Related Arts

Diana Hecht-Gahman

Orchestra Director


Chloe Murphy

Music Teacher

P: 515-242-8429 | E:


Welcome to music! I am in my second year teaching at Park Avenue Elementary. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in General and Choral Music Education from the University of Northern Iowa. I am fortunate that I get to spend every day at school doing my two favorite things: music, and working with children. In my spare time, I enjoy playing guitar, ukulele, piano, and spending time outdoors biking and hiking. I am excited to continue to help students at Park Avenue create and experience music inspired by cultures from all over the world!
Hopes and Dreams: I hope my music students will develop the skills to think creatively as well as grow in confidence. This will help them to succeed in all areas of life. It is also my dream that all students will develop an appreciation for music that lasts a lifetime.

Abby Pudenz

Spanish Teacher



College  attended:  Iowa State University - Go Cyclones!

Highest Degree Earned: B.A. +30

Endorsement(s):  Spanish as a Foreign Language and ELL

IB Training(s): Introduction to the PYP, Collaborative Planning

Years of Experience:  12

Years at Park Avenue:  8

Original Hometown:  Iowa City, IA

High School Attended:  City High School


Jennifer Warner-Blankenship

Art Teacher



I am so excited to be in my third year teaching at Park Avenue! I am originally from a small town in Eastern Iowa. I attended Iowa State University and graduated with a degree in Art and Design. After living and working in Michigan, Chicago, and Iowa City I went back to school for Art Education at the University of Iowa.

When I’m not with my Park Avenue family I spend my time with my 2 year old son and husband. We like to spend most of our time outside exploring, walking, and playing sports. I also love to create and I love creating with my son.

Please check out your student’s artwork on ARTSONIA!

IB Trainings: Making the PYP Happen

Hopes and Dreams: I hope to inspire creativity and imagination in all our students.


Check out our Art Studio Blog (in progress):

Don’t forget to regularly check your student’s artwork on Artsonia!

Laura Steward

Physical Education



I would like to say a big HELLO to my Park Avenue family!!!!!!  After 24 years of teaching Physical Education to south side students I’m now teaching grandchildren.  Yes, I’m teaching the children from parents that I taught when they were in elementary school. I’m a product of the Des Moines Public Schools.  I started at Moore, then Oak Park, then Madison, then Goodrell for junior high, and I graduated from East High.   Drake is where I went for my BA and while I was there I played softball and worked in the Athletic training room.  I received my Masters Degree from Viterbo University in 2004.

While at Park Avenue I’ve attended two IB trainings.  My level one training was here in Des Moines with many Stowe teachers and my level two training was in California.  In California I got to meet 14 other Physical Educators from as far away as Brazil and Hawaii. In my free time I ride my bike and I’ve ridden it across the state of Iowa 26 times.  I’ve also traveled to Ireland twice.  Park Avenue is a great small corner on the south side that I have come to love and I consider myself a south sider now.


IB Trainings: Introduction to the PYP, PYP C3 the Role of Physical Education


Hopes and Dreams: I am hoping that all students learn to love to move and that they see Physical Education as a life long investment.

Macee Hurt

Library Associate