Preschool Staff

2019_20 Preschool staff

Meredith Drive Preschool Staff



Tara Hartman


Tara is the new preschool Director as of Fall2019. Tara has been a lead teacher for 2's since 2012 and she was also one of our assistant directors. She 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.





Cherie has been a lead teacher for 4's/Pre-K since 2001 and she is also the assistant director. 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.

Cherie 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 6 grandchildren - Briar, Kingston, Madison, Baylor, 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 is lead lead teacher for 2½’s and has been teaching at The Bridge 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.



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.


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 enjoys volunteering with the PTO. Lambert the Sheepish Lion is Patti’s favorite children’s book.


Sarah Schall



Sarah has been a lead teacher for 3's since 2018. 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.


Meggan Boyle_sm

Meggan Boyle


Meggan lives in Johnston with her husband, Brad, their three wonderful girls, Mara, Paige, and Ellery. She first fell in love with the Meredith Drive Preschool when her daughter, Ellery, attended the 2-year-old program. She has a degree in education from Drake University. Meggan spent 5 years teaching middle school in Des Moines before deciding to stay home with her kiddos. She currently works part-time as a conference coordinator for a local non-profit organization. Meggan grew up in McHenry, Illinois and, even though she has called Iowa home for the past 20 years, tries to get to Illinois as often as possible to visit her family and friends. In her free time, Meggan enjoys walking, reading, volunteering, and spending time with her husband and active girls. The LLama LLama and Pete the Cat series have been her most favorite books to read to her children. 

Morgan Mescher_lg

Morgan Mescher


Morgan has been an associate teacher Meredith Drive Preschool since 2019.  Morgan lives in Johnston with her husband, Justin and their two children, Katelyn and Ethan. They are members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church where Morgan serves as a Catechist for elementary students. Morgan stays busy attending her children’s sporting events and is actively involved with Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.  Her hobbies include reading, riding bikes, spending time with family and friends and crafting. Morgan’s favorite children’s book is Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle.

Laura O'Brien_lg




Laura has been an associate teacher at Meredith Drive Preschool since 2019.  She lives in Grimes with her husband Kenny and their four children, Ava, Ella, Ian and Mason. Laura graduated from Iowa State University in 2002 with a degree in Child and Family Services. Laura and her family are members of Granger Assumption Catholic Church. On Sunday mornings, their family enjoys volunteering in the preschool class at church. Her children keep her very busy with many activities. In her free time, she enjoys reading, walking, going to jazzercise, and taking vacations with family and friends. One of Laura’s favorite books is Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.
Last Published: October 22, 2019 10:11 AM