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.”

Email Amber Terry

Mrs. Liz Schmidt

Hello! I am the 4-year-olds’ teacher for First Steps. I am very excited to partner with families to help raise awesome little people!  My husband, Pastor Schmidt, and I have 6 children – 4 boys and 2 girls. We moved to the Oconomowoc area in 2008.

Background and experience: I have a BS degree in Elementary Education. I taught K-3 before starting my family. After my “littles” got to be “bigs”, I taught 3K preschool for 6 years. Since moving to the Oconomowoc area, I have done home childcare for the last 10 years.

As a family we enjoy: Attending our kids sporting events, traveling, spending time with family and friends

Fun fact about me: My first real concert was Michael Jackson’s BAD tour in 1988.

My favorite bible passage: Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor death, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Mrs. Trisha Altreuter

Greetings!  I am the 3-year-olds’ 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 2-year-olds’ 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. Anna Prost

Hello! I am the Toddler teacher of First Steps. My husband Morgan and I got married July 2017 and we live in Hartland. We are excitedly awaiting the arrival of our daughter in June!

Background and experience: I have an associates degree in Early Childhood Education from WCTC. I have about two years of experience working in a few different child cares and classrooms, ranging from infants to 4K.  I have a passion for using developmentally appropriate lessons to teach children so they best learn at their age level.

As a family we enjoy: Evening walks, Sunday brunch, vacationing anywhere warm.

Fun fact about me: My dad is a pastor, so I moved every five years growing up. That may sound hard, but I would consider myself diverse with all the different people I have met.

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. Alex Maas

Hello! I am the Infant Teacher at First Steps. We moved from Milwaukee to Watertown in 2018 and have two children, Ollie and Theo.

Background and experience: I have a bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies from Martin Luther College with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education. I had a small daycare in my home since college so that I could stay home with my oldest son.

As a family we enjoy: Going on walks, swimming, to the park; basically anything outside.

Fun fact about me: I played collegiate volleyball and basketball.

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. Mary Hatcher

I am excited to be the Nursery teacher at First Steps! I grew up in Oconomowoc and, after being away for 20 years, returned and became a member of St. Matthew’s in 2004. In 2010 I lost my husband, Dan, to Cancer. Dan and I were blessed with three children. My oldest son, Cole, is working toward a Mechanical Engineering degree. My daughter, Kaleigh, and son, Graham, are both students at Lakeside Lutheran High School.

Background and Experience: My background is in Business Management, but I have enjoyed spending the last 20 years as a stay-at-home mom. My children attended St. Matthew’s school, where I did a lot of volunteer work. I also spent three years supervising children in the after-school care program. I am currently taking the Early Childhood Professionals course.

I Enjoy: Gardening, photography and geocaching with my children.

Fun Fact about Me:  I have lived in Arizona, California and New Jersey, and now live back in my childhood home with my kids.

Favorite Bible Verse:  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

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.”