meet the teachers



Mary Richardson

Mary Richardson is an extended care teacher in the preschool classroom. Mary grew up the youngest of five children, with two sisters and two brothers. When she was 8 years old, her family moved from Omaha to Lincoln. Mary was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school before she attended Southeast Community College, twice, and earned two Associate Degree’s, one in Art and the other in Early Childhood Education. Mary also has her Bachelor’s Degree in Library Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She started working at Westminster Preschool in 2013 and has been with us ever since.

Angie Smith

Angie Smith is a substitute teacher for both the preschool and Pre-K. I was born and raised here in Lincoln. Growing up in the Bethany area, I attended Bethany Elementary School, now known as Bethany Retirement Center, Charles Culler Middle School, in my day known as Junior High, graduated from Lincoln East High School and graduated from a one year program at Southeast Community College as a Surgical Technician receiving my certification as well. I was blessed with two daughters who have also blessed me with 2 son in laws and 6 grandchildren, three each. I have recently retired from Lincoln Public schools working as a Para for 30 years. I worked the first nine of those as a Special Ed Para at Hawthorne Elementary School and the last 21 working in the OT/PT Dept. traveling to various schools working with children helping them to improve their fine and/or gross motor skills. I couldn’t have been more blessed with a fun and fulfilling occupation with the most loving children. It was an incredible learning experience for me as well. Having lost my husband of 24 years, working here at the preschool has been an added highlight to my life!

Judy Nyhof

Hi, Miss Judy here AKA Judy Nyhof. I have been teaching at Westminster since 2001, now a substitute in the preschool and Pre-K classrooms. Before teaching preschool I taught elementary school. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Grand Valley State College in Allendale Michigan. I’ve taken grad classes at UNL and Doane. In June my husband, Ed, and I will celebrate 49 years of wedded bliss. We have 3 children 2 daughters and 1 son. They have blessed us with 11 grandchildren. I have had 10 of them in my preschool classes. The youngest lives in Texas and is not attending preschool. We also have 2 great grandchildren. Ed and I enjoy traveling together. We have visited many thrilling and exciting places, I also enjoy reading. Scrap booking is my stress reliever. I spend a number of weekends at crops. I love watching sports.You can hear me cheering on the University of Michigan Wolverines. GO BLUE! My greatest joy comes from watching our children and grandchildren participate in their many activities. It doesn’t matter if it is a sporting event, instrumental or vocal concert, or school play. We have attended many. I am looking forward to another school year and getting to meet and know your child. May God bless you all.

Allie Heins

My name is Allie Heins and I have been a PreK teacher at Westminster for 7 years (and in early childhood for 20). I have a husband, Justin, who works for FedEx and 3 children Avery (14), Breckin (12), and Harlow (9). Outside of school I love to run and be outside and spend time with family and friends! Spiders and creepy bugs freak me out! The kids keep us busy by playing endless games of soccer, running cross country, and participating in dance class! I absolutely love teaching PreK and being there with the children, along side them… as they learn, grow, and discover! Everyday at PreK puts a smile on my face!

Lindsay Ruger

Lindsay Reger is a teacher in our preschool classroom. Lindsay was born and raised in Lincoln. She married her husband, Jason, in August 2015, and between them they are blessed with four children, Jayden, Brinley, Brenton and Lanae. Lindsay has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with an endorsement to teach elementary art. Lindsay has worked with children for 19+ years, with approximately 13 years both as a teacher and program director. Lindsay has taught preschoolers since 2008. Lindsay is really excited to have the opportunity to join Westminster, work with your family and teach your child.

Rachel Hinze

Rachel Hinze is the director of Westminster Preschool. Rachel began at Westminster in 2016 as a preschool teacher and assistant director. Rachel holds a degree in Early Childhood Education and has been active in Early Childhood Education for 15 years as a teacher and director. The love of interacting and building relationships with children and their families makes this career the perfect fit. Rachel and her husband, Trevor, have four children; Jazmine, 23, Maddie, 20, Brady, 1K6 and Lily 8. They also have a bonus daughter, Dina Elisabet, who came to live with them through an exchange student program from Norway. The Hinze family loves doing home improvement projects and spending time with their church family at Messiah Lutheran. When she’s not drinking coffee or spending time outside, Rachel loves teaching Jazzercise!

Karina Saavedra-Mendez

Hello! My name is Karina Saavedra-Mendez, I was born in Usulután, El Salvador, and have lived in Lincoln, Nebraska for about 22 years. My family consists of my husband William and I, along with our three sons, one daughter-in-law and a grandchild from our oldest child. Axel, 24, and his wife, Kiera, 24, and our grandson Kylian that was just born on April 9th of this year 2020, Fabricio, 22, and our youngest, Thiago, who is 4. My family speaks both English and Spanish at home, and I think that it is very important for children to be bilingual because it opens up new opportunities for children as they become older. Before becoming a preschool teacher, I was a Health Tech for Lincoln Public Schools for 13 years and worked at Clinton Elementary, even though I am not working as a permanent health tech I still working as a substitute when I can. I still work for LPS as a Spanish interpreter and have just entered into my 17th year in that line of work. For the past 16 years, during tax season I have worked at H&R Block as a Tax Specialist, and it is something that I look forward to every year. I also volunteer at our church for teaching Sunday school to preschool age and have been doing so for around 9 years now. As a family we enjoy soccer, going to church, and we love outdoor activities. Personally, I am always looking for a preschool project to do with my 4-year-old son, I am a big fan of the learning through play method because “play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” I hope you were able to learn a little about me and I am excited to be on this journey with you and your children at Westminster Preschool.

Jen Burkey

Jen Burkey is a teacher in the Pre-K classroom.

Ann Giesemann

Ann Giesemann is a teacher in the preschool classroom.

Christy Altman

My name is Christy Altman and I am one of the teachers in the Pre-K classroom. This is my fourth year of teaching at Westminster Preschool. One of my favorite things about being a preschool teacher is that every day is different. I also love to watch the children grow emotionally and academically throughout the year.I have been a Nebraska girl most of my life, growing up in McCook, NE and coming to UNL for college. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and the Family. I met my husband, Mike, at UNL. We have been married over 25 years and have 3 college-aged children. When I’m not at preschool I love to travel and see new things. I also like to read, scrapbook and keep up with family events and activities.

Betty Dickey

Betty Dickey is an Art Teacher at Westminster.

Sarah Dankenbring

Sarah Dankenbring is a teacher in the preschool classroom.