State Board Members

The following individuals are currently serving on the Early Childhood Iowa State Board.

David Arens, Citizen, Des Moines

Dave Arens has been in the financial services industry for more than 27 years. He joined Wells Fargo in 2004 and is currently a Wealth Advisor with The Private Bank. Dave focuses on helping business executives, entrepreneurs and medical professionals build, manage, preserve and transition their wealth. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Dave worked at two other major financial firms for nearly 20 years. Dave has been a part of many professional affiliations. Prior to joining the ECI State Board, he was an active ECI board member in Polk County.

Ryan Wise - Director, Department of Education

Dr. Ryan Wise was appointed director of the Iowa Department of Education by former Governor Terry Branstad in July 2015.

Director Wise leads with an emphasis on working together as an education system to make Iowa’s schools into places where adults can collaborate and students can thrive. He has made it a priority to stay connected to Iowa schools, having visited more than 140 school districts statewide.

Director Wise was named Policy Leader of the Year by the National Association of State Boards of Education in 2017 and has worked in education at the local, state, national and international levels.

He began his career as a high school history teacher in Mississippi and Nebraska before moving to his home state of South Dakota to launch and lead Teach for America on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Reservations. He also worked to eliminate educational inequity around the world as one of the founding staff members of Teach for All, a global network of education entrepreneurs.

Director Wise earned a doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a bachelor’s degree in history from Creighton University.

He lives in Des Moines with his wife, Sacha, and their two sons, Weston and Graham.

When asked to introduce his father to his class, Ryan’s youngest son said, “This is my dad, Mr. Ryan Wise. He is the Director of Education. He visits classrooms 

Kimberly Villotti,  Director Designee, Department of Education

Kimberly Villotti serves as the Administrative Consultant for Early Childhood Programs and Services at the Iowa Department of Education.  Her role is to encourage and support program collaboration and coordination both internally and with external stakeholders.  In addition to early childhood, Kimberly's interests are broad including topics related to standards, curriculum, instruction, and assessment.  She greatly enjoys state systems work and joined the ECI Steering Committee as a Iowa Department of Education to better examine and support collaboration with Early Childhood Iowa efforts.  


James Christensen

Jim Christensen of Waterloo joined the Early Childhood Iowa State Board in 2011. He is co-owner of Single Source Architects and Master Builders and is the Director of Sales and Marketing and Chief Financial Officer.  Christensen was a member of the Waterloo Community School District Board of Education for six years and has served on many of its committees, including the strategic planning committee and the district advisory board.   He was also a long time board member and past president of the Boys/Girls Club of Black Hawk County. He is very active in the community and served on numerous other boards and task forces including the Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, Metro Marketing Task Force, Waterloo Industrial Development Association and the First Presbyterian Church of Waterloo.  He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Administrative Management and Marketing from the University of Iowa.

Gerd Clabaugh, Department of Public Health

Gerd Clabaugh was appointed by Governor Branstad in May 2014 as the Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health. Gerd has served in many capacities within IDPH, including Deputy Director, Director of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention, Director of Acute Disease Epidemiology and Emergency Response; during the early 1990s, he was appointed Director of the Center for Health Policy.

He is past-president and past-legislative chair of the Iowa Public Health Association and has served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Iowa, Montana State University-Billings, Des Moines University, and Iowa State University. He has been lead author or contributed to academic publications in the journals Value in Health, American Journal of Medical Quality, and Vaccine. 

Gerd’s community involvement includes 12 years of service (ending in 2017) on the city council and as the Mayor Pro Tem in the city of Johnston, Iowa. He is also a past-Chairman of the Board of Directors for central Iowa’s regional solid waste agency, providing services to over 400,000 Iowans. 

Gerd has pursued doctoral studies at the University of Iowa and holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from Iowa State University and a Bachelor’s degree from Drake University. He is married with four grown children.


