April received her BA in elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa, her MA in special education from Walden University, and PK-12 Principal/Supervisor of Special Education certification from Viterbo University. She has spent eight years in special education, and served as the administrative designee for Harlan Elementary in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. April and her husband, Dylan, have two children. Dylan is an EMT/Firefighter. They also have three dogs, and they love going on family walks, visiting the Florida beaches, and enjoying the outdoors. Outside of her career, April’s passion is in health and fitness.
Larisa BickelDirector of Business & Operations
Larisa has been a part of Summit in some fashion since it began in 1998. She graduated from Luther College in 1993 with a degree in Elementary Education. She has had a multitude of roles at Summit!
Kathleen ReinwartOffice Manager
Kathleen is thrilled to be part of the Summit team. As a Summit parent and former Board President, she is passionate about all things Summit! She brings many years of child-centered managerial experience to Summit, most recently as Assistant Director of St. Matthew Preschool.
Chris MaloneyEarly Childhood Teacher
Chris attended Mount Mercy University where she received her BS in Elementary Education with a reading endorsement. She also received her Early Childhood Endorsement from Teikyo Marycrest. Her favorite part of teaching is learning along with her PreK students. “Every day is different. I like to make school fun and interactive with materials, props, and ideas that encourage language and learning.”
Erin ValarezoEarly Childhood Associate
Erin graduated from Kirkwood with her degree in Early Childhood Education. She spent the beginning of her career as an assistant preschool teacher at College Community’s ECC. She then took a job nannying two young boys. Erin spent time volunteering at Summit while the youngest of the boys attended preschool at Summit. As they aged out of preschool, Erin joined the Summit team.
Rachel WillenborgPrimary Teacher
Rachel attended The University of Iowa where she received her BA in Elementary Education with a reading endorsement and a social-emotional learning leadership certificate. After graduating, she served as a long-term substitute teacher in the Cedar Rapids area. She also enjoys teaching dance classes when not at school.
Jackie AllenPrimary Teacher
Jackie graduated from Mount Mercy University in 2017 with reading and special education endorsements, and earned her master’s degree in reading and special education from MMU in 2023. Jackie previously served as a special education teacher at Clear Creek Amana. When she’s not working, Jackie enjoys designing and creating costumes for Young Footliters Youth Theatre in Coralville and spending time with her family.
Leigha RoggeveenIntermediate Teacher
Leigha grew up in Iowa City and graduated from the University of Iowa in 2022. She received her BA in elementary education with an endorsement in K-8 reading, a teacher leader certificate, and a minor in educational psychology. Leigha’s passion for education started early on as she worked in multiple childcare and early learning settings. When Leigha is not teaching, she enjoys being outside, doing yoga, and spending time with her family and friends.
Shelby ParadiseIntermediate Teacher
Shelby graduated from Coe College in 2018 where she received her BA in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Reading and Social Studies. While attending Coe, Shelby taught English to Burmese refugees in Thailand one summer and then studied abroad and taught English in Ghana, Africa. Upon graduating, she served as a long-term substitute teacher at Roosevelt Middle School in Cedar Rapids. Shelby previously held a Teach For America position teaching 6th grade science in Boston. In her free time, Shelby enjoys being outside, working out, traveling, crafting, and being around friends and family.
Sydney GleasonMiddle School Teacher
Sydney grew up in Indiana and graduated from Indiana University in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a license addition in middle school math. Sydney has wanted to be a teacher since she was young and spent her teenage years working with children, teaching dance and gymnastics. In her free time, she enjoys reading, crafting, and playing board games.
Angie NeuvilleMiddle School Teacher
Angie received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary/Middle Level Education from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2003. She earned her Master Educator Teaching License while teaching Special Education at Tanager Place in Cedar Rapids, later working as a consultant with Grant Wood AEA. She is the proud parent of a Summit alum, and in her spare time she loves reading, cheering for the Green Bay Packers, and spending time with family and friends
Jamie DayPE/Health & Wellness Teacher
Jamie attended Kirkwood and then Central College where he received a degree in health and physical education. He believes that kids who move and enjoy physical activity make more effective learners. Jamie taught gymnastics while going through school which shaped his positive teaching style and the importance of having a growth mindset. In his free time he practices Olympic weightlifting, tends a garden, plays chess and likes to read.
Andrea HappelSpanish Teacher
Andrea studied abroad in Ecuador in college and graduated with a BA in Spanish and English Literature from Pacific University in Oregon. She has taught English in both Ecuador and Korea. Andrea holds teaching endorsements in K-12 Spanish, English, and Bilingual Education. Andrea was a Spanish teacher at Summit from 2000-2003 and is currently also a Spanish tutor in Summit’s tutoring program.
Jenna SmithMusic Teacher
Jenna received her BS in Music Education from Olivet Nazarene University. She taught K-5 music and high school choir in Jacksonville, North Carolina where her husband was stationed with the Marine Corps. She and her husband relocated back to their hometown of Tiffin, Iowa, and Jenna joined the Summit team. Jenna is passionate about music education and the many benefits music can bring to students not only in the music classroom, but in their academics, home life, socially, and emotionally.
Amber MaasArt Teacher/Summer Camp Director
Amber graduated in 2007 from UNI with a bachelors in elementary education and a certification in elementary art. After subbing at several area schools, she joined the Summit team.
Rachel EilersKitchen Manager
Rachel’s family was introduced to Summit Schools through summer camp in 2009. Rachel has volunteered for classroom activities, filled in at the main desk, subbed as an associate, served lunches and is now our Kitchen Manager. She lovingly cooks each school meal from scratch with only the healthiest ingredients, often incorporating produce from Summit’s own garden!
Tonya grew up in Cedar Rapids and received her communications/journalism degree from Augustana College. She was an associate editor at Soap Opera Weekly magazine in New York City and the public relations associate at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. She enjoys working with Summit staff and students in this part-time position.
Ken is a graduate of Boston College with a BS degree in accounting and marketing, and a graduate of the University of Connecticut with an MBA in Finance. Ken has over 35 years of experience in accounting and investments working with large financial institutions. Ken moved to Cedar Rapids from Connecticut to be with his children and grandchildren.
Sue MenkenLiteracy Coach
Sue received her BA in elementary/special education from the University of Northern Iowa, her MA in Elementary Education with a Reading Emphasis from Mount Mercy University, and her Associate and Certified Levels of Achievement from the Orton-Gillingham Academy. She has coached Summit teachers in the Orton-Gillingham approach. Sue previously spent three years teaching at Summit in the first and second grade classrooms, and fourteen years at another private school in various elementary grade classrooms. She has also supported parents at the Marion Home School Assistance Program, and continues to tutor students with the Orton-Gillingham approach. Sue and her husband, Roger are passionate about their faith, family, and traveling.
Jill ElliottTutor Manager
As a licensed teacher, Jill is passionate about the multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading method. She loves watching students with dyslexia (as well as other learning challenges) flourish, thrive, and apply their skills to learn. Jill has been a teacher in the Marion Independent School District for 16 years. With three grown children and two busy grandchildren, Jill always looks forward to their next adventure, card game, or laughter around the campfire. She is a professional photographer, loves to cook, and enjoys traveling.