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 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 interim director for 8 months. I began my ministry at Redeemer in 2015 as Acting Director and by the 2016-2017 school year, was officially named Director of Redeemer Lutheran Preschool.
I consider one of my strengths to be sensitivity to the families and students in our care. This is shown by respecting the parent’s traditions and cultures, while treating their child/children as a unique children of God. I have an Early Childhood certificate, Administration units from Orange Coast College and have recently earned my Bachelors degree in Liberal Arts from CSULB. 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 31 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.
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 Pettaway – Rainbowfish Teacher (Ages 3-4)
I’ve worked with children my whole life, even though I’ve only been living for a short twenty-six 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.
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
Brianna Shrimpton – Aide
Ever since I was little I wanted to be a teacher and work with children. I have been volunteering/working with children between the ages of infancy – junior high for 13 years at my church, Refuge Calvary Chapel – Huntington Beach. I have also volunteered/worked at various preschools including “Child of Faith” in Huntington Beach. I am compassionate about working with special needs children. I have a certificate in early childhood education from North Orange County Community College. I was adopted at birth in San Dimas and raised in La Habra and Huntington Beach. I have a half-brother, whom I have not met. In my free time, I love to make cards and spend time with family/friends. I also love going on tandem bike rides with my dad. I have 2 dogs named Chip and Maddie, as well as a guinea pig named sugar. My favorite bible verse is Philippians 4:6 NLT “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”