Intervention Teachers

Julie Franz



Class Description

I live in Clive with my husband and two daughters.  I have taught Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, and Reading Recovery.  I am currently an intervention teacher.  I think that being an educator is the most rewarding job in the whole world.  I look forward every day to making a difference in the lives of children.

Colleges Attended
The University of Iowa
Viterbo University

Highest Degree Earned
Master's Degree


Years of Experience
27 years

Years at Hillis

Original Hometown

High School Attended
Hoover High School

Alecia Hodgkinson

ELL Teacher


I am entering my 17 year of teaching and my 1st at Hillis-I am very excited!  During my career I have worked as a Title I Reading & Math teacher (K-5) and a 4th grade teacher.  I am looking forward to joining the Hillis community as an ESL teacher.  My husband is a professor in the School of Education at Drake University.  We have an 18-month old daughter and a Golden Retriever named Maggie.  We are huge fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes, enjoy traveling and spending time with friends and family.  Can’t wait to meet the students and families of Hillis Elementary!

Colleges: University of Iowa, Drake University

Highest Degree: Master’s in Developmental Reading

Endorsements: Reading, Social Studies, English as a Second Language

Years of Experience: 16

Years at Hillis: This will be my 1st!

Hometown: Iowa City

High School: Iowa City-City High


Stephanie Kilker

Instructional Coach



My name is Stephanie Kilker and this is my first year at Hillis Elementary as Instructional Coach! I live on the Southside of Des Moines on Easter Lake and love to ride my bike on area trails. Currently, I am reading through the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher.

Colleges Attended: Drake University and Grand Canyon University

Highest Degree Earned: Masters in Educational Administration and Leadership

Endorsements: Music K-12

Years of Experience: 9

Years at Hillis: First year!

Original Hometown: LeMars, Iowa

High School Attended: Gehlen Catholic High School

Joy Leafgreen




My name is Mrs. Leafgreen, and I work with English Language Learners here at Hillis Elementary.  I enjoy working with students and their families who come from diverse language and cultural backgrounds.  I help students improve their English in the areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  This year I will mostly be working with K-2nd grade students.
Outside of Hillis School, I enjoy playing with my puppy and spending time with my husband, Ryan. We enjoy going for walks and bike rides.

Colleges Attended: Northwestern College (Orange City, Iowa); Anaheim University (CA)

Highest Degree Earned: BA (Elementary Ed); MA TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)

Endorsements: K-6 Classroom; K-12 ESL

Years of Experience: I am starting my 11th year of teaching.

Years at Hillis: 9

Original Hometown: Otley, Iowa  (near Pella)

High School Attended: Pella Christian High School

Haley Mayer

K-3 Reading Interventionist



Hello!  My name is Haley Mayer.  I am one of the intervention teachers at Hillis Elementary.  This is my first year teaching and I couldn't be more excited to start my career at Hillis.  Prior to the school year I was a substitute in the Des Moines, Dallas Center-Grimes, and Carlisle school districts.   I currently live in Des Moines.  In my spare time I enjoy cheering on the Hawkeyes and spending time with my family and my three small dogs (Wiley, Petey, and Maddie)!

Colleges Attended: University of Iowa (BA), Drake University (MS)

Highest Degree Earned: Masters of Science in Teaching

Endorsements: Reading

Years of Experience: First year!

Years at Hillis: First year!

Original Hometown: Grimes, IA

High School Attended: Dallas Center-Grimes

Laura Pfaltzgraff

Speech and Language Pathologist

P: 242-2160 | E:

Heidi Slinker

Reading/Math Interventionist



My name is Heidi Slinker and I'm a reading and math teacher at Hillis.  I am very proud to teach at Hillis and in the Des Moines Public Schools.  I have two daughters currently attending a Des Moines high school, and growing up, I attended Des Moines public schools!    My class motto has been to "Try your BEST to be your BEST!"

College(s) attended: Simpson College, Indianola, IA and Drake University, Des Moines IA

Highest Degree Earned: Masters Degree

Endorsement(s): Reading

Years of Experience: 9

Years at Hillis: 9

Original Hometown: Des Moines, IA

High School Attended: East High School

Kellie Tu

Instructional Coach TLC


Hi! My name is Kellie Tu. I am the Teaching and Learning Coach Hillis. I have been at Hillis 19 years!  I have taught third and fifth grades. Teaching students to be hard workers and big dreamers is very important to me!  I enjoy spending time with my husband and two very active daughters!  I love to read and watch my daughters play soccer!

College: Central College and Viterbo University

Highest degree: Masters of Education

Endorsements: Early childhood and early childhood special Ed

Years of experience: 19

Years at Hillis: 19 years

Hometown: Des Moines, IA

High school: East High