Heartland Faculty - 2020/2021


*All teachers participate in CPR, First Aid, Universal Precautions, New Staff Orientations, DHS Essentials and Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting.

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Merilee Mescher
Director of Administration
IWCC Graduate; National Credential in Child Development; National Credential in Administration
Has worked in education since 1985; in early education since 1995
Southwest Iowa Chapter of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (officer); Council Bluffs Community School District Career & Technical Advisory Committee; Professional Development Specialist for CDA Credentialing Program; Winner SWIAEYC’s Friend of the Young Child
Married with 4 adult children
Reading; traveling; spending with family and friends

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Tonya Jensen
Director of Curriculum
National Credential in Child Development; National Credential in Administration
Has worked in early education since 1994
Who’s Who Among American Teachers; Who’s Who Among American Business Women; Southwest Iowa Chapter of the National Association for the Education of Young Children; Winner SWIAEYC’s Friend of the Young Child
Married with 2 adult children
Shopping; hosting; spending time with family and friends

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Ms. Jill
Heath & Nutrition Coordinator
IWCC Graduate; Certified Medication Administration
Worked in the child care field from 1993 – 2008; in early education since 2008
Southwest Iowa Chapter of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (officer); long-time volunteer for Council Bluffs Schools
Married with 2 adult children; 2 grandchildren
Reading; traveling; biking; spending time with family

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Ms. Kristen
Teacher
IWCC Graduate in Early Childhood Education
Has worked in early education since 2002
Southwest Iowa Chapter of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (former member/state representative)
Married with 2 young children
Shopping; reading; enjoying time with her children

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Ms. Jamie
Teacher
IWCC Graduate in Pre-Elementary Studies; National Child Development Credential with Preschool Endorsement.
Has worked in early education since 2011
 
Married with 5 children
Reading; shopping; cooking; cheering for Huskers

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Mr. Nolan
Teacher
National Child Development Credential with Preschool Endorsement; Liberal Arts, Kirkwood College
Began with Heartland as a “work / study” high school student in 2010. Returned to Heartland PreK classroom in 2015.
 
Nolan and his girlfriend Lindsey live here in Council Bluffs
Legos, all things Harry Potter, watching football, and cooking.

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Ms. McKenna
Teacher
McKenna is a State of Iowa licensed Para-Educator
McKenna started with Heartland Child Development in 2019. Prior to her work here, she worked for four years with adults with disabilities in a day habilitation center and in their homes.
 
McKenna and her husband have two children and a cat. Her husband is a Douglas County Deputy Sheriff.
McKenna enjoys cooking, reading, crafting and spending time with her family.

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Ms. Sarah
Teacher
Sarah originally went to school for Business Management, but her studies also included Child Development
Sarah began at Heartland in 2019. Prior to that, she worked in social service with children and adults (26 years) and with Kids & Co. (7 years)
 
Mother of 4 children … from preschool age to adult. She also has 11, four-legged “babies”.
Hobby farm and gardening

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Ms. Taylor
Teacher
Bachelors Degree in Human Services from Midland University
Taylor began her full time career with Heartland in 2019; prior to that she worked with school age children at a private program and was a nanny to two young children.
 
Taylor has a step-daughter, son and a baby on the way with her fiancé.
Taylor loves to Cricut … shirts, signs, decals + all kinds of crafting!

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Ms. Rosie
Substitute Teacher
Rosie is a graduate of the Child Development program at IWCC
Rosie started her career in early childhood in 1979 … her work has included working with handi-capable children, IWCC Center, and owning her own center. Rosie began working with Merilee and Tonya around 1997. Rosie semi-retired several years ago, but continues to be involved by subbing.
 
Rosie is married and has 4 adult children and 10 grandchildren.
Rosie loves art / crafting / painting, activities with her grands, traveling, and taking care of others.

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Ms. Justice
Teacher
Justice has well over 150 hours in early childhood professional development.
Justice has worked in the field for the past seven years, including time in the classroom and in administration. She began her early childhood career at Heartland Child Development in 2016.
 
Justice and her significant other have an infant daughter.
Shopping and spending time with family and friends.

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Ms. Mikeala
Teacher
UNO Graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology; candidate for Masters of Education in School Psychology
Began at Heartland full time 20/21 school year. Prior to that, Mikaela worked as a teacher in an early childhood setting and an assistant teacher in Omaha Public Schools preschool program.
 
Mikaela lives a college-style life ith her boyfriend and several roommates
Reading, Netflix, baking, gardening and candle making