Hello, my name is Jill Alessio and I am Wright’s Gifted and Talented Consultant. I have been with Des Moines Public Schools for 25 years. I have served students and staff as a classroom teacher, Math Leader, Instructional Coach, and Dean of Students. I am married with three children. I enjoy family time, vacationing, and advocating for children. I look forward to getting to know the Wright Community and learning how I can serve them.
My name is Maddy Swift, and I am so excited to be in the Instructional Coach role at Wright Elementary! I have been at Wright since 2017! I graduated from Simpson College with endorsements in Reading, Language Arts, Special Education, and Early Childhood Education. I am originally from Aurora, Colorado, but I love living in Des Moines. In my free time I enjoy cooking, watching the Broncos, drinking coffee, wandering around Target, being outside, and spending time with my friends and family. I am looking forward to a fantastic year!
Hi! My name is Melissa Dohlman, and I support literacy at Wright through Reading Recovery and Academic Intervention. I have been teaching at Wright since 2016. I graduated from the University of Iowa in December of 2004 and have been teaching since August of 2005. I have spent my years teaching Reading Recovery, 1st and 2nd grade. I have a passion for literacy and hope that it shows in my teaching, and encourages my students to have a passion for literacy as well. I am married to a middle school teacher, and we have four children. I don’t seem to have a lot of spare time on my hands, but I love watching the Hawkeyes, reading, and being a “dance mom”.
I started my teaching career with Des Moines in 2008. I have taught 2nd grade at Findley Elementary and will now be an Instructional Coach at Wright. I am married to my husband Ryan and have two daughters, Addyson and Lilyan. We have a mini zoo at our house with our dog, cat, fish, and two hamsters. We like to travel, spend time with family and friends and hang out at home. I also love to run and bake in my free time. Teaching children has always been a passion of mine. Knowing that I can make a difference in a child’s life is a very rewarding feeling.
Hello! I’m Jamie Hart. I’ve been with DMPS since 2004, and this is my first year at Wright as an Instructional Strategist. Before coming to Wright, I was an Instructional Strategist Coach for 8 years, as well as worked at Capitol View and Moulton. I’m looking forward to working more closely with students again! When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family, working on our farm, and reading.
I grew up in Des Moines Public Schools and graduated from Roosevelt High School. I attended the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk!) where I received a Bachelor’s in Social Work, followed by a Master’s in Counseling from Drake University. I have been with DMPS since 2012, and this is my seventh year in the role of school counselor. I love the students and staff at Wright Elementary and am always excited for a new school year!
In my free time I enjoy spending time with my husband and three children, as well as our two dogs. I also enjoy spending time outdoors, music, and traveling.
My name is Zen, and I love being the therapy dog at Wright! I am a five year old Labradoodle and hanging out with kids is my favorite thing to do! I completed 18 weeks of obedience training, including advanced and specialized obedience. With the support of my family and lots of practice at home, I became a certified therapy dog. When I am not at school helping students feel calm and happy, I enjoy hanging out with my family, going for walks, and eating Milk Bones.
Hello! My name is Holly James (formerly Albers). I am the ELL teacher and an interventionist at Wright. I started teaching in 2018, and I have spent all those years at Wright! I also taught at King Elementary my first year. I went to school at Drake University and loved it. My favorite thing is being at school teaching, but when not at school I love spending time with my husband Denis and our two cats, Giana and Lucy.
Hi! My name is Grace Nelson, and I am Wright’s Speech-Language Pathologist. I started with DMPS in 2020 when I moved to Des Moines from the suburbs of Minneapolis, where I was born and raised. I received my Bachelor’s in Linguistics from Iowa State University in 2017 and my Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology from St. Ambrose University in 2019. I am very excited to be part of the Wright team! In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, exercising, traveling, and cheering on the Vikings and Cyclones!
Hi! I am Kristen Peerbaccus, and I am the school-based therapist at Wright. I grew up outside of Des Moines. I graduated from Drake University with a sociology degree. I worked at the residential treatment campus at Orchard Place following college. It is here I learned mental health is foundational to who we are as a people and to how we see the world. I received my Masters degree in Social Work at the University of Iowa! I enjoy working with Wright staff to support students so they can continue to develop into their whole self.
I am married and have 3 children; ages 14, 9, and 6. We love to travel and spend most of our weekends attending games or practices for our children ranging from football to soccer to gymnastics. I love to read, take our dog Charley for walks, garden, and do art when I get the chance.
My name is Jessica Ramirez, and I have been teaching at Wright Elementary since 2014. I graduated from Drake in 2014 with a degree in Elementary Education with specializations in reading and mathematics and received my masters in administration from Viterbo University in 2018. I have lived in Iowa my whole life and currently reside in West Des Moines. Some of my interests include reading, exploring the outdoors, baking and spending time with my family.
Hello! My name is Erica Rugama, and I have been teaching at Wright Elementary since 2009. I graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College in 2002 with my degree in Elementary Education and have attended Upper Iowa University and Grandview University to obtain my special education endorsements. When I started teaching I never would have thought that my journey would take me to Wright and the world of special education. My passion is helping students learn to be productive and safe. Every day is new and full of possibilities; my goal is to help my students understand that. In my free time you can find me at home with my husband and four girls. I love to be outside, enjoy traveling, and I try to do as much reading as I can.
Hi students and families! Welcome to Wright Elementary. I am the Success Case Manager here. This will be my first year at Wright Elementary and second year with DMPS. As the Success Case Manager, I get the opportunity to meet and work closely with families in and outside of the school to ensure each child’s needs are being met. I am excited for the new school year and look forward to meeting and working with new and returning students.
Facts About Me:
- Went to middle school and high school in DMPS (May Goodrell Middle School, East High)
- Iowa State Alumni (Go Cyclones!!)
- Oldest of 7 siblings (all boys)
- Enjoy working out and hanging out with my family and friends
- Love learning and reading about new things.
My name is Kirsten Steimle, and I teach Special Education. I have been teaching since 2019. I went to college at St. Ambrose University where I was a competitive cheerleader (Go Bees!). In my free time, I enjoy reading, doing puzzles, traveling, and drawing! I am very excited for the school year!
My name is Elizabeth Williams and I am the Library Associate at Wright Elementary. I was born in Des Moines but spent my early years in Springfield, Missouri. I graduated from Evangel University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education before making my way back to Iowa. I started working at Wright in November of 2020. I love to read and find connections in what I’m reading and how it relates to everyday life. I want to inspire young readers to stretch their imaginations and explore both new and familiar subjects in greater depth. I’m glad to be part of the Wright family and am looking forward to growing and learning alongside the students!