Director of Admissions and Family Engagement
Deaconess Brenna Nunes served churches and schools in the Michigan and Chicago areas, where she added creativity to programs, wrote curriculum and launched initiatives that brought children with families closer to Christ and His people. Before coming to Texas, Brenna served on the Board of Directors for Bethesda Lutheran Communities, and she was a speaker at the LCMS National Youth Gathering.
Brenna studied psychology and child studies at Brock University, and she earned her deaconess certification and a Master’s Degree in Religion from Concordia University Chicago. She and her husband Justin have five children: 18-year-old Taeya, 16-year-old Dominik, 12-year-old Naomi, 9-year-old Malachi and 6-year-old Sophia. The Nunes family has also opened their home and their hearts to children as foster parents since 2004.
Katie A. Wnukoski
Over the past five years, Katie has worked as a substitute teacher in public schools and inner city after-school arts and sciences programs. During that time, she developed a passion for individualized, hands-on learning. Katie will channel that passion toward enhancing Upbring’s innovative programming and connecting with families through her role as office manager. Katie earned a bachelor’s in fine arts with a major in photography and a master’s in early childhood education.
I believe children process and learn about the world around them through exploration of their natural curiosity, collaborative and individual play, and exposure to a variety of literature. I enjoy igniting children’s imaginations, provoking ideas, and encouraging problem-solving skills based on each child’s interests.
I earned my bachelor’s in education from Concordia University Texas in 2009 and my master’s in education from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri in 2011 with an emphasis in gifted education. I am proud to be a Texas certified teacher (ece-4th grade). I have taught kindergarten, as well as physical education for grades K-5. I have also served as a homeschool teacher, mentor, foster parent and in-home caregiver. My husband, Andrew, and I have three children, Lydia (6), August (3), and Lucas (2). We enjoy the simple things in life right now, going to the park, movie nights, reading, and all things Lego related.
Ms. Connie was born and raised in Nebraska, but has made her home in Austin for many years. She has more than 30 years teaching experience in preschool and elementary classrooms, as well as 5 years experience operating an in-home childcare. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Concordia University Nebraska, completed her ECE endorsement through Concordia University Texas and maintains Texas teacher certification. In 2006 she was honored to be named the Outstanding Early Childhood Educator of the year by the Texas District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
Ms. Connie thoroughly enjoys working with young children and is excited to work in a Reggio Emilia inspired setting. Using the Stemscopes curriculum provides the children with many “Aha moments” as they discover and learn about the world around them. She is very excited to be teaching in the 12 month room and being part of the USAS-CA team!
Lindsay earned her Bachelor of Science in Apparel and Textile Design from the University of Alabama. While working in the fashion industry, she also taught sewing classes to students that ranged from ages 5 to 13. This led to the transition of going back to school to obtain her Master’s in Early Childhood Education at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Upon finishing her Master’s degree in the Spring of 2017, she and her husband came to the decision to uproot and move to Austin due to her husband’s job.
Lindsay has several years’ experience with ages ranging from 3 months to 8 years old. She loves to see the new learning that takes place with a child’s independent discoveries and interactions between classmates. She takes time with differentiating instruction to each learning style through observing the way each child synthesizes new learning. When she is not planning creative activities for the classroom, you will find her listening to her favorite comedy podcast or checking off places on her extensive list of Austin eateries!
Erin Garcia is our new addition to our Piglet room. She graduated from Texas A&M Univeristy in the spring of 2017 with a bachelor of science degree in sociology and a minor in psychology. Erin’s future goals are to obtain a Masters degree in educational psychology and to complete her Texas teachers certification.
Prior to graduation, Erin spent the last two years working for the after-school program, Kids Klub, for College Station ISD. At Kids Klub, Erin planned and facilitated clubs, daily activities, and service projects for students to participate in. In the summer of 2016, Erin interned at the Boys and Girls Club of the Brazos Valley. The Boys and Girls club provided her with the opportunity to work with youth of all ages and implement a summer learning loss prevention program. Erin loves teaching children of all ages and is very excited to join the Upbring family.
Leigh brings 15 years of teaching experience in New York and North Carolina to her new role at USAS. She believes education is the most powerful weapon for changing the world (Nelson Mandela), and she loves watching the “light bulb moments” with her students as they grasp new concepts.
Leigh earned her associate’s in early childhood education from Mohawk Valley Community College in New York and her bachelor’s in curriculum and instruction from State University of New York at Oswego State. She is also working toward her master’s in elementary education.