Staff Bios


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

Megan Brunk, Director of Operationsimg_6281-240x300

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.


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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.

 

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.

 

 

Nichole Clark, M.A., BCBANichole Clark

Nichole is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis with an emphasis in Autism from Ball State University. She has worked in the field of behavior analysis for five years as an ABA therapist providing one-on-one therapy, as well as conducting social skills groups and providing parent training. She has a passion for making a difference in our clients lives and loves teaching others about the field of Behavior Analysis. Nichole possesses strong leadership skills and enjoys training and supervising our Registered Behavior Technicians. 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 her family, friends and cat named Clarence. 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.

 

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!

 

John Pokrzywinski, MA, Board Certified Behavior AnalysJohn Pokrzywinskit

John serves as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at Metro West Learning Center. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Southern Illinois University in psychology and a Master of Arts, degree from Western Michigan University in psychology. He has been in the field of behavior analysis for 47 years and has extensive experience working with individuals in a variety of settings, who require applied behavior analysis services. John provides functional behavior assessments, behavior support program development, training for staff and families, professional fieldwork supervision, supervision of Registered Behavior Technicians, and consults on organizational behavior management issues. He is the BACB Approved Continuing Education Coordinator for the clinic. John is a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, the Professional Behavior Analysts, the Iowa Association for Behavior Analysis (Founder and Chair, 2008-2009, Vice-Chair 2010-2014), and the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, the Organizational Behavior Management Network, and the Association for the Advancement of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Roxanna Patterson, CCC-SLP, CLC, CWCRoxanna Patterson

Roxanna holds a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Northern Colorado. Her experience includes The JFK Center at the University of Colorado in Denver, Colorado, Baptist Hospital and Kershaw County Hospital in South Carolina, as well as the Department of Defense Middle School in Seoul, South Korea and Achieve Beyond Services in Westchester County, New York. Roxanna has worked with children ages 6 months to 18-years-old and has experience with a wide variety of speech and language disabilities. In addition to providing Speech and Language therapy at Metro West, Roxanna owns Career Confidence International, LLC,  where she provides accent reduction and career coaching for foreigners working in the U.S. or working for U.S. companies.  “I am delighted to be a part of the Metro West Learning Center team. The cooperative collaboration Metro West provides children and their families is an ideal environment for the most progress possible.”

Addison McCombs, Special Education TeacherAddison McCombs

Addison holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a Social Studies endorsement from the University of Northern Iowa. She is currently enrolled at Morningside College in the Masters of Special Education graduate program with an endorsement of Instruction Strategist II: Behavioral Disorders and Learning Disabilities. She previously worked as Behavioral Specialist Assistant for four years at a local Metro school before starting her career as a teacher. Addison has worked with children and adults with mental and physical disabilities for a total of nine years in their home, school, or community setting and believes wholeheartedly that she has found her calling as a teacher.

Julie Dauterive, RBTJulie Dauterive

Julie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Jacksonville University. She is currently seeking a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Ball State University to become a BCBA. She is certified as a Registered Behavior Technician.  She has over 10 years experience working in the field of Behavior Analysis, providing services at a private school, in home and clinical setting. Julie is married and has 4 children. Julie also has real life experience as a parent of a child with special needs.

Nehemiah Koroma, RBTNehemiah Koroma

Nehemiah recently moved to Iowa from Alexandria, Virginia where he graduated with BA in sociology from West Virginia University. He has ben in the behavioral health field for the past five years and recently acquired his certification as a Registered Behavior Tech.   In his free time, Nehemiah enjoys reading spiritual books, exercising, watching documentaries and going out to eat and movie theater with friends.

 

Ambrose Ball-Harney, Office AssistantAmbrose Ball-Harney (1)

Ambrose received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology along with a minor in Religious Studies from the University of Iowa. He has a long history of working in the Human Services field and greatly enjoys being here to help with whatever pops up during the day. When he’s not assisting in the office, Ambrose enjoys attending local artist events, going on walks, and cooking.

 

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 ConsultantpCUjDVKO

Elyssa 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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