Please meet our Church and ECE staff. It is our privilege to share the love of Christ with you and your family!
Rev. Jeffrey W. King, Senior Pastor
Pastor Jeffrey King is originally from Mississippi and is a lifelong Lutheran. Before moving to Texas in his mid-teens, he thought all Lutheran congregations were small enough to meet in a living room and a typical youth “group” consisted of 2 people. Having moved around the country and seeing Lutheran churches of many sizes and “flavors” he is happy to be singing God’s praises in any setting available. Pastor loves teaching Bible classes and preaching God’s love. He and his wife, Julie met in College Station and have been married for over 16 years. They have two sons, Lawrence and Jacob. The Kings came to Immanuel in 2013 and look forward to sharing Christ in the Heights for many years to come.
Rev. Claudio Perez Sr. serves as Assistant and Visitation Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas. Rev. Perez holds a Teaching Degree from Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska. Upon graduation, he served at McAllen, Texas, El Buen Pastor congregation as teacher and principal at their school. In 1982, St. Luke congregation in Houston extended a call to him to serve as Director of Education. Then, in 1984, St. John congregation in Houston called him to be their Director of Christian Education. He accepted the call and served St. John as D.C.E. and Vacancy Pastor. In 1996, he entered the Colloquy Program offered by Synod in preparation to enter the pastoral ministry. He was ordained at St. John, who then called him to be their Pastor. In 2004, Immanuel congregation called Rev. Perez to serve as Assistant and Visitation Pastor. Rev. Perez is married to Elisa Perez and they have four adult children.
My name is Cathy Swanstrom, and I have been at Immanuel Lutheran for 19 years. Presently I am the Early Childhood Director, but I was a classroom teacher first. I have taught 2 year-olds, 3 year-olds, 4 year-olds and Kindergarten. Sharing the love of Jesus with children is what I love to do. As the ECE director I am able to share Christ with all of the families in our school.
I have been married to my husband for 14 years and we have 2 children and 1 grandchild.
Connie was born in Ashtabula, Ohio and moved to Texas to pursue a Master’s degree from UH Clearlake. One of her daughters started with the Immanuel School in 1996, leading her and her family to become members of the Church. Connie was a member of the School Board for four years and started to help out in the office part-time, which turned in to a full-time opportunity. Ten years later, she is still having fun meeting all of the children and families that choose Immanuel for their early school years. Connie is married with two children and two grandchildren. She and her family enjoy spending the weekends camping and enjoy a RV road trip to Ohio every year to visit her Dad and sister. She and her husband recently started listing the RV on Airbnb which has introduced them to so many different people from around the world.
Cheryl Kramer is a native Houstonian. She married Chris, her husband of 43 years. They have two children, 5 grandchildren and two dogs. When not working as the bookkeeper at Immanuel Lutheran Church she’s gardening, dancing or enjoying theatre and the symphony. She loves working at Immanuel and is looking forward to many more years.
I am Randi Budwit, and have been at ILC since 2012. I began working as an aide in the three year old program and extended daycare. I then worked as an aide in the toddler program. I have been teaching two year olds since 2015.
I am married to Peter Budwit and have two grown daughters and four grandchildren. I was a music/flute major in college and love teaching music to children. I love Bible study and worship music.
April Cagle was born and raised in Alvin Texas but she has always been a city girl. Moving to Houston after High School she has had some diverse careers. April worked in the independent film industry where she met her husband Wyatt. She also served as the Wardrobe Supervisor for the Houston Grand Opera for five seasons. In 2015, searching for a school for her son, Leo, she discovered Immanuel. It didn’t take her long to fall in love with the school and the staff. Shortly after Leo started school, April began working in the Toddler room. She loves the small town feel Immanuel embodies right in the heart of Houston. April looks forward to many years of teaching the youth of the Heights their ABCs and all about Jesus.
My name is Stephanie Kasper. Childhood is full of thrilling new experiences which we, as parents and teachers, relive through the eyes and laughter of our children. Teaching two-year-olds is a joy, and their enthusiasm and energy is extraordinary. I love guiding them on the beginning of their journey to lifelong learning.
This is my third year teaching Two-Year-Old Mother’s Day Out at Immanuel. Before teaching here, I taught English and theatre arts for eleven years at Bellville High School in Bellville, Texas. My experience as a theatre teacher allowed me to work with and entertain children of all ages. I’m married and have two children, Kate (five years old) and Kai (seven years old). My son attended Immanuel for four years and this is Kate’s third year here. As a parent, I can say that Immanuel provides a nurturing and supportive environment in which your son or daughter will truly thrive. When I’m not working with children, I enjoy reading, running, and spending time with my family.
Joan Luker is from Taylor, Texas, and she is presently in her 25th year of teaching in Lutheran schools. She has a BS degree in education for grades K – 12, with a major in math and a minor in English Literature from Concordia Teachers’ College in Seward, Nebraska. She began her teaching experience at St. John Lutheran School in Denver, Colorado before receiving a call to St. Mark Lutheran School in Houston. While teaching at St. Mark, Joan met her husband, David, and they have been married for 34 years with two children, Geoff (28) and Heidi (26.)
Most of Joan’s teaching career has been teaching math and English to middle school aged children, however, she is now in her 3rd year of teaching Pre-Kindergarten here at Immanuel. Joan has been at Immanuel since the year 2000.
Estela Machuca, moved to Houston around ten years ago from the bay area in California. I’m currently a toddler teacher for ILC, and it has been a wonderful experience. I have four children three of which currently live in California. I have about 20 years of experience working as an educator both in Texas and California. My favorite pastimes are reading, going on walks, and listening to music while working in my garden.
Winnie McNamara is a native Houstonian raised just outside the Heights proper. In fact, she will tell you that she and her brother used to play basketball in our parking lot when she was a kid. Winnie has worked at Immanuel since 2010, but has been associated with Immanuel and Bethany Lutheran churches for more than 50 years. Some of her ancestors were members of the first Lutheran churches in Texas located at Shelby and Berlin near Brenham. Her daughter, Robin, is an Immanuel graduate. Winnie works with our two-year-olds. She loves teaching this age! “It is amazing to be part of the transformation that occurs between ages two and three. Children at this age are so curious. They want to know about everything in God’s creation. It is my privilege to be part of such a wondrous time in their lives.” Winnie does volunteer work with the Houston Area Women’s Center, Friends of Down Syndrome Academy – Houston and Heights Interfaith Ministries Food Pantry. Her hobbies include genealogy, Texas history and helping to repopulate the vanishing Monarch butterfly.
Tyler Noel Tate was born, raised, and has lived right here in Houston, Texas for the past 24 years. She attended Immanuel Lutheran Church and School starting with the 18 month old program through the 8th grade. She was confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church. After high school, Tyler moved on to attend college, and will graduate in December of 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education (EC-6 with ESL). Tyler is currently one of our Mother’s Day Out three year old teachers. She began working at Immanuel as a teacher’s aide for 3 years and then moved on to become the Mother’s Day Out teacher for the past 2 years. After graduating, Tyler hopes to continue teaching for many years to come. She has a passion for teaching and prays that she can influence the lives of many different students in her future.