Members

2017Board JohnsonPresident Jill Caton Johnson, Ph.D.

213 South 31st Street
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 an 11th-grader and Caton is a 10th-grader at Valley High School. Johnson is also a member of the United Way Education Cabinet.

Elected: September 2015
Term Expires: September 2019


2017Board CoxVice President 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 who all graduated from Valley High School. Megan is a 2014 graduate, Emma is a 2016 graduate, and Sam is a 2017 graduate. 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


2017Board BrennanElizabeth Brennan

804 38th Street
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


2017Board BrownDavid J. Brown

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

 

David J. Brown is a retired financial services chief compliance officer. 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 High School, Keegan is a 2012 Valley graduate, and Chase is a 2018 Valley graduate. 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


2017Board DunnwaldMelinda Dunnwald

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

 

Melinda 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. Dunnwald’s prior business training led her to be a top sales performer as well as sales manager at the Xerox Corporation. She was also an adjunct instructor at Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. She and her husband, Jeff, have two children: Dayna is a junior and Drew is a sophomore at Valley High School. She has served as the Jordan Creek Elementary School Parent Faculty Club co-president, the Jordan Creek Elementary School Kids Care Club co-founder and co-facilitator, and the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce Elevate Advisory Committee vice president. In 2015, Dunnwald received the Governor’s Volunteer Award for her active role in volunteering for the West Des Moines Community Schools.

Elected: September 2015
Term Expires: September 2019


2017Board PooleVicky Poole, Ed.D.

14180 Pinnacle Pointe Drive
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, Ph.D.

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 received a doctoral degree in education, social justice, and infant and youth mental health from Iowa State University. Ulie-Wells has two children: Mia is a 10th-grader at Valley High School, and Riley is a seventh-grader at Stilwell Junior High.

Elected: September 2017
Term Expires: September 2021