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Faculty

Administration

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Director

Laura Clemens has been an Austin area preschool director since 2003 and Director of WUMP since 2016.

She grew up in Palo Alto, CA and graduated from Duke University with a degree in History and Spanish. She received her elementary teaching certificate from San Jose State University, with an emphasis on Early Childhood and Bilingual Education, and has taught at the early elementary level in California schools and for Round Rock ISD.

Laura and her husband, Noel, relocated to Austin in 1993 after he became a member of the Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Department...

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Assistant Director

Gina Hernandez has taught at WUMP for more than ten years, most of them in the Older 3’s classroom. This is her fifth year working in the office as the assistant director. Gina was born in California, raised in Maryland and has lived in many places in between. Austin is where she has lived the longest and where she feels the most at home. Gina was a stay at home mom to her only child, a daughter, until her daughter began kindergarten and then found herself searching for a meaningful way to fill her time but not lose the ability to care for her child. At WUMP she found a wonderful place to...

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Staff Support

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Christie Kull

Curriculum Coordinator, Lead Floater

Christie is originally from Houston and lived there until she graduated from high school. She moved to New Jersey to attend Monmouth University where she graduated with a B.A. in. Communications. After graduating, she became an American Airlines Flight Attendant for 13 years and was based in Chicago. She has also lived in Singapore, Australia, and has lived in Austin for the last 16 years.

When her now teenage son was attending WUMP, she knew she wanted a career here. She started out as a substitute, became a Pre-K co-teacher, then and a lead teacher in the Infants classroom. She has been the Curriculum Coordinator/Floater for the last nine years.

She says, “One of the many amazing things about my job at WUMP is getting to know all the children in all the classes and watching them learn and grow.”

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Kelly Garemko

Floater

This is Kelly’s second year teaching at WUMP. Last year she was the co-teacher in the infant classroom.

Kelly was a WUMP student many years ago, before going on to graduate from Westlake High School, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Texas School of Law. She originally returned to WUMP as a parent, when she was looking for an outstanding pre-school for her then-toddler son. Two years later, she was fortunate to have the opportunity to join the amazing staff at WUMP.

Kelly lives in Austin with her husband of eleven years, their wonderful son, and their two rambunctious terriers. She enjoys art, singing, and gardening (both at home and at WUMP)!

Pre-k team

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Cristela Hernandez

I am a Texas Certified veteran teacher. I have been teaching for over 34 plus years with various age groups in Early Childhood mostly from Preschool to Kindergarten. Before the birth of my second child I had retired as a full time teacher, however the love of teaching and seeing the smiles of the children is what drove me back into the classroom. I have been at WUMP for 11 years now and have enjoyed every minute of it.

I have been married to my high school sweet heart for too many years to count. I also have two daughters one graduated from Westlake High School in 2010 and attended Savanah School of Art and Design (SCAD) and now lives in Anchorage Alaska working as a Graphic Designer. My other daughter is in the 10th grade at Westlake High School.

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Tina Allen

Pre-k Co-Teacher

I have been teaching young children for over 28 years and have been a teacher at WUMP for 5 years. I started working with children in 1994 in the Houston area. I completed my Montessori Pre-Primary Teacher training in 1998 at Brookhaven College in Dallas. Since becoming a Montessori teacher, I have taught in both Montessori and Play-based programs. I enjoy working with children of all ages and have taught Toddlers, Two’s and Threes and have several years of experience in Pre-kindergarten.

I grew up in the Westlake area when my family moved here due to my father’s military assignment. My husband and I decided to return to the Austin area in 2001. We have two children and enjoy hiking, camping and fishing.

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Eileen Welser

Co-teacher

Eileen grew up the youngest child in a family of 6 kids in a small coal town in eastern Pennsylvania. Since the early age of 12 she has been taking care of children; first as a babysitter and later during college summers, as a day care provider. It was natural that she found herself studying in the field of speech pathology and audiology. She graduated with her BS degree in 1997 from East Stroudsburg University, Pennsylvania. During the summer before graduate school, Eileen traveled to the homes of preschoolers delivering speech and language therapy through a special education unit in her hometown of Pottsville.

Wanting to learn and live in an environment with more linguistic and cultural diversity, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters Degree in Communication Disorders. She graduated in 2001 with an MA in Communication Disorders as well as a teaching certificate from California State University, Los Angeles. During her time in graduate school, she worked as a speech therapist in the nation’s second largest school district (LAUSD). Throughout her career, Eileen has been licensed and worked in Pennsylvania, California, New Hampshire, and now Texas evaluating and treating children primarily from ages 18 months to 12 years in various settings; private and public. In 2021, while working for a private agency, Eileen joined the WUMP team so that she could assist with child developmental in a broader sense. She is delighted with her decision to the preschool environment!

When Eileen is not working, she stays busy with her family; husband, three children (ages 13, 15, and 17), and two Portuguese water dogs. From her over 20 years of experience, what keeps her fresh is knowledge that every child is an individual with unique wants, needs, feelings, and thoughts. She views every day as an exciting learning experience for both the teacher and student!

