The staff and leadership here at St. Mark Preschool and Childcare is comprised of men and women who love, care, and pray for every child and family that we are blessed to have. If you have questions for any of our staff, feel free to reach out and email them or call our main office to speak with them.
Center Director & 3-year-old Lead Teacher
email Mrs. Julie
My husband Mark and I live in Bellevue and have been married for 33 years. We have two children Matthew and Laura and a daughter in-law, Melissa, who all live in Bellevue.
My first teaching job was in Copperas Cove, Texas, a small town by Ft. Hood. I spent three wonderful years teaching 1st grade before moving to Germany where I ran a Co-op Preschool for the Department of Defense. After moving to Nebraska in June of 2000, I taught Preschool for two years and then Kindergarten for seven years at Pilgrim Lutheran in Bellevue, Nebraska. Prior to coming to St. Mark, I worked as a contractor on Offutt Air Force Base for Parents as Teachers Heroes at Home as an in-home visitor for children birth- to age-3-years-old. This is my tenth year at St. Mark Preschool and Childcare as the Center Director and Lead teacher for the 3-year-old class. I love being an early childhood educator and am honored to share the love of Jesus with children.
I enjoy reading, horseback riding, pottery, gardening and woodworking. My dad, siblings, and in-laws all live in Nebraska, so we are blessed to be able to spend time with our family.
Assistant Director and Lead Teacher in 4-Year-Old Class
I am from Omaha and have been married to my wonderful Husband, Ronnie, since 2008. We have 4 beautiful children, Landon, Dillon, Zoe, and Oliver. We also have 2 cats that we have raised since they were born.
I have worked with children most of my working life which started when I was 16 years old. I knew at that time this is what I am supposed to do with my life. I graduated from Metropolitan Community College in 2017 with my Associates Degree in Office Technology and have earned my Child Development Associate (CDA).
In my free time I enjoy playing board games with my family, being outdoors, crafting, baking, and watching movies.
My family and I worship at St. Mark we love being a part of the church family.
Lead Teacher – 4 Year Old Class
I have over 25 years’ experience working with preschoolers and their families – starting in Iowa and then in Wisconsin, and most recently in Indiana.
I am from Omaha – a Burke High School graduate. I met my husband, Glenn, while attending Concordia Teachers College, in Seward, NE. I transferred to Valparaiso University and after graduation was consecrated as a deaconess in the Lutheran church. Glenn and I have been married for 40 years. After 34 years as a regular pastor, Glenn became an intentional interim pastor for the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. We were overjoyed that this allowed us to move back to Nebraska in 2015. We have three children and six grandchildren. Anna and husband, Kevin live in Placerville, CA and have 3 children; Rachel and husband, Aaron live in Waconia, MN and have 3 children; and Timothy lives in Taiwan working as an English and Bible teacher and missionary. My mother (St. Mark member, Ardis Bergquist) lives in Omaha and Glenn’s parents live in the Norfolk, NE area.
Glenn and I recently became members of St. Mark and have loved being part of God’s family here.
Teacher – Pre-K 5 Class
I grew up in Battle Creek, NE. I graduated from Concordia University, Seward with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I continued my education at UNO and earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work.
Shortly after graduation, I married Vincent Taylor and became an Air Force wife. We have lived in Texas, South Dakota, Florida, Louisiana, and returned to Nebraska in 2018. We have four children, Briel (11), Ryan (10), Xarion (7) and Aviana (5).
I had the privilege of being a stay at home wife and mother for the last 12 years. I spent my time volunteering in our churches and schools as a substitute teacher, classroom aide, Sunday school and VBS teacher, and served as a board member on parent/teacher and school board organizations. Most recently I have worked in the childcare and preschool at King of Kings Lutheran church, where my family and I attend worship.
I enjoy spending time with my family, playing games, reading, walking our dog Niko, and watching my children’s activities.
I have a passion for working with children, and I am honored to be a part of St Mark Preschool ministry. I look forward to getting to know your children and families!
Child Care Teacher
I was born and raised in Omaha Ne, my parents have been married for 30 years and I am the oldest of three children. I recently became engaged in September during a trip to Puerto Rico, we plan to marry in August of 2023. I have a beautiful daughter who attends Holy Name school, and we have a pet hamster named Reign. I enjoy anything art related, music, dance and my all-time favorite would be traveling.
I attended high school at Omaha Central and attended both Metropolitan Community College and UNO. I am currently still a student and I plan on continuing my education to receive my masters and doctoral degrees because I really want to make a difference in the lives of children. I have been certified in Dr. Brazelton’s touchpoints training and I have earned my child development associate as well.
