Our Faculty and Staff

Mrs. Amber Terry

Hello! I am the Director of First Steps. My husband Jon and I moved to Oconomowoc in 2004.  We have two children Isaiah and Evelyn who attend Lakeside Lutheran High School in Lake Mills, Wisconsin.

Background and experience: I have a degree in Child Development and almost 20 years of experience in early childhood education. I am currently working toward earning my WELS certification from Martin Luther College. I have a passion for working with children and their families.

As a family, we enjoy: Camping, bike rides, and taking trips to Door County together.

Fun fact about me: I am the seventh child out of fifteen. My parents were foster parents for over 25 years and through that we cared for hundreds of children.

My favorite bible verse: Ephesians 2:8″ For it is by Grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

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Email: aterry@smls.org

Ms. Megan Fury

Hello! I serve as the Assistant Director of First Steps. I am originally from Houston, TX but fell in love with Wisconsin and its four seasons when I began attending Luther Preparatory School for high school. I am the fourth of six children (3 boys and 3 girls), and we are sprawled all across the US from Wisconsin to Texas to Washington D.C.

Background and experience: I graduated from Martin Luther College in 2018 and received my bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Upon graduating, I served for a year as a Director Apprentice at a WELS center in Manhattan, KS.

About me: I am a lifelong learner! I love learning as I travel and experience new things, especially in the great outdoors. I feel like I never lost the enthusiasm to find out something new about God’s creation that I had as a young child. I love watching the fascination of little ones innocently learning about the world around them.

Fun fact about me: I have wanted to be a teacher since I was three years old.

My favorite bible passage: Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

It’s a beautiful life, and it begins when we are just little. God is so good, and I am here to assist you with the beautiful trust God has given you to raise and nurture your child, your children. You don’t need to ever be alone — I am here to assist, all of us at First Steps are here to assist you, to serve you, to build up your child, and to encourage you along the way!

Email: mfury@smls.org

Mrs. Trisha Altreuter

Greetings!  I am the Preschool teacher of First Steps.  My husband Kurt of 16 years and I live in the Watertown area where we built our house in 2001.  We have 2 daughters Haddie – 14 and Molly – 11.  They attend St. Peter’s Lutheran school in Helenville, WI.

Background and experience: I majored in Early Childhood Education from WCTC and have 20 years of experience teaching 4k. Jesus says, let all the little children learn. I look forward to changing up my teaching role and experiencing the world of 3 year olds with embellishing on their giant personalities. I hold being a teacher very dear to my heart and find teaching to be one of life’s greatest gifts from our Savior!

As a family we enjoy: Wildlife, DIY projects, gardening, cooking, mornings/evenings on our back porch, and 4H of Jefferson county.

Fun fact about me: I’m a farm girl at heart.  I grew up on a dairy farm and now enjoy sharing responsibilities with Kurt, Haddie and Molly on our small hobby farm.

My favorite bible verse: Psalms 105:1  “O give thanks unto the lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.”

Ms. Emily Schmidt

Hello! I am the  Young 3’s teacher at First Steps.

Background and experience: I just graduated from California Baptist University in Spring of 2018. My degree is in Liberal Studies, with an emphasis in Early Childhood and Human Development. I have worked full time the last three summers at St. Matthew’s “Summer Fun Day Camp.” I desire to help children grow mentally, physically, and spiritually.

About me: I am the second oldest of six children. My dad serves as one of the pastors at St. Matthew’s and my mom also works at First Steps.

Fun fact about me: I played college basketball during my time at California Baptist University.

My favorite Bible verse: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope, and a future.”

Mrs. Amanda Magnus

Hello! I am the 2 Year teacher at First Steps. I was  born and raised in Sioux Falls, SD. God eventually led me to move to Wisconsin where I met my husband. After getting married we moved to Oconomowoc and had our daughter Ella and son Porter. We also have two cats and a dog.

Background and Experience: While in South Dakota I attended South Dakota State University where I received my bachelor’s and master’s degree in Sociology. From there I began a career in Human Resources before deciding to stay home with our two children.

As a family we enjoy: reading books, going for walks, spending time with our extended families.

Fun Fact: While staying home and also while working now at First Steps I work for a company that allows me to teach English to children in China.

My favorite bible verse: Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Mrs. Lee Zuelke

Hello! I am the Toddler teacher of First Steps. I am excited to be here and share the good news of our Savior Jesus Christ! It is such a blessing to be working with such dedicated and caring coworkers.

Background and experience: I graduated from Concordia College with a Communications and Education degree.  For many years I enjoyed working as an Assistant Program Director at Camp LuWiSoMo in Wild Rose, WI.  After getting married and having four children, I moved into retail office management.  At this time in life, I have felt a desire to work again in a field where I can make a difference and feel purpose in God’s calling.  This calling has led me to First Steps.

As a family, we enjoy: I have been married to my husband, Wayne, for 31 years.  Together we have four children and two daughter-in-laws that we love spending time with.  Of course, we also have a Chihuahua mix, Loki, that we enjoy taking to parades and walking.

Fun fact about me: I love to travel and enjoy different cultures, traditions, and history.

My favorite bible verse: Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Mrs. Deb Landvatter

Greetings! I am the lead teacher in the  Infant Room at First Steps and am thrilled to have the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with God’s little lambs.  The last 12 years I served both as a teacher and director at two different daycares.  One of the greatest joys as a teacher or director is seeing the children in your care grow both physically but more importantly spiritually.  I look forward to getting to know you and your child(ren).

Background and experience:

I graduated from DMLC with a degree in Elementary Education and received my first call to teach here at St. Matthews.  Since that time, I have taught in other WELS elementary schools, raised my children, and served as both as a teacher and director at various daycares.

I enjoy: I enjoy spending time with my family, DIY crafting, and following the WI sports teams.

Fun fact about me: Over the last 40 years I have been able to share the gospel of Jesus with children from the age of newborn all the way through to eighth grade.  I began my teaching career at St. Matthews in 1983 and 37 years later have returned to St. Matthews.

My favorite bible verse: Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go.”

Mrs. Heather Bigelow

Hi! I am the lead teacher for the Nursery room at First Steps.  My husband, Phil, and I moved to Oconomowoc in 2019 when he accepted a call to be the outreach pastor here at St. Matthew’s.  We have three boys, Isaiah, Elijah and Caleb and they are all students here at St. Matthew’s.  Eli and Caleb are twins, not identical, but most people still have trouble telling them apart. 🙂

Background and Experience: I have a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education (K-8) and Early Childhood Education with a Music minor from Martin Luther College. I worked 4 summers at a childcare center during college and taught preschool for a year before being a stay-at-home mom.  Recently I started working again as a teaching assistant before moving to Oconomowoc in 2019 and joining First Steps.

I enjoy: Walking, reading, camping, and music (playing piano, flute and singing)

Fun fact about me:  I have moved 6 times and lived in 3 different states (Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan) since I married Phil back in 2003.  

My favorite Bible verse: Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Ms. Caroline Gates

Hi, I am the lead School Age After School Care teacher and also one of the many assisting teachers for First Steps. I currently reside in Waukesha and attend Christ Lutheran in Pewaukee where I am an active member of the our alter flower committee.

Background and experience: I received my state certification from WCTC for early childhood.  I have over 13 years experience working in early childhood.

I enjoy: When I’m not with children, I enjoy going to the movies and spending time with my family and friends.

Fun fact about me: For my 31st birthday, I was able to take my dream vacation and spend a week in London, England.  My favorite spot was the Lego store.

Favorite Bible Verse:  John 10:14-15 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.”