OUR DOCTORS

Dr. Jim Else

Dr. Jim Else joined EyeCare Partners in 1992 after graduating from the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago. He lived in several small Iowa towns as a youth before graduating from Atlantic High School, and he then went on to attend Northwestern College in Orange City Iowa. He currently sees patients in the Oskaloosa office and he enjoys meeting new patients as well as serving his existing patients from communities all around south east Iowa.

 

Dr. Else serves on the board of Birthright Oskaloosa, and is also proud to work with the Lion’s Club International. He accepts glasses donations in the office for distribution to needy patients around the world.

Jim and his wife, Linda, met at Northwestern and have been married since 1990, and have 3 wonderful children. They enjoy vacationing as a family with the highlight of visiting Mount Airy, North Carolina for Jim’s annual shave and haircut at Floyd’s Barbershop. He also counts down the days each year until football season. He looks forward to attending Southeast Conference football games each fall, and is also a dedicated Green Bay Packers fan; with an ownership share of the franchise—he tries to visit Lambeau field any time he can. 

 

He is grateful for the years he has been able to be a part of the Oskaloosa community, and looks forward to many opportunities to assist friends and patients in the future.

Dr. Rachel Browne

Dr. Rachel (Barnes) Browne completed an internship at EyeCare Partners during her 4th year of optometry school and is thrilled to have joined the ECP team! Dr. Browne was born and raised in Pella where she graduated from Pella Community High School in 2004. After attending Iowa State University, Dr. Browne went on to receive her doctorate in 2012 at the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago. Upon graduating, Dr. Browne began practicing in Madison, WI before moving back to her hometown where she resides with her husband, Dustin, and their sons, Taylen & Noah.

 

Throughout her clinical rotations, Dr. Browne received honors for excellence in patient care and she continues to strive to help every patient achieve their best vision and eye health. Her professional interests include primary eye care, contact lenses, and treating and managing eye disease. Dr. Browne is a member of the Iowa Optometric Association and the American Optometric Association. She is excited to serve her local community and hopes to provide the same dedicated care she received growing up as a patient of EyeCare Partners.

 

Outside the office, Dr. Browne enjoys traveling, white water rafting, and spending time with family, friends, and their two rescued cats. She is a member of Second Reformed Church and hopes to incorporate the mission work she enjoyed as a youth into her future optometric career.

Dr. Ralph De Haan

Dr. Ralph De Haan is the self-proclaimed “tallest and grayest” of the doctors at EyeCare Partners. He carries the gray as a badge of honor for the years of blessings he has been to fortunate to encounter, both in his career and his personal life. Dr. De Haan married his high school sweetheart LuAnn after three years of college in 1978. They both graduated from Calvin College in 1979, and Dr. De Haan began optometry school in 1981. That same year, they were blessed with the birth of their first son, Matthew. By 1984, they had welcomed a second son Derek. Dr. De Haan graduated from the Illinois School of Optometry in 1985, and then joined Dr. Vander Leest in Pella to begin his career with EyeCare Partners. In 1989, God graciously gave them their daughter, Annaleyza, through the gift of international adoption. The family continues to grow with 8 wonderful grandchildren so far!

 

Dr. De Haan has been an integral part of EyeCare Partners since joining the practice in 1985. Through the years he has greatly enjoyed the variety of patients he has been able to assist here in the Pella area, and feels very fortunate to have found such remarkable partners and staff to work with. He is particularly grateful to both Dr. Vander Leest and the Pella Lion’s Club for introducing him to VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity) early in his career. Through this effort, he has been able to participate in several volunteer eye care trips around the world, often taking a family member along to enjoy the experience with him. He believes that God has instilled in him the dream to serve as much as possible, and envisions becoming even more involved with longer trips to Kenya and Haiti in the years to come. This dream seems even more attainable as EyeCare Partners continues to grow, and Dr. De Haan is very thankful for each patient who trusts us with their eye health and good vision!

Dr. Sandy Hundt

Dr. Sandy Hundt has been an employee of EyeCare Partners P.C. since graduating from the Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) in May of 1994. Before ICO she attended Iowa State University with a degree in Health Care Marketing as well as her pre-med courses. (Go Cyclones!). Dr. Hundt works primarily in the Pella office. She likes the relaxed atmosphere at EyeCare Partners and working with the fun and ambitious staff. She feels very blessed to work with such kind and caring partners. In addition to that, she says that her wonderful patients make her job a pleasure!