I knew since the sixth grade I wanted to teach and help make a difference. I entered the field as an assistant director for the Millard Public Schools Foundation in 2014, from there I taught children with special needs for three years at Brooke Valley. I ventured on to teach pre–K at a private school and right before coming to Saint Mark I was a Head Start teacher for two and a half years. My goal is to keep learning, growing and to be the best teacher I can be for our future leaders. I am excited for my journey here and I am looking forward to improving my relationship with God while teaching of his amazing work.
Child Care Teacher
I am from northeast NE. My family and I grew up in Pierce NE for 14 years. My father followed his dreams and bought his own mechanic shop in Creighton NE. We then settled down into new town and got use to the farm life. I have 2 sisters and 2 brothers. I also have 6 nieces and 1 nephew. Fast forward a couple years later, I am now engaged and have a 2 year old little girl with full of energy! Family has always been so important to be and I’m blessed with the people in my life.
I enjoy spending time with family, watching movies, and shopping. I have always had a passion for teaching kids and enjoy shaping their little minds.
Child Care Teacher/Music Teacher
Sarah Jay is a professional cellist and orchestral strings teacher with 20 years of experience.
Sarah graduated from the Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music at Chapman University in Orange, Ca with a bachelor’s degree in cello performance. Throughout her educational career, Sarah has had the opportunity to train and study under several world-renowned cellists and pedagogues. Using her extensive training, Sarah has become an established and sought after performer and educator in her own right.
Sarah has a deep love for teaching and sharing the joy of creating beautiful music with students. This passion brought about the founding of Soli Studios Music Inc., a private company and professional music education provider owned and operated successfully by Sarah and her husband for over a decade. Sarah’s career as an educator has been built on private and group lessons for students ranging from preschool students to collegiate level music students. In example of her well-established career, Sarah has worked as the cello professor and small ensemble director at Concordia University (Irvine, Ca), the cello professor at Vanguard University (Costa Mesa, Ca), the director of string instruction at the Arts & Learning Conservatory (Costa Mesa, Ca), the music instructor for the Waldorf School of Costa Mesa (K-5), Montessori Schools of Irvine, Project Hope Alliance (K-8), and as the string director for several high schools and middle schools.
Shortly after moving to Omaha in 2017 as a result of her husband’s call to serve as pastor of St Mark Lutheran Church, Sarah was also asked to work and continues to enjoy her position as the string orchestra director for Concordia Lutheran Jr./Sr. High and Concordia Academy (K-5). As a professional cellist, Sarah has performed with many symphonic orchestras and ensembles. As a freelance professional musician, Sarah has performed with a number of well known recording artists including Stevie Nicks, Mandisa, Manheim Steamroller, L.I.T. and others.
Sarah and her husband Eric enjoy God’s blessing of their two children, Lizzy and Jesse, and thank God for His calling them to be in Nebraska serving our Lord Jesus with the gifts and talents He has entrusted to them.
Julie Nan Rife
I grew up as a twin in Sioux City, Iowa, the last of eight children. After high school, I attended Morningside College for a year, then Western Iowa Tech Community College and received a degree in Graphic Communications. I worked in the Graphics/Printing field for 10 years, while moving from Iowa to Hawaii to Omaha, Nebraska. I met my husband, Phil, at church during this time and got married. Several years later, we had our daughters, Michelle and Sarah. I was blessed to be a stay-at-home mom for 9 years. I then worked in a variety of fields, including school cafeteria, office, and paraeducator positions. Our church life has included teaching preschool Sunday School classes and a variety of other opportunities to serve. I enjoy reading, swimming, walking, movies, and occasionally a needlework hobby. Currently, I work at St. Mark Preschool and Childcare as the “lunch lady,” where I enjoy feeding the children and spending time with them in their classes, along with related planning and cleaning up. It’s a wonderful place to be!
Rev. Eric L. Jay
Pastor Jay serves as St. Mark’s Senior Pastor.
A Southern California native, Pastor Jay graduated with a Master’s in Theology and Culture as a student of St Louis Seminary via the Cross Cultural Ministry Pastoral Certification Program (CMC) located at Concordia University in Irvine, California. The CMC focuses uniquely upon equipping pastors to infiltrate strategic urban settings as church planters. Pastor Jay spent the the last 2 years of his seminary training and the first 3 years of ministry as pastor of The Gathering; a church plant of which Pastor Jay was founder. Simultaneously, Pastor Jay served briefly as the Interim Pastor at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Westminster, California. In 2012 he accepted the call to serve as sole pastor of St John’s Lutheran Church in El Segundo, Ca, and served there for 5 years before accepting the call to St. Mark in August 2017.
Pastor Jay and his wife Sarah met at and graduated from the Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music (Chapman University in Orange, Ca) with degrees in Music Performance. God has blessed them with two children, their daughter Elizabeth and son Jesse.