Oak Hill UMC is my church home. I have been involved with educating children at Oak Hill UMC for 16 years. In July 2017, I celebrated 25 years of marriage to my best friend, Art Barkis. We have three fantastic children. Our oldest daughter is a sophomore attending Texas State University. Our son is a senior at at Dripping Springs High School. And our youngest daughter is a sophomore at Dripping Springs High School. I am a graduate of Texas A&M University with a Bachelor's Degree in Community Health Education. I earned my Master's Degree from Texas State University. I love working with the children and the staff of our preschool. I look forward to another great year with awesome and amazing families.
Jaime is heading into her third year at OHUMC Preschool. She is thrilled to be a part of such a strong, dynamic team! Following receipt of her Masters in Education from Hunter College, Jaime taught 4th and 5th grade in New York City as a full-time teacher. She spent two years as a substitute teacher in Ottawa, Canada, where she was exposed every elementary grade level. Desperate to leave the long, bitterly cold winters of Ottawa behind, Jaime and her husband moved to Austin in 2009, and after having two children – son, Luke, and daughter, Jojo – she decided to take a hiatus from teaching. Five years hence, she returned to the field of education, and this year, continues on in her position as OHUMCP’s Assistant Director/Curriculum Director. Jaime looks forward to the upcoming year with the OHUMC Preschool community!
Lead Teacher, 1’s, M-Th
Suzie is the lead teacher in the one’s class this year. Suzie started teaching preschool while in college, working on an Early Childhood Ed/Development degree. She brings with her 30+ years of experience, which includes teaching preschool, Sunday School, working in church nurseries, homeschooling her children, teaching co-op classes, writing curriculum for special children’s ministry events, and operating a home-based preschool and summer camp for preschool and early elementary ages. In addition to her years of experience, she also loves to learn and implement new ideas and techniques into the classroom. Suzie believes that children are natural learners, and that they learn best through hands-on, interactive experiences, guided and child- directed activities and play that fosters emotional, physical, social, cognitive and spiritual growth. Her hope for the one’s class is that each child will feel safe and secure and loved here at preschool and that this year will be filled with the excitement of new experiences that will help instill a love of learning in these sweet “babies”. Most of all Ms. Suzie desires that each child learn just how precious he/she is to others at preschool and most of all to Jesus!
Suzie has been married to her husband for 34 years and has three adult children, two daughters-in-law, a puppy, and several “grandpets”. Along with working with preschoolers, Suzie enjoys working outside, reading, hiking, and playing all kinds of games with family.
This is Carrie's first year working at Oak Hill UMC Preschool. She is so excited to be a part of the 1's team. Carrie grew up in Plano, Texas and attended college at Texas State University where she earned a degree in elementary education. She has always known she would be a teacher and spent many years working with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders in Austin ISD. Carrie and her husband Wayne have been married for 8 years. They have two sons, Hughie (6) and Harry (2), two sweet dogs (Sula and Molly) and a bearded dragon (affectionately named Truckie). Carrie and her family love to travel, cook, hike, ride bikes, swim, and try out new restaurants. Carrie is ready for an awesome year teaching in the 1's classroom and is looking forward to getting to know all the children and their amazing families.
Lead Teacher, 2's, MWF-T/Th
Judith has always had a calling and love for working with children. Even when she was in 6th grade, she would sacrifice her recess time so that she could act as a “play leader” for children in the younger grades. Judith attended Marymount college in Palos Verdes, California, where she worked at the on-site preschool for two years . She transferred to the University of San Diego which is where she decided to study Child Psychology.
Judith and her husband, Matt, a native Texan, have been married for 14 years. They have three children: Amelie, 13; Andrielle, 11; and Emmett, 7. After being a stay-at-home mom for 11 years, she began working as an assistant teacher in the 2s class, here at OHUMC Preschool. The position quickly became Judith’s dream job and she is elated to be a part of this wonderful team .
When she’s not planning adventures for her 2s class, you can find Judith reading , cooking or doing arts and crafts with her children from her favorite website creativebug.com . As a family, we love watching kids food competitions, playing games and enjoying movies. And one more very important tidbit: Judith actually comes from a galaxy far, far away and was sent to Earth to change the world, one toddler at a time. (If you don’t know that Ms. Judith is obsessed with Star Wars, then you really don’t know her at all!)
Assistant, 2’s, MWF, T/Th
Cindy grew up in Los Angeles and moved to Austin three years ago with her husband and two daughters, ages 6 and 13. During Cindy’s high school summers, she worked as a teacher’s assistant for 2nd, 4th and 5th grades. When she’s not at work - it’s all about family! Swimming lessons, pool time, traveling, and trying out new restaurants are some of their favorite pastimes together. This is Cindy's second year working at OHUMC Preschool and she is very excited to get to know your children and be a part of the 2s team!
