Director of Preschool Ministries
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 second year at Oak Hill UMC Preschool. She is thrilled to be a part of such a strong, dynamic team! Following receipt of her master’s degree in education from Hunter College, Jaime taught fourth and fifth 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 to 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 she continues on in her position as Oak Hill UMC Preschool’s Assistant Director/Curriculum Director. Jaime looks forward to the upcoming year with the preschool community!
Lead Teacher, 1’s, M-Th
This is Leslie Coleman-Eden’s third year teaching at Oak Hill UMC Preschool. She grew up in Dripping Springs and attended college at Stephen F. Austin State University, where she studied child psychology. When Leslie is not with the awesome 1-year-olds, she is at home with her three wonderful kiddos: Tyler (12), David (8), and Samantha (7); her Aggie husband, Michael; and a hyperactive black lab, Sophie. Her two youngest children are Oak Hill UMC Preschool graduates and have many amazing memories of this school! Leslie’s class plays hard, makes huge messes, and has dance parties regularly! The magical learning that happens during play is what makes this age so fun. Leslie is truly looking forward to getting to know your child and your family this year.
Assistant Teacher, 1’s, MW
Ms. Donna (or NaNa, as the kiddos like to call her) 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 fourth year on the Ones team at Oak Hill UMC Preschool! 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 Teacher, 1’s, T/Th
Holly is in her third year at Oak Hill UMC Preschool on the 1's team. She loves playing with her little friends, teaching them yoga and watching their wondrous growth from babies to toddlers. Their hair growth alone is crazy, not to mention vocabulary and physical dexterity. Holly, herself, has an Oak Hill UMC Preschool graduate.
Holly grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, and moved to Los Angeles to attend college and receive a degree in fashion design. Several years later, Holly moved to Utah and worked as an assistant teacher in kindergarten and first grade while she put herself through beauty school.
When Holly isn’t at preschool, she is doing hair in her home salon and hanging out with her two daughters and her giant dog, Otis.
Lead Teacher, 2’s, T/Th
Tara is one of our Tuesday/Thursday 2-year-old class teachers. She began working at Oak Hill UMC Preschool in 2014 as a substitute teacher, and this will be her third year as a lead. Prior to having children of her own, she enjoyed substitute teaching for Regents, Hyde Park, St. Andrews, and Eanes schools. Her family has been a part of our preschool family since 2011, as her three boys Olin (10), Ellis (8), and Miles (8) all attended Oak Hill UMC Preschool.
Tara and her husband Trent have been married for 16 years. She grew up in Wisconsin and got her bachelor's of business administration in marketing before moving to Austin. She began her marketing career in advertising for three years and then moved into sales for 15 years before taking a break to stay home with her children. In her free time Tara enjoys participating in Bible studies, volunteering in the children’s ministry at her church, and spending time with her husband, three boys, and their dog, Lacey. What she enjoys most about working at Oak Hill UMC Preschool is the close-knit community, the joy of exploring, learning, and having fun with your sweet children.
Lead Teacher, 2's, MWF-T/Th
Judith has always had a calling and love for working with children. Even when she was in sixth 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 later transferred to the University of San Diego, where she decided to study child psychology.
Judith and her husband, Matt, a native Texan, have been married for 11 years. They have three children: Amelie, 12; Andrielle, 10; and Emmett, 6. After being a stay-at-home mom for 11 years, Judith began working as an assistant teacher in the 2's class at Oak Hill UMC 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 2's class, Judith can be found reading , cooking or doing arts and crafts with her children from her favorite website, creativebug.com. Her family loves 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 Teacher, 2’s, MWF, T/Th
Cindy grew up in Los Angeles and moved to Austin two years ago with her husband and two daughters, ages 5 and 12. During Cindy’s high school summers, she worked as a teacher’s assistant for second, fourth, and fifth 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 first year working at Oak Hill UMC Preschool, and she is very excited to get to know your children and be a part of the 2’s team!
