Meet our Johnston Tutoring Staff

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Great Teachers Inspire

Our tutors and staff in Johnston & Des Moines consist of passionate educators who love inspiring children to succeed. Warm, caring and great at relating to kids, our tutors in Johnston know how to engage and motivate each child in a personal way—building confidence and smiles, as well as skills and better scores. We selectively choose tutors who know local curriculum and can link Sylvan lessons to what’s being taught in school. Get to know our tutors and staff in Johnston & Des Moines!

  • April Samp, Co-Owner

    April Samp

    Co-Owner

    April Samp is the proud Co-Owner of all four Sylvan Learning of Iowa Centers. April is a graduate of Iowa State University and invested many years into the communities where she lived by covering and investigating meaningful stories as a journalist and News Director. April worked in TV News/Marketing and Advertising for 25 years at stations like WOI-TV, KGAN/KFXA, KWQC and WHO in Iowa, KCTV and WDAF in Kansas City, WAVY/WVBT in Virginia and KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City. April's love of education and everything it does for a person started very early. Both of her parents were educators. April and her son Cale live in Waukee and cheer loudly for the Cyclones and play golf whenever possible!
  • Katie Ruby, Center Director

    Katie Ruby

    Center Director

    As Center Director of the Sylvan Learning Center of Johnston, Katie leads the center with initial family consultations,  manages the overall customer experience, and ensures high-quality operations are executed. Katie’s international education in both business and hospitality has allowed her to travel to several corners of the world. Through this international experience, she found a passion for helping children in their education while volunteering for several youth causes throughout her studies abroad. When Katie isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her enjoying time with her husband and 3 young boys where they enjoy outdoor activities and working on their garden and home! 
  • Bree Kruse, Director of Education

    Bree Kruse

    Director of Education

    Bree oversees the educational integrity of our programs, and manages and trains our team of tutors in Johnston. She studied education at the University of Iowa. She homeschools her 4 kids & is working towards her certification in Mentoring, Coaching, and Leadership Development at Grand View. When Bree isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her kayaking, traveling, hanging with her friends, family, and 4 kitties, and talking to her 100 plants.
  • Sara Pendry, Operational Specialist

    Sara Pendry

    Operational Specialist

    Sara is an administrative role in Johnston, IA with a gift working with kids. While Sara has many administrative duties, she finds the greatest joy in assisting the center and teachers with things they may need on a daily basis. She studied at Dmacc for her associates, Grandview for her bachelors, and finally her masters from Capella. When Sara is not at Sylvan, you'll find her crafting, being a dog mom, and spending time with loved ones. 
  • Heather Eime, Certified Teacher

    Heather Eime

    Certified Teacher

    Heather is a middle school special education associate in Johnston, IA with a gift for working with young people. While Heather has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in teaching Sylvan's Advanced Reading Skills course or study skills camps. She earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education at Simpson College, specializing in reading, instructional strategies, and social studies. When Heather isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her participating in church activities, playing games with friends and family, or enjoying nature.
  • Lisa Battistone, Certified Teacher

    Lisa Battistone

    Certified Teacher

    Lisa is a Special Education Teacher with Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District with a gift for working with kids. While Lisa has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in reading tutoring. She studied at Drake University. When Lisa isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her reading a good book, and hanging out with her corgi, Stanley.
  • Bob Geurink, Certified Teacher

    Bob Geurink

    Certified Teacher

    Bob has been working at Sylvan for five years! He has taught in Iowa high schools for over 30 years, as an English teacher, the last 21 at Dallas Center-Grimes. He lives in Norwalk with his wife, Brenda, and their two youngest children 15,17 yrs. old). He also has two adult children.
  • Jennifer Schafer, Certified Teacher

    Jennifer Schafer

    Certified Teacher

    Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. She's owned a daycare, preschool, and is a published author. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with friends and family, listen to music, cook, and watch paranormal shows!
  • Katie Davis, Tutor

    Katie Davis

    Tutor

    Katie is a special education teacher in Johnston, Iowa with a gift for working with kids. While Katie has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in reading tutoring. She studied at Grand View University and received her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with an Instructional Strategist endorsement. When Katie isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her trying new recipes, spending time with her fiancée Matt and dog Brands, and reading books! 
  • Desirae Kellis, Sylvan Certified Tutor

    Desirae Kellis

    Sylvan Certified Tutor

    Desi is studying Elementary Education at Grand View University. When she is not at Sylvan, she is either at school working towards her degree, or she is spending time with her friends and family. She loves working at Sylvan because the teachers and students are amazing and she is learning from each and every one of them every day. 
  • Courtney Crocker, Certified Teacher

    Courtney Crocker

    Certified Teacher

    Courtney has been a substitute teacher in Urbandale, Johnston, Kansas City, and Clarksville, TN, & was also a preschool teacher on an army base in Missouri. She is excited to be back at Sylvan after a few years away. While Courtney has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in reading & math tutoring. She studied Elementary Education at Iowa State - Go Cyclones! When Courtney isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her spending time with her husband and son, Easton. 
  • Chelsie Lucas, Admin

    Chelsie Lucas

    Admin

    Chelsie is the administrator in Johnston, Iowa, with a gift for multitasking and joy when working with kids. While Chelsie has many administrative talents, she finds her true happiness when she can be with the kids during transition time. When Chelsie isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her with her husband and two daughters, watching movies or swimming!