Dr. Hundt, her husband Doug, and their three children reside in Pella. Dr. Hundt grew up in Pella; her maiden name was Gosselink. When she isn’t working you can find her attending her children's school and sporting events. She loves spending time with her family and friends, going to exercise classes, attending church events, and shopping. She is an avid pet lover and currently has two cats, two dogs, and a guinea pig! Her new passion is mission trips to help those less fortunate with their visual needs. Ask her about her trips to Honduras and her new venture in Haiti… Two fun facts about Dr. Hundt…she loves shoes, and she has mastered 2000 levels in Candy Crush (which is higher than her teenagers!).

Dr. Wayne Vander Leest

Dr. Wayne Vander Leest started EyeCare Partners P.C. in 1979 in an office on the Pella square. He then opened Penn Central Eye Clinic in Oskaloosa in 1980. Obviously, growth of the offices and the way eye care is provided has changed tremendously since then. What has not changed is Dr. Vander Leest’s commitment to provide outstanding care for his patients’ vision and eye health needs. He also continues to appreciate the opportunity to get to know each new patient—he values the long term relationships he has established over the years with so many of his patients, often beyond just that of an optometrist.

Dr. Vander Leest grew up in Pella, graduating from Pella High, and completing his undergraduate work at Central College. He graduated from the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago in 1979, and was excited to return to his hometown to begin his career. Through the years he has been grateful to serve his friends and neighbors in the Pella area, and also to have been able to contribute in many mission efforts around the world. You may not know Dr. Vander Leest has participated in, or led 18 eye care missions to Haiti, Mexico, and Brazil. He looks forward to resuming this work in the near future, with hopes of being able to share the life changing experience with his family as well.

Dr. Vander Leest works full time primarily at the Pella office. His non-work life is now completely occupied with his wife Kris, and their 3 children. They have a busy life keeping up with multiple sporting events and practices, along with school and church activities. He and Kris are involved with either coaching, or organizing their “on call taxi service” to ensure everyone gets to where they need to be on time. He loves every minute of it even if he won’t admit it! In the brief times that he is able to stay home, he keeps busy maintaining the rather large acreage the Vander Leest’s call home.

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OUR STAFF

Andrea Franje

Andrea started working at EyeCare Partners in December of 2017. Andrea enjoys so much about her job including picking out the perfect frames for you. Styling has always been something she enjoys and making you feel great is an added perk. She loves the hometown feel of the office and being able to see so many familiar faces throughout each day.

 

Outside of work she enjoys life on her family farm with her husband, Eric and three girls Blakely, Charlie, and Gracie. When she isn’t working you might find her helping Eric on the farm with the cattle or driving a grain cart during harvest. If she isn’t on the farm she could be out shopping  with her girls as she loves being social and doing things with her friends. There is always something fun going on in the Franje household.

Annaleyza DeHaan

Annaleyza (Anna) has been working at the office since she can remember seeing as she is Dr. DeHaan's daughter. Some of her fondest memories is filing charts, filing paperwork for her dad, and visiting with all the girls growing up. She says, "I remember whenever my dad left for the office I usually wanted to go with just to see all the girls at the office." She has worked in multiple offices and many different jobs, but thanks to technology, she is able to continue to work for ECP remotely!

Anna recently moved to Ngong, Kenya and has been blessed to start her own marketing firm for non-profit organizations in the area while also doing the marketing for EyeCare Partners. "The nice part about marketing is that technology allows work to be done from anywhere!" Anna enjoys spending time with family (including spoiling her 8 nieces and nephews), friends, and playing games with her parents and grandma in her spare time! She also enjoys taking volunteer eye clinic mission trips with her dad to various areas in Kenya! She has been there 7 times and looks forward to being on the planning side of things while she resides in Kenya.

Benita Templeton

Benita has been a LOYAL EyeCare Partners employee for over 25 years! She began her career in optical in 1976 working with Dr. Overman right here in Pella. In 1989 she joined the staff at EyeCare Partners and over the years has become ECP’s certified “Queen of Adjustments”…our longtime patients often ask for her by name when needing to adjust to a new pair of glasses. She currently assists us two or more days per week in our lab with the ordering of glasses, safety glasses, adjustments, and in general; making sure the ship is in shape.

Benita and her husband Keith reside in Monroe, but eagerly await their yearly snow bird excursion visiting Bushnell, Florida. She is an avid cross-stitcher ; a “disease” which impels her to favor creating numerous Santa Claus projects, she has quite a lovely collection. Thank goodness she has connections to keep her vision sharp for her hobby—she has one of the most fashionable collections of reading glasses you can find anywhere! In her spare time, she also enjoys listening to Bluegrass music.