Lead Teacher, 3’s, MWF, T/Th
“Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.”
- Chinese proverb
As an immigrant to this country, Thy’s mom has always instilled in her and her siblings the power of engaging in anything they do or who they do it with. This quote is one that she wholeheartedly believes in.
This is Thy’s sixth year at Oak Hill UMC Preschool. She truly loves teaching her 3-year-old friends. Thy believes in fostering friendships and allowing each one to grow and begin to form their own unique self. All the while, they remain sweet and still wants hugs. Thy is looking forward to another exciting year of learning and playing with her students! She feels very lucky to be a mom to two wonderful girls (Catherine, 17, and Caroline, 14), two Yorkies (Leo and Lacey), and a wife to husband Patrick of 24 years. Thy’s family moved to the Austin/Dripping Springs area 11 years ago from California. They love living here and continue to enjoy all that this wonderful city has to offer. Thy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from San Jose State University. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, and—believe it or not—organizing and cleaning.
Lead Teacher, 3’s, MWF
This is Kim’s fourth year at Oak Hill UMC Preschool, and she could not be more excited to continue her journey with our wonderful 2’s and 3’s classes. She loves seeing things through the eyes of her students, as well as watching them grow together and develop lasting friendships. Kim and her husband, Zeb, have been married for 22 years and are the proud parents of Claire, 16, and Jackson, 10. Kim earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas State University and spent several years working for a busy corporation before taking time off to raise her family. You will find books ranging from Mo Willems to John Steinbeck on her bookshelf, as she is passionate about instilling a love of reading in every child she meets. Movie nights, playing games with her family, and playing with her goofy dog, Annie, are high on her list of favorite things to do when she has free time.
Assistant Teacher, 3’s MWF
Suzie is an assistant teacher in our 3’s class this year. She is excited to be returning to Oak Hill UMC Preschool after being out of state for the past two and one-half years. Suzie started teaching preschool while in college, working on an early childhood education/development degree. She brings with her 30-plus 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, and guided and child-directed activities and play that fosters emotional, physical, social, cognitive, and spiritual growth. Her hope is that by the end of the preschool year, each child will have a greater understanding of themselves, the world around them, and most of all, a better knowledge of the love of Jesus.
Suzie has been married for 33 years and has three adult children, two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law, and several “grandpets.” Along with working with preschoolers, Suzie enjoys working outside, dabbling in woodworking, hiking, biking, playing all kinds of games with family, visiting her mom, and going on domestic and international mission trips with her husband.
Assistant Teacher, 3’s, Librarian
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 24 years.
Yadi is delighted to begin her second year at Oak Hill UMC Preschool. This year she will be assisting in the 3-year-old classroom and serve as the school librarian. She studied child development in college and has seven years of preschool education experience. Yadi truly enjoys working with children and takes great pleasure in witnessing the growth and development of each child. Yadi looks forward to great things in the year ahead!
Lead Teacher, Pre-K, M-Th
Becky is very excited to be at Oak Hill UMC Preschool for her fifth year! She graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s in education. She has taught toddlers through kindergarten. Becky loves teaching preschool; watching the excitement this age group has and seeing how much they learn and grow throughout the year is amazing! At home she enjoys spending time with her husband and their dog, reading, and taking walks. Becky and her husband stay busy in the fall with Aggie football and visiting their boys there.
Lead Teacher, Pre-K, MWF, T/Th
Rita is beginning her seventh year at the preschool. She has a bachelor's degree 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.
Pre-K Assistant, 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 entering her ninth year at Oak Hill UMC Preschool working in the Pre-K classroom. She loves to be a part of the children's curiosity, creativity, and desire to learn.
Pre-K Assistant, M-F
This is Nicole’s second year working with Ms. Rita in Oak Hill UMC Preschool’s Pre-K class. She has also worked in the Oak Hill UMC nursery for three years and is currently entering into her second year as assistant to Jenny Holm, Director of Children’s Ministries. 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!