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Laura Clemens recently became the Director at Westlake United Methodist Preschool after having served as the director at another area preschool for the previous 13 years. 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...


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 first 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...


Pre-k team


Marci Williams

Older Pre-k

I’m celebrating my 14th year at Westlake United Methodist Preschool. I also teach Children’s yoga . I’ve been blessed to apart of this wonderful community.

I’m from Northern California and have lived here in Texas for 25 years .

I have 4 amazing children of my own who inspire me daily .

My goal when I teach preschoolers is to teach the whole child. To encourage confidence,practice generosity, create, imagine and explore.To laugh , love and grow


Jenny Thayer

Pre-k Flex class

I hold a BA degree in Music and German, and prior to becoming a mother, I was a career musician and actor for many years. During my Music Therapy studies at Sam Houston State University, I worked with young children in Special Ed, domestic violence shelter and hospice. Before deciding to teach, I was a frequently requested nanny/sitter at an Austin corporate agency. I have also served as a lead teacher/caregiver for several other church nurseries and mother’s day out programs before joining WUMP.

I am very pleased to be a part of the WUMP family of dedicated early childhood professionals. I love getting to know my students and helping them acquire the skills and confidence they need to feel successful in kindergarten, as well as to love learning their whole lives long.


Luisa Salazar

Flex Pre-k class

Luisa Salazar is the co-teacher in our flex day pre-k class. This is Luisa's first year at WUMP and we feel so lucky to have her! Luisa was born in Austin, Texas and is the middle of 6 children in her family! Luisa's favorite color is red and she enjoys photography in her spare time. Luisa is a student at Texas State University.

Three's team


Helen Sun

Young 3's co-teacher

Helen Sun is the co-teacher in our Younger 3's classroom. Helen was born and raised in China and has 20 years of experience working with children. Helen has two children of her own, both of whom attend Westlake High School. We have been lucky to have Helen on staff at WUMP for 6 years! Helen's favorite color is yellow and in her spare time she likes to watch tv and read. Her favorite part of working with young children is watching them play!


Barbara Southward

Young 3's lead teacher

Barbara Southward has been a teaher at WUMP since 1994. Both of her children attended WUMP during their preschool years. Her son Hunter is engaged to be married and her daughter, Kate is a District Attorney in Boulder, Colorado. Barbara was born in Buffalo, New York but grew up in Houston. Barbara has a BA in Psychology with a concentration in child development and taught dance to children before teaching at WUMP. Her favorite hobbies are reading, cooking and napping. Here's what Barbara has to say about working with young children. "3 year olds are so capable , unique and full of personality. I love spending time with them and watching them grow and learn".


Rebecca Fertitta

Older 3's co-teacher

Rebecca is the co-teacher in our Older 3's classroom. Rebecca came to us from Bannockburn Preschool in Dripping Springs, Texas and this is her first year with us here at WUMP. Rebecca also teaches dance to children aged 3 to 12. Rebecca was born in Galveston, Texas and grew up in Beaumont, Texas. Rebecca loves to dance, read, go to the movies and playing with her dog. Here's what Rebecca has to say about working with young children. "I love learning how each child is different and how I can help them grow and learn!"


Jackie Lum

Older 3's lead teacher

Jackie Lum is the lead teacher in our Older 3's classroom. Jackie has two children of her own, Sophie and Holden, who are in high school and middle school, respectively. Jackie was born in St. Louis, Missouri and has a BS in Elementary Education with a specialty in Early Childhood Education. Jackie has 15 years of experience of classroom experience and we are lucky to have had quite a few of those years here at WUMP! Jackie likes to paint, go shopping and get pedicures in her spare time. Jackie's favorite part of working with young children is "guiding and watching them as they grow, learn and discover the world around them".

Two's team


Tina Allen

MWF lead/TTH co-teacher 2's

Tina Allen is the lead teacher in our MWF 2's classroom. Tina's second year teaching at WUMP will be added to her over twenty years of experience working with young children, including several years spent teaching at a Montessori school. Tina was born in Florida but grew up all over the world in an Army family. Her favorite color is purple and she loves to swim and participate in triathalons. Tina says her favorite thing about working with young children is that they keep her young at heart!

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Laura Clark

Young 2's Monday-Wednesday-Friday Lead Teacher


Karen Richardson

Older 2's co-teacher

Howdy! My name is Karen Richardson and I am so excited to be teaching here at WUMP! Teaching preschool is the best! I attended Texas A&M and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education. I moved to Austin where I taught Special Education, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades before moving into the corporate world and working for an educational publisher. After having my son, I decided to stay at home. I came to love WUMP while my 2 children were here and after subbing for a year decided that I would like to join the WUMP family as a teacher. I am thankful everyday that I made that decision!


Cristela Hernandez

Older 2's lead teacher

I have over 28 years working in early childhood programs with various age groups, I started my first teaching job in 1987. A big part of my working experience has been teaching Pre-Kindergarten for over 19 years and as a Kindergarten teacher for over 4 years, I have worked in both public as well as private schools. I have also mentored, taught and helped guide several University of Texas student teachers fulfill their dreams of becoming a teacher. I hold a degree in Human Resource, a Bachelors of Art in Elementary Education, Masters of Art Degree in Education with a Bilingual Generalist-Spanish Certification as well as a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education.

I started working at WUMP eight years ago when I came to visit the preschool to enroll my own daughter in their program. The minute I walked into the preschool and was given a tour it felt like home to us. I was very lucky that WUMP had a teaching position open and an opening for my daughter as well. I have remained at WUMP ever since and loving the Older 2’s. Besides my great love for teaching young children, I really enjoy traveling with my family in the summer time, exploring different cultures and enjoying a lot of sandy beaches along the way.

Infant and Toddler team


Lilly Dawson-Miller

Toddlers co-teacher

Hi there! My name is Lilly. I have been and infant/toddler teacher for almost 4 years and was a lead teacher for about 2 1/2 years. I am in the process of going back to school to get a Bachelor's Degree in Education. I am from Austin but spent most of my childhood in Lockhart, Texas on my family's ranch. I'm engaged and plan to marry within the year. I love working with kids and teaching them. The best part of my job is watching the chilren learn and grow into smart little children. WUMP is an amazing school, it feels like home for teachers and kids! I am so blessed to be here.


Jane Bowen


Clayton, New Mexico was a small, but thriving community in ranching country when I was born and growing up. My parents were educators and my two brothers, my sister and I all followed their footsteps in every level of education from preschool to post graduate level. My husband, Jim, is also an educator. He and I lived in Houston and our three children were born there. When he retired, we moved to Austin to be near those three kids and now our four grandchildren. Playing with children and watching them discover their world is the greatest joy.


Christie Kull

Curriculum Coordinator/Floater/Creative Movement

I was born in Huntington Beach, CA, but moved to Houston before I turned one. I lived in Houston for 18 years, until I went to college at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ. I graduated with a BA in Communications and a minor in Journalism. I have a 12 year old son, Connor, who is the light of my life and also a WUMP alumni. My favorite color is technically pink but if leopard was a color it would be my favorite, hands down. I enjoy painting, refinishing furniture, hanging out with my son, family, and friends. I started at WUMP as a sub when my son was a student here and have been a lead teacher in the infant room, co-teacher in a pre-k classroom. Currently I am the curriculum coordinator, creative movement teacher and a school-wide floater. Being a floater is amazing because I get to be in all the classrooms and be with children of all ages. I enjoy all of the jobs that I do at WUMP because of the versatility, but most of all, to experience the joy, love, and fulfillment that comes from teaching young children.