Staff Bios

Toni Fuller Merfeld, M.S.Ed., President/Managing Member

Toni is the President and Managing Member of Metro West Learning Center. She has been in the field of education for 35 years and has extensive experience working with students on the autism spectrum with learning and behavior challenges both in the classroom and as a consultant in the public and private sectors. She has been trained in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and in structuring classrooms for students with Autism using the TEACHH model developed by the University of North Carolina. Her experience in ABA teaching strategies provide students with the individualization of instruction necessary to create a meaningful learning experience for students and parents alike. In addition to her work at Metro West Learning Center, she is the past Executive Board Secretary for the International Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD), past President, Iowa Council for Exceptional Children; and was the Children’s Mental Health Consultant for the Iowa Department of Education. She is a member of CEC’s Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities and the Division on International Special Education, The Association of Positive Behavior Supports, National Autism Society and the Iowa Autism Society. She also sits on the Regional Autism Program (RAP) Advisory Committee and RAP Expert Panel.

Candice Fedeler, MA ED., Director of Programmingimg_6201-269x300

Candice holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Northern Iowa and completed her course work in Applied Behavior Analysis from the Chicago School of Psychology. She worked for Des Moines Public Schools as a Behavior Interventionist for grades K-5. Candice has been trained in ABA, Verbal Behavior, Lindamood-Bell Visualizing Verbalizing and Seeing Stars, TEACCH, Picture Exchange Communication Systems, and other communication devices. She is well-versed in Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) and has given several trainings to staff and families on how to implement with fidelity. Candice has a gift for identifying specific behavioral needs and working with families to develop structures to increase success at home and in the community.

loria Frolek Clark, PhD, OTR/L  BCP, Occupational Therapist

Gloria has a doctorate degree in Early Childhood from Iowa State University and is Board Certified in
Pediatrics by the American Occupational Therapy Association. In addition to over 30 years in experience, she is certified in infant massage, sensory integration assessment, handwriting assessment and treatment, and evaluation & treatment of children with Neuro-developmental difficulties. She is a national presenter and has authored several chapters and papers on early childhood issues, autism, eating and feeding issues, hand skills and handwriting, daily living skills, visual perception/motor, and sensory processing. Gloria is married and has three adult children and four delightful grandchildren.

Amy Dannenfeltd, M.A. C.C.C.-SLP, Speech and Language img_6163-227x300Pathologist

Amy holds a Master’s Degree in Speech –Language Pathology from the University of Northern Iowa .  Before taking time off to stay home with her kids, she worked for Heartland AEA 11 in the Knoxville and Pleasantville areas and the Omaha Public Schools.  Amy has worked with children ages 2-18 and has experience with a wide variety of speech and language disabilities.  In addition to providing speech and language therapy at Metro West, Amy works in private practice.  “I am excited to be a part of the Metro West Learning Center team.  I enjoy working closely with the families  to help improve the speech and language needs of each child.”

Andrea Krueger, Physical Therapistimg_6169-236x300

Andrea Krueger received a degree in Biology at St. Ambrose University and received her Master’s in Physical Therapy degree at Des Moines University.  She has worked as a physical therapist in pediatrics for the past 11 years.  Andrea has experience with early intervention and school based physical therapy.  She worked for the MBAEA in Davenport, Iowa serving birth to 21 year old clients with diagnoses of Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Delays, Genetic Defects and disorders, Down Syndrome, Autism, Muscular impairments, Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other chronic illnesses.  Andrea and her family relocated to the Des Moines area and are happy to move closer to both sets of grandparents since they have two little boys, Blake and Bryce.

Kristin Hanson, M.A., BCBA, Lead BCBA/ABA Supervisor/ABA Therapistimg_6210-248x300

Kristin Hanson is our Lead Board Certified Behavior Analyst and ABA Supervisor. She holds a Master’s Degree in Child & Adolescent Psychology and a BCBA Respecialization certificate from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology was completed at Grand View University. Before joining the Metro West team, she worked as a Behavior Therapist at The Pier Center for Autism in Sioux City, IA where she provided one-on-one ABA therapy to individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Kristin develops, implements, and interprets skill acquisition programs, treatment plans, goals, individualized curriculum materials, protocols, and research-based behavioral interventions based on on-going data collection and assessment results. She also conducts Social Skills groups and provides parent and caregiver training. She has experience with a wide variety of ABA techniques and procedures used to increase skill acquisition and reduce problem behaviors. She holds memberships with Autism Society of Iowa, Association for Behavior Analysis International, Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, Heartland Association for Behavior Analysis, Iowa Association for Behavior Analysis, and American Psychological Association Division 25 Behavior Analysis. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children. Kristin has a strong passion for working with children on the Autism Spectrum and with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Her energetic, bubbly personality creates a fun working environment for children, which promotes excitement to learn!

