Our Faculty and Staff

Ms. 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 who attends Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota  and Evelyn who attends Concordia College.

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

About me: I love to be busy! I am a doer and planner. My top 5 strengths are Communication, Achiever, Includer, Woo, and Developer. I strive to live my life by example and take great pride in my experience, faith, and sharing that with the staff and families at First Steps.

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.” 

This gift God has given to us all! I love having the opportunity to share that message with our staff, children and families!

Watch My Video

Email: aterry@smls.org

Ms. Megan Runke

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. It was there that I met my husband, Ryan!  I am the fourth of six children (3 boys and 3 girls), and we are sprawled all across the US.

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. I have been a part of the team here at First Steps since June of 2019.

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. 

My top 5 strengths are Achiever, Woo, Communication, Strategic, and Responsibility. 

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

Watch My Video

Email: mrunke@smls.org

Ms. Trisha Altreuter

Greetings!  I am the PreK Teacher of First Steps.  My husband Kurt and I live in the Watertown area where we built our house in 2001.  We have 2 daughters Haddie and Molly.  Our home church is Emmanuel in Famington.

Background and experience: I majored in Early Childhood Education from WCTC and have taught 4k since 1998. Jesus says, let all the little children learn. I love experiencing the world of 3 and 4 year olds and 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 Lauterbach

Hello! I am the Young 3’s Teacher at First Steps. I attended St.Matthew’s and graduated from UW-Whitewater in 2016 where I pursued a degree of Communication Disorders with an emphasis in Special Education.

Background and experience: I worked as a Summer Camp leader at St.Matthew’s for 3 summers at the old campus. After graduation I worked as a Behavioral Therapist  for children with special needs and started working part time for First Steps when it opened in 2018.

I enjoy: Live music, camping, spending time with my family and friends, playing volleyball in the summer and any kind of DIY project or craft I can get my hands on.

My Favorite Bible Verse: Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Ms. Katie Wagenknecht

Hello! I am the 2 Year Teacher at First Steps. I am from the Waukesha area and am so excited that God led me here to First Steps.

Background and Experience: I graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and have taught a variety of ages. Throughout the years I have worked at summer camps, overseas, and now in the classroom with children. God placed a desire in my heart early on to work with children and share his love with them and there is nothing that brings me more joy.

I enjoy:  I love the outdoors! I feel closest to God when I am out in nature. I recharge by heading to a state or county park and walking in the woods listening to worship music and talking to God. I feel like his fingerprints are so evident in his creation.

Fun Fact: Since I love the outdoors, I am on a mission to visit all the national parks. In the summer my sisters and I will plan national park trips and get creative on how many we can pack into one trip.

My favorite bible verse: Romans 8:37-39 “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 depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Ms. Anna Prost

Hi! I am Toddler Lead Teacher at First Steps. My husband, Morgan, and I recently moved back to Pewaukee with our two daughters, Adelaide and Emelia after living in Doral, FL and Appleton, WI the last two years. We are loving being back closer to family and friends and everything Milwaukee has to offer!

Background and experience: I received my Early Childhood Education degree from Waukesha County Technical College in 2017. Throughout college and after graduation, I’ve had the privilege of teaching at multiple child care centers and preschools in the greater Milwaukee area. The toddler age has always been my favorite to teach. I love watching each child learn and grow through play. Play and reading at that age are so important to their learning and I love basing my teaching around that, and Jesus of course!

I enjoy: Evening walks with my family, leisurely walking through Target, and exploring Milwaukee with my husband

Fun fact about me: I was the toddler teacher at First Steps when the center opened back in 2018. I’m so blessed to be back and in the same classroom again!

My favorite Bible verse: 2 Timothy 3:15 “How from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus”

Coming soon…

Infant Room  Teacher at First Steps.

Background and Experience: 

I enjoy: 

Fun fact about me:

My favorite Bible verse:

Ms. Karen Nehr

Hi! I am the lead teacher for the Nursery room at First Steps.

Background and Experience:

I have been with First Steps since we opened our doors in August of 2018. I served as assistant teacher until accepting the lead position in January of 2022. I have been married to my husband Richard for over 50 years. We have two boys Peter (married to Julie) and Andrew (married to Tracy). We are raising our great-granddaughter, Morgan, who attends grade school at St. Matthews. I was a cosmetologist for 30 years, worked for Fleet Farm in Hudson for 15 years, and now my dream come true I always wanted to be a teacher!

I enjoy:  Singing, dancing, going on walks, our pets Abby and Cheerio!

My favorite Bible Verse: 

My favorite statement “God will not put more on us than we can handle.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

For John 16:33 tells us “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Mr. Tyler Prekop

Hi, I am the lead School Age After School Care teacher and summer camp planner here at First Steps! My family moved to Watertown in 2020.  My wife Keely is a 4K teacher at St. Peter’s, Helenville and we have two children, Marek and Audrey.

Background and experience: I went to school at Martin Luther College for being pastor, but due to chronic migraines and illness at the time was not able to continue at the Seminary.  I have worked and organized camps since high school in 4 different states of varying types and sizes, and have worked child care with ages 2-12 for 3+ years at both Bethlehem in Menomonee falls and here at First Steps. God has surely seen fit to bless me with an opportunity to use my gifts here!

I enjoy: Reading, sports (especially soccer), cooking, spending time outdoors (hunting, hiking, biking), woodworking, disc golf, video and board games and exploring new activities and places and cultures. As a family, we enjoy visiting our many relatives, spending time at the cabin, relaxing at the pool, trying out supper clubs and exploring around town.

Favorite Bible Verse:  Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  (This was my confirmation passage and also a passage I was blessed to preach on at a Celebration of Life.  Something to remember at all times of our walk through life with God.)