Brenda Dobson, Director Designee, Department of Public Health

Richard Clewell, Citizen, Davenport

Rich Clewell of Davenport was appointed to the Iowa Early Childhood Board in 2013. After graduating from Iowa State University in 1978, Clewell retired from the Department of Defense in 2007 after 33 years as a civilian wildlife biologist. Rich is currently a member of the Davenport Community School Board and also serves on community arts, education, and immigrant empowerment boards.

Kathryn Dorsey

Debi Durham - Director, Economic Development Authority

Chad Driscoll - Designee, Economic Development Authority

Chad Driscoll was chosen as the Director’s designee in 2012 representing the Iowa Economic Development Authority.  He is the Program Officer for Education and Youth Development for the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service.  Before joining the Commission, Chad was an AmeriCorps Program Director and former AmeriCorps member with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Davenport, IA from 2006-2012.  He has been actively involved in local and national AmeriCorps Alums chapters since he served as a member.  He received his Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and Psychology from St. Ambrose University in 2008.

Jerry R. Foxhoven - Director, Department of Human Services

Jerry R. Foxhoven became director of the Iowa Department of Human Services in June 2017. Foxhoven began practicing law in 1977 with a strong emphasis on trial practice in criminal and civil law. He was also extensively involved in juvenile and family law cases until 2000 when he began as administrator for the Iowa Child Advocacy Board.In this role, he was responsible for developing and implementing personnel policies, strategic planning and public policy advocacy. While in this position, he was also director of two separate child welfare advocacy programs: Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and Iowa Citizen Foster Care Review Board programs.

In 2006, Foxhoven became director of the Joan & Lyle Middleton Center for Children's Rights, a state and national advocacy center focusing on children's rights issues. Around the same time, he joined Drake Law School as a clinical professor. He instructed juvenile law for third-year law students in a clinical setting, supervising students in juvenile court proceedings and in the Legislative Practice Program as they drafted bills and lobbied for passage of bills pertaining to issues involving youth. Most recently, Foxhoven served as executive director of Clinical Programs and Professor of Law at Drake University's School of Law. There, he supervised a number of administrative responsibilities relating to the school. Foxhoven has authored a number of articles and given hundreds of presentations throughout Iowa and the country. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Morningside College in 1974 and earned his Juris Doctor from Drake University Law School in 1977. He lives in Clive with his wife, Julie.


Terry Harrmann


Judy Janning-Reicks

Sigrid Joanne Lane

Joanne Lane of Waterloo joined the Iowa Early Childhood Board in 2012.   A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Joanne’s professional career was spent in education during which she served in leadership roles on local, state, regional and national boards.  Currently retired, Joanne is an active community volunteer serving in a variety of roles that range from serving as a board member of local human service, educational and arts agencies to delivering meals to home bound seniors.

Angela Lensch

I am an experienced educator (16 years). My first Master's of Ed. is in professional school counseling. I completed a second Master's Degree in Education- Curriculum and Instruction in Effective Teaching, Instructional Leadership. Currently, I am the Education and Disabilities Coordinator at New Opportunities in Carroll, IA. Here I oversee 21 Head Start classrooms education and disability area needs, such as professional development and monitoring of students with disabilities. At the college level. I held the position of an Adjunct Prof. of Psychology at DMACC. I have experience as a secondary professional school counselor. I have instructed science and technology courses to middle and high school students. My establishment and application of curriculum in all of these areas has given me a deep understanding of curriculum and how to assess students to ensure learning. I have a strong knowledge of technology, with experience teaching technology courses. For 2 years, I developed curriculum and consulted for Franchise Capacitybuilder LLC., Cairo, Egypt. As a consultant I discussed, developed, and created the framework of curriculum for the company’s academic camp based on STEM principles. I have followed and integrated the NGSS and used the UbD methodologies into my courses taught. I was chosen to be a top panelist peer reviewer by the U.S. Dept. of Ed. There I analyzed district-county applications for the Race to the Top Ed. grants. Summer 2015, I went to Chicago as a Master Education Specialist, working for Pearson and delivering professional development. I demonstrated knowledge of curriculum products, used effective coaching leading training to teachers and administration. My responsibilities have included delivering professional development and technical assistance for school-based interventions. Education has become a life-long passion of mine. I have devoted my life to passing knowledge on to others. 



