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Faith Howard

Music Teacher

Hello! My name is Faith Howard and I am the music teacher here at Park Avenue! This is my third year teaching at Park Ave and I am very excited to see what this year brings! I am originally from northeast Missouri and attended college there at Truman State University where I majored in music education. I also received my Master of Arts in Education at Truman. In my free time I enjoy hanging out with my niece and nephew, reading, playing games, and taking walks. I’m looking forward to working with all the students here at Park Ave again this year!

Macee Hurt

Library Associate

Jane Lawson

English Language Learners

I began teaching K-5 (ELL) English Language Learners in 1999. I taught at Brooks/Lucas, Capitol View, Adams, and Cattell before Park Avenue. I love teaching ELL and getting to know my students and their families.

I graduated from the University of Iowa with degrees in Studio Art and Elementary Education. I earned my Master’s Degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from the University of Northern Iowa.

I enjoy attending outdoor festivals and Broadway musicals. I also like cooking and trying new restaurants.

“Do more of what makes you happy.” ?

Jotham Polashek

Orchestra Teacher

David Steinke

Band Director

David Steinke serves as the 5th grade Band Director on the South Side of Des Moines since 2017.  Mr. Steinke has served as an Instrumental Music Educator in Des Moines teaching primarily Band since 2008.  Mr. Steinke is also the Percussion Instructor for the Lincoln High School Marching Band & provides Percussion support for the 5th though 12th grade Band programs throughout the year.

Mr. Steinke graduated from Iowa State University twice with a Bachelors of Visual Fine Arts in 2000 and a Bachelors in Music Education in 2007.  He received his Master’s in Educational Technology from Full Sail University in 2011. Outside of the School year, Mr. Steinke has worked as a percussion clinician for the DMPS Summer Middle School Band Camp & Cyclone Percussion Academy at Iowa State University.

Mr. Steinke is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, the Iowa Band Masters Association, the South Central Iowa Band Masters Association, and Alumni of the Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps.  He is a co-founder of ConcertCraft Publications, specializing in chamber music for percussion and custom arranging for Marching Band.


Aidan Tunney

PE Teacher

Hi Park Avenue families!

My name is Aidan Tunney and I will be the PE teacher for the 2023-2024 school year! This will be my first year at Park Avenue Elementary and my first year teaching too. I graduated from Iowa State University in 2022 with my bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Health. My wife, Chloe, is also an elementary teacher. In my free time, my wife and I enjoy visiting state and national parks, playing pickleball, ultimate frisbee, and other outdoor activities. When I am not outside, I enjoy playing board games and watching movies. I am very excited to spend my first year with you all and being physically active while having fun!

Jennifer Warner-Blankenship

Art Teacher

This year will mark a DECADE for me as the art teacher at Park Ave. I am excited for all the fun we will have exploring art and materials this year! When I am not teaching, I spend my time with my husband and son.  We love being outside, listening to music, reading, traveling, and trying new things.  I am excited for another great year with Park Avenue students!


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Kelsey Wood

English Language Learners


My name is Kelsey Wood and I am an ELL teacher at Park Avenue. I am excited to get to know the families and students in our community! I have worked in DMPS for the last 3 years in various schools and I’m looking forward to working with Park Ave. again this year. I graduated from Iowa State University in 2019 with a Bachelor in English Education. Some of my hobbies include spending time with my family and pets, reading, and going on hikes.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  ~ Nelson Mandela