Members

2017 Board of Education President Melinda Dunnwald.President Melinda Dunnwald

5837 Meadow Valley Court
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
Phone 515-221-3516
Email dunnwaldm@gmail.com

 

 

Dunnwald received her bachelor’s degree in speech communications from Iowa State University and her master’s degree in business communication from the University of St. Thomas. She was a top sales performer as well as sales manager at the Xerox Corporation and an adjunct instructor at Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. Dunnwald and her husband, Jeff, have two children: Dayna is a sophomore at Valley High School and Drew is a ninth-grader at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School.

Since being elected, Dunnwald has served on the following WDMCS committees:

  • Grading Practices Task Force
  • New Tech Network Advisory
  • Career Technical Education Business Advisory
  • School Community Network Representative
  • Superintendents Advisories: Human Resources, and Teaching and Learning
  • Profriend Advisory and Committee Member

She has also received the following recognitions since joining the Board in 2015:

  • 2016 and 2017 Award of Achievement-Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB)
  • 2016 IASB Basics of Boardsmanship Certification for the Better Boardsmanship Awards Program
  • 2016 Panelist for Innovative Design Model Showcase at IASB Convention
  • 2016 Day on the Hill Board Panelist
  • 2015 Governor’s Volunteer Award Recipient

Elected: September 2015
Term Expires: September 2019

 

2017 Board of Education Vice President Jill Caton Johnson, Ph.D.Vice President Jill Caton Johnson, Ph.D.

213 South 31st St.
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
Phone 515-271-3992
Email jill.johnson@drake.edu 

 

 

Jill Caton Johnson, Ph.D., is a professor of education and director of off-campus teaching and learning programs at Drake University. She is a former fourth-grade teacher at Crestview Elementary in the West Des Moines Community Schools. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and her master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Iowa, and her doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction, literacy education from the University of Minnesota. She and her husband, Tom, have two children: Jack is a tenth-grader at Valley High School and Caton is an ninth-grader at  Valley Southwoods Freshman High School. Johnson is also a member of the United Way Education Cabinet.

Elected: September 2015
Term Expires: September 2019

 

2017 Board of Education Member Elizabeth Brennan.Elizabeth Brennan

804 38th St.
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
Phone 515-222-6920
Email ejcb@me.com

 

 

Elizabeth Brennan is a preschool teacher at Montessori Children’s House in West Des Moines. She graduated from Valley High School and St. Olaf College. She earned her elementary teaching degree, with an English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement, from the University of Iowa and her International Diploma in early childhood Montessori teaching from the Montessori Centre International in London. Brennan and her husband, Scott, have two children: Lexi graduated from Valley High School in 2014, and Joe graduated from Valley High School in 2016.

Elected: September 2009
Term Expires: September 2021

 

2017 Board of Education Member David J. Brown.David J. Brown

5870 Highland Circle
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
Phone 515-267-8283
Email djbrown2@mac.com

 

 

David J. Brown is the chief compliance officer at Principal Funds. He is a graduate of Valley High School. Brown holds a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University and a law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law. He and his wife, Julie, have three children: Ross is a 2010 graduate of Valley, Keegan is a 2012 Valley graduate, and Chase is in 11th grade at Valley. Brown has served on the board of directors of Youth Emergency Services & Shelter and on the board of directors of Hospice of Central Iowa. He is also a graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute.

Elected: September 2011
Term Expires: September 2019

 

2017 Board of Education member Liz Cox.Liz Cox

4802 Plumwood Drive
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
Phone 515-360-7473
Email LizCoxWDMCS@gmail.com

 

 

Liz Cox is the executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Iowa and principal owner of Due North + Associates. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Dakota. She and her husband, Thomas, have three children: Megan is a 2014 graduate of Valley High School, Emma is a 2016 graduate of Valley High School, and Sam is a senior at Valley. She has been active with the Boy Scouts of America’s Mid-Iowa Council, the Rotary Club of Des Moines A.M., and the Great Outdoors Foundation. Cox is also a graduate of the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce Leadership Academy.

Elected: September 2015
Term Expires: September 2019

 

2017 Board of Education Member Vicky Poole, Ed.D.Vicky Poole, Ed.D.

12844 Clark St.
Clive, Iowa 50325
Phone 515-240-2707
Email vickypoole.wdm@gmail.com

 

 

Vicky Poole, Ed.D., is retired from the West Des Moines Community Schools, where she served as principal of Valley High School (2000–11) and as associate principal (1996–2000). She holds a bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Northern Iowa, a master’s degree in counseling education from Northwest Missouri State University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Drake University. She enjoyed many years of teaching chemistry and physics and serving as counselor to thousands of students. Poole and her husband, Jim (deceased), have two adult children: Jodi (Matthew) Bybee and Dr. James (Meredith) Poole, D.O., and six grandchildren. Poole served on a wide variety of school district committees while at Valley High School. Her community experience includes serving on the Clive Board of Adjustment, Clive Public Art Advisory Commission, Clive Citizen Review Committee, Simpson College Education Advisory Committee, and West Des Moines Leadership Academy Board. She also serves as a Hy-Vee Education Foundation Scholarship Adjudicator. During her tenure at Valley High School, Poole received The Leadership in Diversity Award from the Chinese Association of Iowa.

Elected: September 2013
Term Expires: September 2021

 

2017 Board of Education member Jennifer Ulie-Wells.Jennifer Ulie-Wells

508 25th St.
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
Phone 515-240-5471
Email jlwells1205@gmail.com

 

 

Jennifer Ulie-Wells is executive director of Please Pass the Love, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing school-based mental health supports. She is an adjunct professor of education at Drake University and previously taught special education at Western Hills Elementary, Hillside Elementary, and Indian Hills Junior High. Ulie-Wells holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in special education from Drake University. She is currently working toward a doctoral degree in education, social justice, and infant and youth mental health from Iowa State University, with plans to graduate in 2018. Ulie-Wells has two children: Mia is a ninth-grader at Valley Southwoods, and Riley is in sixth grade at Fairmeadows Elementary.

Elected: September 2017
Term Expires: September 2021