Three's team

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Doris Frederick

Lead Teacher

This is Doris' first year teaching at WUMP but it is definitely not her first year teaching! In Doris' words, "I'm very grateful to be working at WUMP. I am a mother to a lovely, amazing daughter who just began attending St. Edward's University this semester. I love spending time with my family. I have been working with children for twenty years, it is my passion. I attended Austin Community College and regularly seek out training that will help me to become a better teacher. Working with children gives me an opportunity to watch them develop skills, knowledge and the ability to explore the world. I learn from them and they learn from me."

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Helen Sun

Co-teacher

This is my 9th year at WUMP. I am so blessed working here with lovely children and really enjoy it. I became a teacher after I received my bachelor's degree in education in 1992 and have been working in several schools in different locations due to my husband's work location change.

I have two amazing kids who are now college students. I like outdoor sports; I enjoy running, hiking, camping, and traveling with my family.

I love Austin, love WUMP, and love children.

Two's team

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Valerie Judalet

Lead teacher

I spent my early adult life as a veterinary technician, but when my first daughter was born in 2016 I felt a tug in my heart that led me to teaching. My mother was an amazing early childhood educator, and I used to love visiting her school, playing in her class, and meeting her teacher friends. I decided to go for it, change my career, and I began teaching infants in October of 2016. I obtained my Child Development Associate credential specializing in the education and care of infants and toddlers in 2018. In 2019 I had my second daughter who now gets to enjoy her preschool years at WUMP.

I strongly believe in the power of play and healthy relationships being the foundation for children’s lifelong love of learning. I look forward each year to partnering with families to set that foundation. I have worked with children ranging in age from 6 weeks to 6 years, but infants and toddlers through age two are my favorite classes to teach. Each of these ages (infants, young toddlers, and twos) are so unique. I am so excited to be the two’s lead this year at WUMP. Two- year- old children are fun and learning independence. They are so curious and so eager to try new things. It’s really an honor to be a part of their lives.

When I am not working, I love to explore the outdoors and local restaurants with my husband and daughters. I love dogs, and I can name the breed of almost every dog I ever see. I also love traveling, snorkeling, restoring furniture, and singing.

I go to work every day, but no day is ever the same when working with kids. No matter what I have planned, the kids will always surprise me with their interests. I love to follow their lead. I learn more every day that I teach. I love my job!

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Luisa Salazar

Two's Co-Teacher

Luisa has been a preschool teacher for seven years, five of which have been here at WUMP. This is her second year with the Two’s! Years prior, she has been with Pre-K.

Luisa lives in Austin, where she graduated from Austin High. After deciding to continue her education, she found herself attending Texas State where she’s working on obtaining her undergrad in Health Science with a minor in Human Development in Family Sciences.

She lives with her boyfriend of eight years, though no children yet, she has two dogs and one cat who are her whole heart.

Infant and Toddler team

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Claire Cummings

Hello, my name is Claire Cummings and I have been working at WUMP for almost one year. I started as a toddler room assistant which was amazing, and I absolutely loved working aside Ms. Stephanie. This Fall, WUMP blessed me with the opportunity to advance into the lead teacher position in the infant class! I am truly happy I did; it has been a joy! I love watching all children grow and learn every day. I enjoy working with children and having the opportunity to see them flourish with all their different personalities. I feel that they allow you to be yourself and connect with your inner child, as you value theirs. It is my goal to guarantee each child feel loved and cared for. In my free time, I love to travel and explore. I enjoy crafts and the outdoors, and so does my daughters Meli and Merci Jo. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I am excited to meet your family, and I look forward to providing the best quality care for all our little ones!

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Markie Rauschenberg

Co-teacher

Hello, I'm Markie, and this is my first year with the awesome team at WUMP! I have been surrounded by early childhood educators my entire life, as my family in California owns a preschool. Early childhood development has always been a passion of mine, and something I want to continue pursuing. Currently, I am training to become a postpartum doula.

In my free time, I love exploring Austin with my fiancé and our three legged pup, Koko.

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Stephanie Marmolejo

Lead Toddler Teacher

Hi, my name is Stephanie. I am from San Marcos, Tx. I am the oldest of four siblings so I have been babysitting since I was 14 years old. Before coming to Wump, I worked as a full-time babysitter for over a year. I graduated from Texas State University with my bachelors degree in Psychology and a minor in Family and Child Development.

I have been at Wump for two years and I love it! I have worked with all ages but the toddler class has always been my favorite group to teach! Toddlers are so energetic, unpredictable, and hilarious. It is amazing being able to watch our toddlers achieve new milestones and become excited to come to school!

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Kiera Hunicke-Smith

Co-teacher

This is Kiera’s first official year teaching! She graduated from Westlake in May 2022 and has been passionate about teaching kids since long before. She attended WUMP as a kid and came back for a mentorship during her senior year. She is excited to continue being part of the community by spending her gap year learning and growing as a co-teacher in the toddler classroom.

She loves gardening, arts and crafts, and singing. She loves seeing when kids are passionate about something they discover and seeing how they grow and develop as people. She hopes to inspire the kids and help them as much as her teachers have to her.

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