Special Education

Helen Copley

School Psychologist

E: helen.copley@dmschools.org

Susan David

Special Education Teacher


Hi.  My name is Susan David.  This is my second year of teaching special education at Hillis. I'm so glad to be working with students here! I love working with students and seeing their excitement as they work toward meeting their personal goals in math, writing and reading. Before joining the team at Hillis, I taught at Wallace Elementary and Monroe Elementary. I also taught conversational English in northern Japan for three years. It was a fantastic experience!

In my spare time I enjoy playing the piano and reading.   My husband and I also love to try new restaurants and travel.   It is our goal to visit all seven continents.

Colleges Attended:  Northwestern College, University of Northern Iowa, Viterbo University

Highest Degree Earned:  Master's Degree

Endorsements:  K-6 Elementary Classroom, K-8 Social Studies, Mildly Disabled, Learning Disabilities, Multicategorical Resource/Mild, Instructional Strategist 1: Mild/Moderate, English as a Second Language

Years of Experience:   20

Years at Hillis:  2

Original Hometown:  Pella, Iowa

High School Attended:  Pella Community High School

Marcia Kelly

Special Education Consultant

E: marcia.kelly@dmschools.org

Greg Laraia

Special Education Teacher

E: gregory.laraia@dmschools.org


Biography: My name is Greg Laraia and I am a second year teacher at Hillis Elementary.  I grew up in Ankeny, Iowa.  I attended Des Moines Area Community College and graduated from Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa.  In my spare time I enjoy traveling, playing golf, and spending time with family.  I enjoy each day that I get to work with my students and am proud of the hard work that they constantly show!

Colleges Attended: Des Moines Area Community College, Grand View University

Highest Degree Earned: Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education

Endorsement: K-8 Instructional Strategist I, Reading, Language Arts

Years of Experience: 2

Hometown: Ankeny, Iowa

High School Attended: Ankeny High School

Kelsey Morrison

Special Education Teacher

E: kelsey.morrison@dmschools.org


Colleges Attended: University of Northern Iowa

Highest Degree Earned: Bachelors Degree: Elementary Education

Endorsements: Special Education K-8

Years of Experience: 2

Years at Hillis: First year!

Original Hometown: West Des Moines

High School Attended: Valley High School

Kaitlyn Norgaard

Special Education Teacher

E: kaitlyn.norgaard@dmschools.org


My name is Kaitlyn Norgaard, this is my second year of teaching and my second year at Hillis, I am so happy to be here!  I am originally from Walford, Iowa where I attended high school at Cedar Rapids Prairie. I graduated in May of 2015 from Central College in Pella, IA with a major in elementary education and endorsements in special education and reading. While at Central I met my husband Jack and we got married this past summer!

Jim Perlowski

Social Worker

E: stephen.perlowski@dmschools.org


Colleges Attended: DMACC, St. Anslem College, University of Iowa

Highest Degree Earned: Masters degree in Social Work

Endorsements: LMSW

Years of Experience: 13 years with Juvenile Court, 7 years with DMPS

Years at Hillis: Second year

Original Hometown: Des Moines

High School Attended: Dowling High

Dara Sam

Special Education Teacher

E: chandara.sam@dmschools.org


My name is Dara Sam. I am a Third year teacher. I teach K-2 behavior. 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!

Class website:  http://chandarasam.wix.com/myclassroom

College(s) attended: Simpson

Highest Degree Earned: Bachelors

Endorsement(s): Reading and Special Education

Years of Experience: 4

Years at Hillis: 3

Original Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa

High School Attended: Des Moines North