Phyllis lives in Bettendorf, Iowa with her husband, Dave, and their youngest daughter Mackenzie, who attended Scott Community College and now works at Borders. Their two older daughters live in California: Acacia is the principal of Maryland Elementary in Vista, and Robin works as an actress and writer in Los Angeles. Phyllis and Dave have been residents of Davenport since 1980 and moved to Bettendorf in 2004.
Phyllis was born in Chicago, and moved to Creston, Iowa with her family. She attended Southwestern Community College where she met Dave and they were married in 1974. Phyllis then attended Westmar College until Dave graduated in 1976. She left to begin a career in education.
Phyllis began her work in 1980 as a para-educator with Davenport Community Schools. In her early years she worked in the library, however, since 2001, she has served as the secretary in the Media Center at North High School. Phyllis has also served as her union’s president and vice president; as a contract negotiator, as well as a grievance chair. She has been on many committees in the district, including the superintendent search committee. She served on the state Minority Action Committee for organization that brings all minority youth together in the autumn to perform artistic activities.