5th Grade

Diane Iaria

5th Grade Teacher

E: diane.iaria@dmschools.org



I have been teaching for 17 years in the Des Moines Public Schools.  I spent my first 9 years teacher Special Education and the last 8 years teaching 5th grade.  Currently I live in Ankeny with my husband and 4 year old daughter.  I love being outside when the weather is nice.  I enjoy reading, working out , and cooking.  Teaching is all I've ever wanted to do and I love every minute of it.  Every year, I learn something new from my students.  I look forward to what I can learn here at Hillis.

Colleges Attended: Simpson College

Highest Degree Earned: Bachelor of Arts

Endorsements: Reading, Special Education, Early Childhood

Years of Experience: 17

Years at Hillis: 1

Original Hometown: Carlisle, Iowa

High School Attended: Carlisle High School

Valerie Jorgensen

5th Grade Teacher

E: valerie.jorgensen@dmschools.org


My name is Ms. Jorgensen.  I am excited to begin my eleventh year of teaching here at Hillis Elementary.  I grew up in on a farm in northern Iowa, and after graduating with a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Iowa, I moved to Houston, Texas where I taught for 9 years.  Last summer I decided to move back to Iowa to be closer to family, which has been wonderful!   When I am not at Hillis, I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend (Terry), stepson (Alex), my 4-legged child (my dog, Loosey), and the rest of my family.  We enjoy spending time outdoors together, including going for walks and camping.  Some of my other favorite things include Starbucks coffee, thrift store shopping, Iowa Hawkeye football, and watching movies.  I am really looking forward to this school year!!!  GO HAWKS!!!

Colleges Attended:  Southeastern Community College, University of Iowa, University of St. Thomas Houston

Highest Degree Earned:  Master's of Education, Reading Specialist

Endorsements: Reading, Special Education

Years of Experience: Beginning my 12th year in education

Years at Hillis: This will be my 2nd year at Hillis

Original Hometown: Swaledale, IA

High School Attended: Rockwell-Swaledale High School

Dara Sam

5th Grade Teacher

E: chandara.sam@dmschools.org


My name is Dara Sam. I am a fifth year teacher. I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa. I attended college at Simpson where I received my degree in elementary education. I absolutely love and adore all of my students and look forward to seeing the progress and hard work each of my students will give this year!

College(s) attended: Simpson

Highest Degree Earned: Bachelors

Endorsement(s): Reading and Special Education

Years of Experience: 5

Years at Hillis: 4

Original Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa

High School Attended: Des Moines North