Barb Merrill

Barb Merrill was appointed to the ECI board in 2018. She has had a variety of roles in early childhood education in her career, including positions as a teacher, center director, community college instructor, and Parents as Teachers home visitor.

She was the first T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Program Manager for Iowa, and then served ten years as Executive Director for the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children. She has had leadership roles with the ECI Alliance. Barb as a B.S. in Child Development and a M.S. in Adult Education.  

Mary Petersen

Brook Rosenberg

Mr. Rosenberg was appointed to the ECI State Board in 2012.  He  started in the insurance business in 1973 as a fourth generation insurance broker.  Mr. Rosenberg specialize in employee benefits with a main focus on the implementation, education and communication of benefits both to the employer and the employees and their families. They have clients all over Iowa and in an additional 15 states.  Mr. Rosenberg holds a BS from the University of Northern Colorado and has served on multiple boards and associations. 

Jean Stadtlander

Jean Stadtlander of Manning was appointed to the Board in 2011 by Governor Terry Branstad. She brought to the ECI State board seven years of serving on the local Partnerships 4 Families ECI Board. Her service to church, community, and school involve a variety of roles with youth. She volunteers as a CASA Volunteer, Kids Hope Mentor, UMC Youth Group leader, Volleyball official (16 state tournaments) and has organized and coached youth sports programs for over 23 years. Jean also is a past school board member and has served on many boards in the community, county and state organizations and has spearheaded many alumni events and school and community fundraisers. Jean and her husband, Todd are parents of two daughters and are long time owners of Manning Insurance & Real Estate.

Beth Townsend, Director Iowa Workforce Development

Beth Townsend is a graduate of Kearney State College, Kearney Nebraska and the University of Nebraska Law School. She is a member of the Nebraska and Iowa state bar. Prior to being named as the Director of the Iowa Workforce Development, she was the Director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, appointed by Governor Terry Branstad. Prior to that, Ms. Townsend was in private practice in West Des Moines, Iowa, where she represented individuals before federal and state jurisdictions, including the United States Supreme Court, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Iowa Supreme Court, in the area of civil rights and employment law.

As a member of the United States Air Force, Ms. Townsend served as a member of the Judge Advocate General where she prosecuted and defended airmen and most recently served as a military judge in her last reserve tour. She retired from the Air Force Reserve in August, 2010 as a Lieutenant Colonel after 21 years of active and reserve duty. Beth is the mother of one son and is a proud member of the Choctaw Nation.

Kristi Judkins, Director Designee, Iowa Workforce Development

Frank Varvaris

San Wong - Director, Department of Human Rights

Kelly Davydov- Designee, Department of Human Rights

Kelly Davydov serves as the Director’s designee for the Iowa Department of Human Rights. Ms. Davydov is a Program Manager for the Family Development and Self-Sufficiency (FaDSS) Program within the Division of Community Action Agencies. Her professional involvement includes serving as public co-chair for the ECI Steering Committee and Results Accountability component group. Ms. Davydov is also active in her community, serving on the board of directors of Latinas Unidas por un Nuevo Amanecer. Prior to joining the Department of Human Rights, Ms. Davydov served as the Director of the Iowa Child Abuse Prevention Program. She has also worked on efforts to reduce childhood food insecurity and domestic violence. Ms. Davydov earned a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish, International Relations, and Political Science from Drake University.

Michael Bergan - Representative, Iowa House

Mary Mascher - Representative, Iowa House

Representative Mary Mascher, Additional Information

Rita Hart, Senator - District 49

Craig P. Johnson, Senator - District 32

Printed from the website on September 24, 2018 at 6:23pm.