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5th Grade

Vania (Beatrice) Basanez


Kayla Cam

5th Grade Teacher
P: 515.242.8409 | F: 515.323.8644 | E:

Hi there!  My name is Kayla Cam.  I grew up in Des Moines and went to school in DMPS.  I graduated from Iowa State University, and I am currently attending Drake University for my Masters!  This upcoming year will be my eighth year in teaching.  Out of the eight years, I have taught five of them in Houston, Texas and the rest in DMPS.  In my free time, I enjoy traveling, shopping, and taking walks.  I enjoy being a teacher and watching my students grow throughout the year!  I am super excited to work with you and your students!

Kent Chapman

5th Grade Teacher
P: 515-242-8409 | F: 515.323.8644 | E:

I am originally from a small town in Western Iowa.  I initially went into the military after high school, then received my BA in Elementary Education from Upper Iowa University.  This is my 4th year at South Union Elementary and my 17th year with Des Moines Public Schools. I am married with two sons who keep us busy running to soccer and different activities.   My hobbies include hunting, fishing (anything in the outdoors), reading, painting, and just hanging out with my family.

Tiffany Sparks

5th Grade Teacher
P: 515.242.8409 | F: 515.323.8644 | E:

My Name is Mrs. Sparks and this is my sixth year at South Union (15th year teaching)!  You might recognize me as being a 4th grade teacher in the building, but I’m moving up to Fifth grade this year and am really excited!  I graduated from Central College (Go Dutch!)with a background in early childhood, reading and special education.   I’m married to my college sweetheart and we have a wonderful daughter (12 years old) and son (8 years old) together.  They talked me into getting a puppy, named Hampton, a few years ago, and he has become a loving part of our family as well.


I was born and raised in Arizona, but have settled in Iowa because of the wonderful people I have surrounded myself with.  I have a passion for teaching and making a difference in the lives of children.  Once my student, always my student.  I love seeing where life takes my amazing students.  When I’m not at South Union, you could probably find me at home drinking iced coffee and spending time with my family.  I also enjoy watching movies, being outside in warm weather (especially on the lake or beach), gardening and cooking/baking.  I live a life fueled by positivity, laughter and kindness!  I can’t wait to find out what fuels your life!

David Steinke

5th Grade Band Director
P: 515-242-8409 | F: 515-323-8644 | E:

David Steinke serves as the 5th grade Band Director on the South Side of Des Moines since 2017.  Mr. Steinke has served as an Instrumental Music Educator in Des Moines teaching primarily Band since 2008.  Mr. Steinke is also the Percussion Instructor for the Lincoln High School Marching Band and provides Percussion support for the 5th through 12th grade Band programs throughout the year.

Mr. Steinke graduated from Iowa State University twice with a Bachelors of Visual Fine Arts in 2000 and a Bachelors in Music Education in 2007.  He received his Master’s in Educational Technology from Full Sail University in 2011.  Outside of the School year, Mr. Steinke has worked as a percussion clinician for the DMPS Summer Middle School Band Camp and Cyclone Percussion Academy at Iowa State University.

Mr. Steinke is a member of the Percussion Arts Society, the Iowa Band Masters Association, the South Central Iowa Band Masters Association, and Alumni of the Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps.  He is a co-founder of ConcertCraft Publications, specializing in chamber music for percussion and custom arranging for Marching Band.

Samantha Thompson

5th Grade Teaacher
P: 515.242.8409 | F: 515.323.8644 | E: