Board Overview

  • The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education is here to serve you and govern the school district. The school board is made up of seven individuals representing the families and citizens of our community.

    • The members are elected at-large by residents of our district community.
    • They receive no compensation for their service.
    • Each school board member is elected for a term of four years. Terms are staggered to ensure continuity of leadership.
    • Elections are held bi-annually in odd-numbered years on the second Tuesday in November.

Board of Education

  • Board of Education member Lila Starr

    President Lila P. Montoya Starr

    Phone: 515-457-7243 | Email:

    Lila P. Montoya Starr has worked as a licensed social worker and mental health specialist with the Iowa Department of Human Services for over 35 years. She is a graduate of the Waverly-Shell Rock public school system and earned her bachelor’s degree in speech/interpersonal communications from the University of Northern Iowa. Lila and her husband, Tony Montoya, are the proud parents of two amazing young men, Antonio and Wesley, who graduated from Valley in 2011 and 2015. Lila currently serves as secretary to two national professional organizations and is a frequent presenter on topics associated with mental health, disabilities, and long-term care. A lifelong learner and community activist, Lila has lived with her family in Clive since 1997. She represented Crestview, Indian Hills, Valley Southwoods, Valley, and the community at large on the WDMCS Community Education Advisory Committee for many years. 

    Elected: November 2021
    Term Expires: November 2025

    Anadelia Morgan Board of EducationVice President Anadelia Morgan 

    Phone: 402-403-8121 | Email:

    Anadelia Morgan is a part-time festival event food coordinator and event manager for Cinco de Mayo Omaha. She has a background in federal grant management and community organization. Her military family lives in West Des Moines with two children attending schools in the district. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in Chicano/a-Latino/a studies from the University of Nebraska Omaha. Anadelia has volunteered at WDMCS in various roles and served on the Student Improvement Advisory Committee. She also co-founded the Families of Students of Color affinity group.

    Elected: November 2021
    Term Expires: November 2025 

    Board of Education member Michael AndreskiMichael Andreski, Ph.D.

    Phone: 515-771-7742  | Email: 

    Michael Andreski, Ph.D., serves as an associate professor of social and administrative pharmacy at Drake University, where he teaches management, law, ethics, and healthcare entrepreneurship to third-year students, as well as supervising pharmacy students serving as legislative interns. Michael worked as a pharmacist and clinical manager for 20 years before returning to school to complete a Ph.D. in pharmacy management. Michael also holds master’s degrees in business administration and jurisprudence. He is a past member of the West Des Moines Community Schools Foundation Board of Directors. Michael attended WDMCS starting in second grade (Crestview, Clive, Stilwell, Hillside Junior High, Valley) graduating from Valley High School in 1978. Michael's youngest son also graduated from Valley in 2011. He and his wife Kara share five children and four grandchildren. 

    Elected: November 2023
    Term Expires: November 2027

    2020-21 Board of Education Jill Canton Johnson

    Jill Caton Johnson, Ph.D.

    Phone: 515-271-3992 | Email: 

    Jill Caton Johnson, Ph.D., is a professor of education and director of the BLUE program 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. Both her children completed their K-12 education in the WDMCS district (Hillside, Jordan Creek, Stilwell, Valley Southwoods, Valley). Jack will graduate from the University of Iowa in December 2023, and Catie is a junior at Drake University. 

    Elected: November 2015
    Term Expires: November 2027

    Board of Education headshot of Board member Fannette Elliott.Fannette Elliott

    Phone: 515-223-4047 | Email:

    Fannette Elliott is the senior associate midmarket communications leader for Mercer. She is a 30+ year resident of West Des Moines and started her education at Phenix Elementary, then continued in the Des Moines school system. She received her bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in English from Iowa State University. She has nieces and nephews who attend Hillside Elementary, Western Hills Elementary, Stilwell Junior High, Valley Southwoods Freshman High School, and Valley High School. She is involved and an active member of various committees at work and in the community, and prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, was a mentor in the school-based Big Brothers Big Sisters program. She has also served on the Student Improvement Advisory Committee and co-founded the Families of Students of Color affinity group.

    Elected: November 2021
    Term Expires: November 2025

    Board of Education member Jeff Hicks

    Jeff Hicks

    Phone: 515-991-8890 | Email:

    Jeff Hicks is an attorney and currently serves as the chief compliance officer for Principal Financial Group’s retirement business. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran who served as an intelligence officer and attained the rank of captain. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Maryland, and a law degree from Drake University. He is involved with and supports United Way, the YMCA, and Iowa Legal Aid. He and his wife, Kim, have two children: Hailey, a 2023 Valley High School graduate and current freshman at the University of Northern Iowa, and Logan, a junior at Valley.

    Elected: November 2019  
    Term Expires: November 2027

    Elizabeth Larson Board of EducationElizabeth Larson

    Phone: 515.460.2196   | Email:  

    Elizabeth Larson is a grant writer at Hinton Consulting. She writes grants for several different nonprofits that serve low-income, BIPOC youth and homeless women in the areas of mental health, self and career exploration, and addiction recovery. As a former full-time high school math teacher, Elizabeth continues to substitute in WDMCS. Elizabeth volunteers on the district’s School Improvement Advisory Committee and Community Education Advisory Council. In addition, Elizabeth has also volunteered at Westridge Elementary and Indian Hills Junior High. Elizabeth’s three children are currently in sixth, ninth, and 10th grade. When Elizabeth decided to move to the Des Moines metro, she chose WDMCS for its reputation of academic excellence and wide selection of extra programs offered both during and after school.

    Elected: November 2023  
    Term expires: November 2027

    Student Board Representative Alexandra Bylund headshot Student Representative Alexandra Bylund 

    Alexandra Bylund is a Valley High School senior serving as a student representative on the WDMCS School Board. She represents Valley in the National Honor Society, Iowa High School Speech Association, Silver Cord, Young Feminists Club, International Thespian Society, Vocal Point Jazz Choir, and A Capella Choir. She also serves as the vice president of Tri-M Musical Honor Society, which combines orchestra, choir, and band. Her family includes parents Mindy and Jacob Bylund and three sisters. 

    Sworn In: September 2023
    Term expires: May 2024

    Student Board Representative Riley Spellman headshot Student Representative Riley Spellman

    Riley Spellman is a senior at Valley High School serving on the WDMCS School Board. She has been in the district for 12 years, attending Westridge Elementary and Indian Hills Junior High. She has participated in Valley girls' swimming, cross country, track and field, and Young Feminists Club, and is a Miss America's Outstanding Teen contestant. Her family includes her parents, Sean and Courtney Spellman, and three younger siblings.

    Sworn In: September 2023
    Term expires: May 2024


  • Board Secretary

    Peggy Epstein



    Learn more about school board elections by visiting the websites listed below.

  • Contacting Board Members

    If you wish to communicate with a Board member:

    All regular board meetings include an open forum. Individuals can either sign up the night of the Board meeting or email Peggy Epstein, board secretary, to be included on the list of individuals to speak. During open forum, each speaker must state their name and address and has up to five minutes to speak. Due to open meeting laws, the Board will listen but is unable to respond.

    When regular Board meetings are held virtually, open forum comments can be emailed to Peggy Epstein, board secretary. She will provide printed copies to Board members.

    You can also email the entire Board, but board president will respond to any emails on behalf of the entire board.

Last Modified Yesterday at 3:37 PM