Haley Hotchkiss

Haley Hotchkiss became part of the ECP team in 2011. She enjoys being able to brighten a patients day by taking time to help them find eyewear that they feel confident about. She’s a bit of a “busy bee” and doesn’t like to sit still for long, so she’s always looking for something that she can help out with in the office. Haley is always up to a challenge, and looks forward to learning new skills in the optical environment in the years to come.

 

She and her daughter live in Oskaloosa. She keeps busy on her days off by cutting hair for family and friends, and exposing her daughter to many fun activities like gymnastics and soccer, and she enjoys being on walks and bike rides in the warm weather. She appreciates her job with EyeCare Partners because of the flexibility it offers when needed, and the family atmosphere.

Jenna Houser

Jenna Houser is a very familiar face in our Des Moines location, but is most recently seen in our pella office as a pretester! Her favorite part of her job is working with the patients and getting them ready for the doctors. 

She grew up in the area and lives in Lovilia with her fiancé Tyler Ford, step son Kastor and their little boy Kiptyn along with their dog, Harper. Jenna enjoys spending time with her family and friends, shopping and DIY-ing crafts around the house. She stays busy with the kids' activities and going to demolition derby’s to cheer on Tyler. We are very excited to have Jenna back in our office and part of the ECP team again!

Kristi Van Hauen

Kristi Van Hauen began her career at EyeCare Partners in 1993. Through the years she has always been very involved with our frame dispensary among other tasks. Kristi appreciates the value of a stylish pair of glasses, and looks forward to helping patients find just the right pair. She excels at keeping the office organized and running smoothly…she’s particularly talented in using her label maker to help us remember what belongs where.

 

She and her husband Terry, reside in Knoxville and their two boys keep them involved with many activities. Kristi loves to cheer them on at their events! She also relishes the times that she is able to volunteer in their school classrooms and with school activities. The Van Hauen family loves the beach—they often look forward to family vacations to Florida and Arizona to soak up the sand and sun.

Marla Nieuwsma

Marla began working for Penn Central Eye Clinic in Oskaloosa in November of 2005. Her tasks in the office vary from preparing patients and pre-testing for the doctor, to assisting patients with frame selection, material ordering and frame inventory maintenance, along with answering phones and scheduling appointments. She really enjoys visiting with patients and helping them with their eye care needs.

 

Marla and her husband Dan, live outside Oskaloosa. They have three grown children, a son-in-law, and soon a daughter-in-law will be joining the family. Fortunately, Marla loves weddings. She is a member of the Bethel Christian Reformed Church. In her spare time she enjoys camping, walking, and biking.

Marlys Speers

Marlys has been working in the Oskaloosa office for 20 years. Many of our patients have been lucky to have Marlys assist them with picking out glasses over the years, she knows most every patient by name! She has a great eye for style, and enjoys knowing that the patients she helps feel great wearing their new eyewear. Marlys also helps in the office by answering phones, making appointments, assisting the doctor, adjusting and repairing glasses, training patients on contact lens care and methods, and placing lab orders in addition to her role as a frame stylist. She loves working with Dr. Else, and all of her fantastic co-workers, and says her work at ECP never gets boring.

 

She has been married to her husband Slade for 24 years, they live in Monroe and they have 2 boys. Dalton is 18 and off to college, while Sheldon who is 14 keeps the family tradition alive by staying very active with sports activities (Go PCM!). Marlys loves attending the boys’ games and activities, and spending time with her friends and family. She looks forward to special “shopping trips” with the girls from work and if she’s lucky, they may grab dinner at her favorite restaurant.

Mary Lowrey

Mary works part time for EyeCare Partners.  She served as Assistant Administrator of Melrose Meadows Retirement Community in Iowa City until her retirement in 2014.  Mary and husband, Gary, then moved to the Pella area to be closer to family in Pella and Des Moines.  Unable to just “twiddle my thumbs,” Mary joined the ECP staff in 2016 to handle some of the accounting duties for the offices.  Mary claims that a big part in deciding to join the ECP staff was the friendly reception she received when she first visited the office after moving to Pella to get an adjustment to her glasses.  She knew she would be welcomed by the staff members.

Mary and Gary live on an acreage on the south side of Lake Red Rock, their first experience living in the country!  Mary likes to garden and says she doesn’t mind the ongoing battle to keep the deer out of her flowers because she enjoys the wildlife.  She and her husband have a fifth-wheel camper and spend many summer weekends camping around the area.  And, of course, they love spending time with their children and grandchildren in the area.  You’ll often find Mary with her head buried in a book – usually a fictional novel based on some real occurrence or historical event. 

