Lauren Heckman – Preschool Director
Since I was 12, I knew I wanted to be in the field of education and child care. My passion is working with children and watching them grow. I have worked with preschool aged children through Senior high, but my favorite group to work with is early childhood. I have worked for the Pacific Southwest Lutheran District at Christ Lutheran Preschool in Costa Mesa for 12 years. My job title changed many times as I have held many positions there, such as: morning floater – working alongside all the teachers in three separate classrooms, an afternoon teacher, a co-teacher, a lead teacher, an outside curriculum coordinator, and an interim director for 8 months. I have been the director for Redeemer since August 2015. In addition, my sensitivity to the families in our care is shown by respecting the parent’s traditions and cultures, while treating their child/children as a unique child of God. I have an Early Childhood certificate, and Administration units from Orange Coast College and have recently received my Bachelors degree in Liberal Arts from CSULB. Therefore, I meet the qualifications for a Master Teacher/Director of a preschool facility according to California State Licensing. My areas of strength are demonstrated by open communication, developing relationships with all staff, children, and families by supporting their needs and interests. As an educator, I am dedicated to facilitating growth by encouraging others to be independent. I connect staff, families and students to Jesus in a respectful, loving and supportive way. My favorite bible verse is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This bible verse shows how we can always count on Jesus no matter what our life circumstance may be.
Virgina Higley – Angelfish Teacher (Ages 4-5)
I have served in the teaching ministry for 28 years. I started teaching English as a second language to children ages 4 to 15, discovering that my favorite age group was early childhood. I enjoy nurturing the children with care and love and assisting their development and instruction on their journey to kindergarten and beyond. My real passion is creating activities for the educational development of the children through music, art, and play.
I started as an Assistant teacher, then worked as a pre-k co-teacher for 12 years and preppy-k lead teacher for 6 years at Grace Lutheran Preschool in H.B. I was also responsible since 2011 for implementing and aligning the Infant/Toddler, Preschool, and Pre-k curricula to the California Learning Foundations and adding a faith-based program to it. Since 2013 I have created a rich program for the preschool summer camp. Additionally, I have conducted diverse workshops to Grace preschool staff and other local preschools. I hold a Bachelor of Art degree in Psychology and an A.A in Executive Secretarial from St. Peter’s University in New Jersey. I also have 20+ units in Early Childhood Education along with Administration units from Orange Coast College and I hold a Child Development Assistant Permit from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing in CA. In my free time I enjoy my family’s company, reading, and playing with Bebe, our cat.
Keri Byers – Rainbowfish Teacher (Ages 3-4)
I am very excited to join the teaching team at Redeemer Lutheran Preschool. I recently relocated from the Dalles, OR to Huntington Beach, CA to live with my two youngest daughters and family. I have 4 precious and talented children, Brandon age 30, Brianne age 26, Brooke age 21, and Danielle age 16. I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and moved to Oregon about 22 years ago. Previously, I was the lead teacher and created curriculum in the K4-K5 Kindergarten program at Covenant Christian Academy for 14 years in The Dalles. For 4 1/2 years I was an early childhood education instructor for Columbia Gorge Community College as well. Also, I was a Fitness Instructor at MCMC, Water’s Edge Fitness Center for 5 years, teaching Body Pump and Water Aerobics. I enjoy riding bikes, exercise, cooking and spending time with family. Early Childhood Education is my passion and I enjoy all aspects of it. I believe my favorite experiences in teaching young children is observing their development and growth cognitively, emotionally, socially and physically throughout the year. Children are brilliant!!! My education includes an A.A. in Early Childhood Education, B.A. in Management/Leadership, a M.A. in Education/Curriculum with a Minor in Early Childhood Education. One of my favorite quotes in the field is “To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Crystal Miller – Dolphin Teacher (Ages 2-3)
I began working with young children when I was 14. It was through a peer program called P.A.L.S. that connected junior high students with elementary students in need of tutoring. I tried it as an after school activity and have been hooked on the field of education ever since. I have spent the last 10 years focusing mainly on early childhood education. I have an A.A degree from Cerritos College in Liberal Arts, a B.A. in Child Development and am currently attending Azusa Pacific University to obtain my M.A. in Christian Leadership. Books and reading are my two favorite things in life, aside from spending time with my husband, and Juju, my cat. I also love writing and journaling. My favorite Bible verse is Matthew 19:26 that says, “With God, all things are possible”. My faith is a very important part of my life and I strive every day, both in and out of the classroom, to live and love as Christ did. My favorite thing about being a teacher here at Redeemer is witnessing God’s love each and every day through the families and coworkers. I also love helping my students find new ways to learn about the world around us and seeing them grow in God’s Word!
