Rhonda Alessio joined the staff in January 2007 and has served as Program Staff Assistant, Membership Secretary, Administrative Specialist and now in her current position as Director of Discipleship. Rhonda oversees the Christian Care Cluster and the Discipleship Cluster helping people to move along the Discipleship Pathway, drawing new people to worship services, assisting them in connecting with small groups and mobilizing them for service as well as connecting people to the caring ministries they may need. Rhonda and her husband Joe live in South Des Moines.
Mr. José Clavell began his duties as Director of Traditional Worship for Ankeny First in the summer of 2018. Before his position at Ankeny, he was the Music Director for Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Urbandale, Iowa and a Spanish teacher to Beginner, Advanced, Native, Heritage, and Non-Native students at Des Moines Public Schools for three years. He currently sings with the Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble.
Originally from Puerto Rico, José moved to the midwest in 2013 where he pursued his Master’s of Music in Choral Conducting at Western Illinois University (2015) and is a graduate of Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico (Ponce, Puerto Rico, 2012). José avid foodie and beginner blogger. He currently lives in Grimes, Iowa with his dog Moe the westiepoo.
Emily Kupris joined us as our Director of Children's Ministry in July 2021.
She is honored that God has led her to this position and that she has the pleasure of working with your children every week! God has blessed her with the desire to help grow children's faith and make them disciples for the Lord. She is passionate about loving God in and out of church. Her hope is that through the tools and lessons your children learn in our programs, they will be able to establish a firm foundation in their faith that will carry them through life.
Emily studied family services at the University of Northern Iowa. She is married to her husband Derek and they have three little boys—Leyton, and twins Benton and Heyden.
Grayson joined the staff in September 2021 as our Director of Youth Ministry. He graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Religious Studies. In 2020, he completed his Master of Divinity with United Theological Seminary. He enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Amie, who will be graduating from Iowa State in December 2021. His father is a United Methodist pastor and was just appointed to that community in July 2021. His mom is a pre-school teacher in the Harlan Community School District.
Brenda joined the staff in April 2020. She has worked with nonprofits since 2002, most recently spending the last eight years as the CFO for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Iowa. Her undergraduate degree is in accounting from Wartburg College. Brenda completed her MBA degree in 2018 with Liberty University. Brenda, her husband, Mark, and son, Mitch, have lived in Ankeny since 2005. Brenda enjoys warm sunshiny days, coffee time with close friends, time spent in her kitchen, and overall personal wellness and fitness.
Amity joined the staff at Ankeny First in 2015. As Director of Worship, her responsibilities include planning contemporary worship across our worship sites and directing the Children's Music Ministry. Amity has been leading worship at Ankeny First since she began attending the church in 2002. She has a degree in music education and music therapy from Wartburg College. Amity is married to Pastor John Wagner, and they have two children, Gabe and Landry.