Savanna Dayton

Savanna Dayton joined the ECP team in February of 2018. She works full-time at the Pella office at our front desk greeting everyone who comes in the door with a radiant smile! She has worked in customer service for many years, and she is perfect for it with her friendly and bubbly personality. Savanna keeps busy assisting the doctors with tasks and patients with their visits. She is always up for a challenge and loves learning new things!

Savanna is originally from Muscatine, Iowa and moved to the area after she finished her high school softball season in 2014. When she is not working here at ECP, she is a bartender/waitress at her Uncle's bar, Scooter's Pub and Grub in New Sharon. In her spare time, she loves to travel as well as enjoying outdoor activities with her family, friends, and her dog Niko.

Shelley Kirby

Shelley has been an employee of EyeCare Partners since January of 1996. She works full time at the front desk in the Oskaloosa office. She loves greeting patients and making their visit to the clinic enjoyable. She also considers it a privilege to work for great doctors and with a great staff!

 

Shelley and her husband Mike have two grown daughters, both married. They are the proud grandparents of two boys; age six and one, and one grand-puppy! She loves to spend time with her family—shopping, eating, playing games, and trying to keep up with those lively grandsons! She attends the Gateway Nazarene Church in Oskaloosa. She enjoys planting flowers, stamping greeting cards, or reading a good book. Lately, she has discovered the joys of browsing on Pinterest—a seemingly never ending showcase of great recipes and fun ideas.

Rachael Egging

Rachael has been working for EyeCare Partners since 1995-- with a short hiatus in the early 2000’s to stay home and raise her family. She is a registered nurse, and works as a doctor’s assistant at EyeCare Partners. You will most likely see Rachael before you see the doctor while she helps screen patients in preparation for their examinations. She enjoys her job at EyeCare Partners because it allows her to work with the public, and learn new skills, while working with a great group of people. She feels very lucky to have been able to participate in a mission trip with Dr. Vander Leest in 1996 to the island of Haiti.

 

Rachael and her husband, Phil, live north of Pella with their two kids and their dog, Frasier. She enjoys spending time with her family camping, and attending her kids' various activities! When she can find spare time, Rachael enjoys trying out new recipes and taking walks with her dog, Frazier.

Sarah Hartson

Sarah has been a doctor’s assistant with EyeCare Partners for over 20 years. Her roles in the office have varied over the years, making her a great “Jack of All Trades” staff member. From frame selection to insurance questions, contact lens education to patient screening and pre-testing…we like to keep Sarah busy. She currently takes on our practice scheduling, working closely with the doctors to ensure we know who goes where and when. This is a hefty task…and she handles it with a smile -- most of the time!

A Pella native, Sarah and her husband Jeremy have 5 children that keep them busy! During the summer you can frequently find them enjoying a baseball or softball game. One of their best family memories was a summer vacation to Colorado and Utah enjoying the many National Parks. Hiking has quickly become a fun family activity.  Another fun fact about Sarah’s family is the adoption of two of their children from Ethiopia and South Africa.  They have enjoyed learning about the different cultures of each of their children and Sarah enjoys learning to cook food specific to those countries.  Ethiopian food has become a staple in their home, along with the sour flatbread called injera.  Most recently they added a miniature daschund to their family and he keeps them quite entertained!

Stacy Green

Stacy has been employed by ECP for over 15 years. She is happy to help give an opinion to patients picking new glasses, teaching new contact lens wearers about care and removal, placing daily orders in the lab, and assisting Dr. Else—with her winning smile, of course. She is very thankful for the family oriented atmosphere ECP has provided through the years, and the blessing of many lifelong friendships she has found through work. 

 

Stacy and her husband, Terry, live in Oskaloosa and have been married for over 20 years. They have 4 boys—the twins Collin and Cody are both in college; their middle child, Andrew is following in his brothers’ footsteps loving to play every sport; and the little one Cameron, loves to tag along. Stacy’s most treasured times are spent with her family. 

Tracy Paulsen

Tracy began working at EyeCare Partners in 2007. She works part-time as the insurance specialist. If you know Tracy, you know that she’s never met a challenge that she can’t beat. She’s a great multi-tasker with a “can-do” attitude and often tackles the tasks that most of us would shy away from. Tracy considers it a blessing to be part of the ECP team, and to be able to work with such a great group of doctors and staff.

A resident of Harvey, Tracy and her husband Matt keep busy with many activities. They and their three children attend Third Church, where she and her husband both enjoy teaching Sunday school. The kids are active in basketball, softball, baseball, flag football, the MIX, cub scouts, and 4H. In the fall, you can find Tracy and the kids cheering on the Central Football team, with Matt on the field coaching. Tracy graduated from UNI where she also ran track, and she still loves to get out and run in almost any weather—often with her great running partner Kristy Dee.

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