Kathryn Murphy – Assistant Teacher
I’ve worked with children my whole life, even though I’ve only been living for a short twenty-five years, I could never seem to get away from children nor did I want to. As a child, my grandmother owned a family daycare where my mother was the director. My mother was also a preschool teacher before she became a director and now she’s back into teaching. I remember helping with the younger kids every opportunity I could get and having an amazing Kindergarten teacher. Becoming a teacher was my dream since I was 4. I LOVE learning and I have a passion to help others learn. I would call myself an observer, so watching the progress in children from year to year or even month to month amazes me! I’m a very avid reader. I love to cook and eat! And I also really enjoy writing, it helps me organize my thoughts. Art wise, I love music, dancing and crafting! I have a pure heart for studying God’s word and teaching it in a way that applies to our daily lives. I attend the Rock Christian Fellowship in Long Beach, where I have the honor of holding the title of Children’s Ministry Director and assist my co-pastor in the Young Adult group also. My belief is that Christian Education should be a necessity, not a privilege. I have two A.A. degrees earned from Cerritos College, Liberal Arts & Sciences: Social Behavioral Science and in Elementary Teacher Education. I have recently graduated with a B. A. in Liberal Studies from CSULB. My favorite bible verse is John 13:7 “Jesus replied, You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will”. This helps me to trust in Jesus even when I don’t fully understand. My confidence is that even if I don’t understand something in that moment, that one day He is sure to impart in me that understanding.
Joani Stocker – Assistant Teacher
What a joy it is for me to be at Redeemer Lutheran Preschool. I have known for many years that my passion and purpose come from loving on little ones, and teaching them the truths of Jesus. There is nothing better than hearing a little one praise our God, and grow in knowledge and wisdom of Him. I obtained my undergrad degree from Biola University, and followed that up with Early Childhood Education courses from Vanguard University to receive a Master Teacher Permit. I have been teaching children in a variety of ways for about 15 years, and couldn’t be more thrilled to be at this school to love on your little ones. I love singing, and will regularly make up silly little songs for our kids to giggle at. Joy and laughter are contagious, and I intend to spread them around.
My husband and I just celebrated 19 years of marriage, and we have an amazing 14-year-old son. We lead and serve in the children’s ministry at our church each week, and love to see what God is doing in their young hearts. We enjoy doing life together, whether that’s hockey, hiking, snorkeling, serving, or just hanging out, we just really love being together. I look forward to being a part of this new preschool family, and getting to know your kids for who God created them to be.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
Barbara Rineer – Floating Aide
I’m so happy to be a part of Redeemer Lutheran Preschool. I have been working with young children for over 30 years. I was born and raised in Orange County along with my twin sister and two older brothers. I graduated from Fountain Valley High School and then attended Orange Coast College where I studied Early Childhood Education. I realized at an early age that I wanted to work with young children as I would, at times, accompany my mother to work as she cared for physically disabled children. I have no children of my own which makes working with young children even more rewarding. Watching children thrive as they learn and grow is an amazing and joyful job. Since I have no children of my own, I have adopted a rescue dog that I have had for 7 years. He is a Maltese mix, named Montana, whom I consider my child.
My favorite bible verse is, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9