Megan (Coady) Mobley, CCC-SLPimg_6289-245x300

Megan Mobley is a Speech-Language Therapist who earned her Master’s Degree from the University of Northern Iowa. She has experience working in her field with both adults and children. She especially enjoys working with kids on the Autism spectrum. When she is not working, she enjoys biking, doing running competitions, and spending time with friends and family.


Nikki Kubby, M.A., Assistant ABA Therapist img_6283

Nikki holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Grand View University and a certificate in Art Therapy. She is currently in the process of completing her Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis, with an emphasis in autism through Ball State University. Before joining the Metro West team, she worked as an ABA Specialist at The Homestead where she provided one-on-one ABA therapy to individuals on the Autism Spectrum, as well as conducted social skills groups and provided parent training. She is also an Iowa Army National Guard Veteran. She holds memberships with Association for Behavior Analysis International, Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, Iowa Association for Behavior Analysis, and Organizational Behavior Management Network. When she’s not working, she loves spending time with family and friends. She also enjoys traveling, hiking, biking and being a part of the Des Moines social scene by attending concerts, checking out all things art, and trying new restaurants. Nikki is a great addition to our team!

img_6281-240x300Megan Brunk, Director of Operations

Megan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies from The University of Iowa. She has two Minors; one in Business Administration and one in Human Relations, which reflect her passion of working with people in administrative settings. She has worked in the insurance industry and brings a wealth of knowledge to the position as Director of Operations. Along with her business background, her professional experience includes four years as a Teacher’s Assistant, providing specialized care for diverse youth. She also worked for Camp Adventure® (a partner with the United States Department of Defense) spending time overseas in Germany as a Youth Camp Counselor on the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center military base. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends (including her identical twin sister), baking, playing tennis, and walking the Iowa trails.


img_6186-223x300Jessica Nedved, M.A. C.C.C.-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist

Jessica Nedved received her Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Northern Iowa.  Along with her experience with a wide variety of speech and language therapy, she is certified in the Sequential Oral Sensory(SOS) approach to feeding, and trained in Lindamood-Bell Visualizing Verbalizing, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), and AAC devices. Previously, she worked at the Sussex Consortium in Lewes, Delaware. While working within the Sussex Consortium, Jessica gained specialized experience working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She also implemented principles of ABA and has experience teaching social language groups.

Charla Norris, M.A., Academic/Behavior Specialistcharlas-picture
Charla holds a Master of Science in Special Education from Drake University along with an Instructional Strategist II: Learning and Behavior Disorders endorsement. Her Bachelor’s Degree was also completed at Drake University in Secondary Education, with Instructional Strategist I: Mild to Moderate Disabilities and Reading endorsements. Before joining the Metro West team, Charla worked for 5 years at Urbandale Public School District with students with challenging behaviors and moderate to severe learning disabilities. She is currently in the process of completing her coursework to become Board Certified as an Applied Behavior Analyst through Florida Institute of Technology. Charla has had training in using Visualizing Verbalizing, ABA techniques, along with a variety of behavior and classroom management trainings. 


img_6246-225x300Jeanine Crane, M.A. C.C.C.-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist

Jeanine attended the University of Iowa (Go Hawks!) and St. Ambrose University in pursuit of working in the field of speech-language pathology. Jeanine has spent the past 3 years working with adults in the medical field, however, she was looking to get back to her passion of working with kids! She will continue to work with adults as well as she feels there’s always something to learn and enjoys the challenge of doing it all! Jeanine especially enjoys working with kids with autism spectrum disorders and delayed speech and language development here at Metro West!


Sue Anderson, Evening Office Assistant img_6238-229x300

Sue has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, along with a Minor in Sociology from Grand View University. She has a passion for serving others and enjoys being here to serve our clients and families during the evening hours. With her strong business background, caring personality, and can-do attitude, she helps keep the office running smoothly.


Elyssa Appleton – Communications Consultant

pCUjDVKOElyssa is in charge of Metro West’s social and digital sites. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Iowa. She has more than half a dozen years in writing, editing, copy writing, public relations and and content management. She is the former director of VSA Iowa, a nonprofit that provides free arts programming for kids with disabilities.

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