with her three kitties, Fiero, Steve and Sketch. One of her favorite children’s books is A Balloon for Isabel by Deborah Underwood.



Cimberly Hansen

Cimberly has been an associate teacher at Meredith Drive Preschool since 2001. Cimberly lives in Urbandale with her husband Matthew and their dog Maggie. They have 4 grown children:  Gerrit (Kim), Joshua (Libby), Jordan, Cassie and a grandson, William.  Cimberly is originally from Pella and attended ISU. She had an in-home day care for over 11 years and has pursued her interest in the development of young children including earning her Child Development Associate credential. Cim and her husband are active members of Waukee Christian Church where she is involved in many areas of leadership and prayer  ministry. Her hobbies include playing several musical instruments, reading for her book club and traveling with her family. Cim’s favorite children’s book is Owl Moon.



Tara Hartman


Tara is lead teacher for 2's and has been preschool assistant director since 2012.  Tara lives in Johnston with her husband Michael and their three children Noah, Isaac, and Emily.  She grew up in Des Moines and, like her children, attended Meredith Drive Preschool.  Tara has a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Iowa with endorsements in science and middle school.  Tara and her family are active members of Meredith Drive Church.  She enjoys reading, taking walks with her family, including her dachshund Archie, and decorating cakes for special occasions.  One of her favorite children's books is Pete the Cat, I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin.



Michelle Applegate


Michelle has been an associate teacher for Pre-K since 2008. Michelle lives in Johnston with her husband Doug. They have three children Hezekiah, Tennessee and Willow.  She is a graduate of Johnston High School and Iowa State University where she earned a degree in fine arts.  Michelle and her family are active Partners at Prairie Ridge Church in Ankeny where her husband is the youth director.  Some of her favorite things to do are junking, pinning, watching movies and hanging out with her family.  Michelle’s favorite children’s books are Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell and I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont.



Dawn Flint




Dawn has been an associate teacher for 2's, 3’s and 4’s since 2008. Dawn grew up in Gilbertville, Iowa and now lives in Johnston with her husband Doug and her three daughters Elizabeth, Emily and Ellen. She earned her Child Development Associate credential and has a BS degree in fashion merchandising from Iowa State University. Dawn enjoys watching her children in all their various sports and school activities. She and her family are members at St Mary's where she teaches religious education. One of her favorite children’s book is The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn


Brinkmeyer_Patti_smPatti Brinkmeyer



Patti has been a lead teacher for the 3's at the Bridge since 2017. Patti lives in Johnston with her husband, Jared, and their 3 children: Connor, Danielle, and Caitlin. She has degrees in Special Education and Social Work from the University of Northern Iowa. Patti and her family are members at the Bridge Campus of Meredith Drive Reformed Church, where Patti is also on staff as the Early Childhood Coordinator. When she is not working or cheering on her kids at their numerous sports and scouting activities, she is busy volunteering with the PTO and loves being a chairperson for the book fair. Lambert the Sheepish Lion is Patti’s favorite children’s book.



Sarah Schall



Sarah lives in Grimes with her husband, Mike, and their kids, Isabel and William. She has an Elementary Education degree from Central College with an endorsement in Early Childhood. Her hobbies include road trips to our National Parks, cheering on the DC-G Mustangs and the Iowa Hawkeyes, attending Broadway shows, and spending lots of time with her family. Sarah has always enjoyed reading and is eager to share that love of books with her students. Her favorite children’s books are But No Elephants by Jerry Smath and Jamberry by Bruce Degen.

Last Published: January 2, 2019 10:56 AM