Lead Teacher, 3’s, MWF & T/Th
This is Kim’s fifth year at OHUMC Preschool and she is excited to continue her journey with our wonderful 3s classes. She loves seeing things through the eyes of her students, as well as watching them grow together and develop lasting friendships. Storytime is her favorite part of the day, and she desires to instill a love of reading in every child in her classroom. Kim and her husband, Zeb, have been married for 23 years and are the proud parents of Claire, 17, and Jackson, 11. Kim earned a BA in English from Texas State University and spent several years working for a busy corporation before taking time off to raise her family. Movie nights, playing games with her family and playing with her dog, Annie, are high on her list of favorite things to do when she has free time. That, and drinking good coffee.
Lead Teacher, 3’s, MWF; Assistant, 2’s, T/Th
Mildred Yadi Martinez - also known as “Ms.Yadi” - was born in Guatemala and lived most of her life in Southern California. Her family moved to Austin 12 years ago in search of a more family-oriented environment and have certainly found that, and more, in the Lone Star State. Yadi resides with her two wonderful children and husband of 25 years. Her 17 year old son is a senior at Bowie High School and daughter is in 7th grade at Gorzycki Middle School.
Yadi is so excited to begin her third year at OHUMC Preschool. This year, she will be leading the three year olds, assisting in the two’s classroom, as well serve as the school librarian. She studied Child Development in college and has seven years of preschool education experience. She thoroughly enjoys working with children and finds great joy in witnessing the growth and development of each child. Yadi knows it’s going to be a wonderful year!
Lead Teacher, Pre-K, M-F
Rita is beginning her eighth year at the preschool. She has a BS in Early Childhood education and loves working with children of all ages. Her teaching experience includes both preschool and first grade. She enjoys viewing the world from a child’s perspective. Time away from school finds her enjoying time with her family, reading, gardening, and traveling. She is very excited to meet all of her new friends and spend a wonderful year learning and growing together.
Lead Teacher, Pre-K, M-Th
Merideth grew up in Austin and graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Learning and Development and a concentration in Educational Psychology. After graduating, she taught first grade at Cook Elementary School and Patton Elementary School in Austin ISD for five years. She and her husband, Ian, then moved to New York City where she worked as a teacher in a literacy based tutoring company. Merideth moved back to Austin and returned to Patton as a reading interventionist before having her daughter, Pearl, in October 2017. Merideth has been fortunate to be able to stay at home with her for the past two years and now gets to resume her passion for teaching-- this time in the same school where her daughter will attend class in the 1’s room.
Merideth considers herself a life-long learner and hopes to pass her love of learning on to your children. Her goal is to create a warm and caring classroom so that every child feels comfortable enough to take risks. She believes in hands on experiences and wants to help your child to love learning and find their strengths.
Lead Teacher, Pre-K, MWF
Ms. Donna is originally from Virginia but married a rare, native Austinite just after college and moved to Texas in 2002. She has a BS in kinesiology and worked as a physical therapy assistant and personal trainer before becoming a stay at home mom in 2010. Donna is excited to be heading into her fifth year at OHUMCP! She began as a substitute teacher while both of her boys attended our program and didn't hesitate to accept a permanent position when she was offered. Developing connection and trust are essential to leading young minds on the adventure of learning, and she feels blessed to have the opportunity to do that in the child-led/play-based classroom she shares with Ms. Leslie. When she's not busy making fun memories with her students, you can find her at home reading, taking long walks with her dogs, or working on a new project around the house. Ms. Donna is eager for all the new experiences to come this year and to spark your child's love of learning!
Assistant, Pre-K, M-Th
After many years working for the State of Texas, Diana received her dream job, working with little ones. Her love of children inspired her to become a teacher’s assistant. Diana is going on her 10th year at OHUMC Preschool working in the Pre K classroom. She loves to be a part of the children's curiosity, creativity, and desire to learn.
Assistant, Pre-K, M-F
This is Nicole’s third year working with Ms. Rita in OHUMC Preschool’s Pre K class. She has also worked in the OHUMC nursery for four years, and is currently entering into her third year as assistant to Jenny Holm, Children’s Ministries Director. In Nicole’s precious free time, she enjoys reading, taking walks, and date nights with her husband, Gus. They live in Oak Hill with their dachshund, Wug. Gus has two daughters, the older of whom has two sons—whom have made Nicole and Gus very happy grandparents!
Nicole is thrilled about the year ahead with Pre K! She loves all of the children's’ little personalities and watching their progress throughout the school year—especially as they enter the exciting world of Kindergarten!
Joyce was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, and moved to Texas in 1995 via the East Coast. She studied voice at the Conservatory of Music in Kansas City and later received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Dallas. She has been active in sacred music through directing children, teens, and adult choirs. Her first teenage choir started with six teens and grew to 65 youth when she moved to Texas in 1983. The choir is still active and continues to travel and share their faith. After arriving in Texas, she directed music for the West Plano Presbyterian Church.
Currently, Joyce enjoys working with OHUMC Preschoolers, who offer a sense of joy and freedom when they sing. She has three children, nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Joyce has been a member of Oak Hill UMC since 1995.